S'pore wants fewer university degree holders. Here are the media reports trying to convince you.

The power of an agenda-setting media.

Belmont Lay| August 17, 02:16 PM

If you felt that the news articles from the past one week before tonight's National Day Rally 2014 on Aug. 17 is all about telling you how being a degree holder in Singapore is not as desirable as before, well, trust your gut.

Because you are right.


Here is a series of articles from the past week with the agenda of telling you to give up on pursuing a university degree (Click on picture to go to original article):

1. No degree, no problem: ITE graduate

What is it trying to tell you: "Look, you really don't need a degree."


2. University degree still has value despite changes: Heng Swee Keat

What is it trying to tell you: "When everyone can get an honours degree so easily, everyone will have one. Get something else."


3. Shanmugam concerned over jobs for law graduates

What is it trying to tell you: "Specialised degree holders will also face difficulties."


From The Straits Times on Aug. 16, 2014:

The Prime Minister is expected to share more details on what the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (Aspire) committee - headed by Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah - has in mind for ITE and polytechnic students. The committee's report is due this year.

In his National Day message last week, Mr Lee said that for these students, even after they graduate, the Government wants to help them learn new skills and gain higher qualifications while they work "as the academic route is not the only way up".

The pursuit of academic degrees is a concern for the Government. In Parliament in May, Ms Indranee shared survey findings of the Aspire committee which found that almost six in 10 ITE students and four in 10 polytechnic students want to get their next qualification right after graduating. They fear that if they do not do so straight away, they will lose their chance.

The Aspire committee is also looking at planning work study programmes and internships, so that what is taught in the classrooms matches what is required at the workplace.

This may be similar to the German model of apprenticeships for students to develop deep technical skills rather than just academic ability.

Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng, who is a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, says Aspire aims "to change the landscape for ITE and poly graduates, and to make their skills a source of pride".

"It is part of (PM Lee's) vision for Singapore to create a more equal society with opportunities for all," she adds.

"In such a society, a university degree is not a must-have to advance in life and do well. This will require quite a cultural shift in a society which has traditionally placed top emphasis on academic qualifications."


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