This was a speech in Parliament on 10 March 2010 by NCMP, Sylvia Limwp.sg.during the Committee of Supply debate, on the budget for the Ministry of Education (MOE). Read other Workers’ Party speeches and statements at
Currently, the proportion of Primary One cohort admitted into the local subsidized universities is targeted to rise to 30% by 2015, with the new university and institute coming up.
I would like to ask if MOE will review this 30% target with a view to increasing it.
I note MOE’s concerns that we should not have sudden increases in graduate numbers which may leave many unemployed or under-employed.
However, since Singapore is prioritising innovation and greater productivity, the population as a whole has to raise its game, and the jobs of the future will require different educational qualifications from currently. We are also trying to encourage the growth of entrepreneurs to find their own niches. With globalization, Singaporean graduates also have more opportunities overseas, which will still benefit their families and Singapore, directly or indirectly.
As a matter of interest, according to the OECD Factbook 2009, the 25 OECD countries were expecting to graduate on average about 37% of an age cohort from Tertiary-Type A (typical degree level) education in 2006. It was stated that there was a strong trend in increasing their cohort participation rates in the last 15 years in line with producing highly-skilled labor forces.
I agree that we need to maintain standards in university admission. However, over the years, many students who were rejected by our local universities were admitted to reputable foreign universities and did well. But this route is available only to those whose parents could afford it.
I hope the Ministry will look into revising the cohort participation rate at our local subsidized universities beyond 30%.