Thursday, May 14, 2015

Singapore ranks top in education ranking



Singapore students score top marks in science and mathematics in a survey among 76 countries conducted by the OECD. The survey was on 15 year olds in Mathematics and for 14 year olds in Science in the Programme for International Students Assessment. Hong Kong was second, South Korea third, Japan and Taiwan joint fourth. The next 6th to 10th rankings were from Europe. The rest of the 3rd ‘World Asian countries were ranked far far away.


What does this survey say? Singapore students were the best at age 14 and 15. And this is not the first time the survey was conducted. The results of past years have been consistent. The strange thing is that Singapore students were found quite useless in later years and totally hopeless and unemployable. And Singapore is so desperate that there is no talents in Singapore, wondering what happened to the bright 14 and 15 year olds, that Singapore needs to import huge numbers of foreigners from the unranked 3rd World countries to help it to grow, and to provide jobs for the useless Singaporeans. Without the foreigners, Singapore will sink, perish from this world.

Can you believe that? Is that true, that top students at age 14 and 15 disappeared into thin air or became duds as they grew up? If not Singapore would be flooded with our own top talents in many fields. What could be the possible explanations for this queer phenomenon?

One explanation is that the survey is inaccurate and unreliable as the correlation did not make sense. Two, Singaporeans are born with a defective gene that self destruct and all Singaporeans will become stupid or daft as they grow older, ie after year 15.

A third possible explanation is that the young of the 3rd World continue to make rapid progress to leapfrog over Singaporeans in intelligence and ended up as the desirable foreign talents to replace the daft Singaporeans. Can this be it? Must be it.

A fourth and likely explanation is that somehow the 3rd World graduates have scintillating qualifications and job experience that are better than Singaporeans in all aspects, including street smartness, skills sets, bluffology etc etc that make them so impressive and so desirable as employees, including ability to do wonders. Actually everyone knows by now how easy it is to get all the top grades and top degrees, and CVs and job experience without having to work for it. They could just buy them from the shelf. Or the institutions would sell them directly for a fee. I think this is the likely cause.

Now, how can Singaporeans then do better than these 3rd World talents? My recommendation is that if you can’t beat them in cheating just join them in their game. With the talents of our students, I am pretty confident that if we want to cheat, allow them to cheat, they would be able to cheat betterer, with distinctions. But you need to have the authority on their side and not on the side of the foreign cheats. This is very important for daft Singaporeans to be successful, to be employable.

What do you think? Our young are top talents but never live past 15 years old?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Singapore an education hub compromised


The Singapore Brand and the education hub Singapore is promoting for quality education would be the first victim if degree mills are going to be widespread and accepted without any disapproval shown by the authority. An education hub is all about quality of education and integrity of the institutions and the degree or diploma awarded. No legitimate students looking for quality education and a reputable degree would sign up with a degree mill or come to Singapore’s education hub if the image of degree mills and fake degrees become the norm here.
 

Degree mills and fake degrees will undermine and compromise the institutions of learning here. They will make a mockery of acquiring a good degree from a reputable institution and render them useless or a waste of time. Why waste time and money when a fake will do to get a good job?
 

How could the existence of good quality education and reputable universities exist side by side with fake degrees and degree mills? How could the authority tolerate the flaunting of fake degrees from degree mills and treating them lightly, like no issue and expect some respect for the graduates of legitimate universities?
 

What is the message? On one hand we are promoting quality education. On the other hand we are turning a blind eye to fake degrees and degree mills. Are the institutions of higher learning going to protest when their students are raped openly by the holders of fake degrees and losing out to them in employment opportunities? Do these institutions see the damage done to the value of their degrees and to their graduates?
 

The issue of fake degrees and degree mills has wider implications and consequences not only to the institutions of learning and the Singapore Brand. It will have negative effects on the education industry and the education hub that we are promoting here, to invite foreign students to study here, to grow an industry and revenue for the country.
 

Let me contribute a little to the degree mills. I am going to register for a few Ph Ds. My wall is quite empty and I need a few decorative pieces on it. Better than expensive paintings. Collecting degree mill Ph Ds can be an interesting and cheap hobby. I swear I will not put them in my resume. It is just a past time, a hobby.
 

PS. The Oregon state had named 6 institutions in Singapore offering unaccredited qualifications:
 

1. Cranston University
2. Templeton University
3. Trident University of Technology
4. Vancouver University Worldwide
5. Westmore University
6. Lee Community College
 

ST reported that Vancouver University Worldwide, which was ordered to be shut by the Canadian government in 2007, had been offering its courses in Singapore for several years.
 

(This is posted in an editorial in TRE)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Having fake degree from a degree mill is acceptable in Singapore?


Below is part of an article posted in the TRE about a staff from IDA with a Masters degree from a degree mill. The netizens are questioning IDA whether this is a crime. So far no official comment from any ministry on this.
 

‘IDA says staff’s MBA not a relevant certificate for her working in IDA
 

On 2 Apr, TRE wrote to IDA for comments on the matter and asked if it is aware that one of their staff has obtained her MBA from a degree mill. TRE did not get any reply from IDA.
 

However, netizens continue to pursue IDA relentlessly on its Facebook page and on Tues (14 Apr), IDA finally replied.
 

IDA said that her Bachelor’s degree is from a reputable university and she was recruited based on the Bachelor degree. Her MBA was “not a relevant certificate for her position in IDA”, it added.
 

IDA further said, “We would like to share that Nisha has been a committed team member and contributed in her role as an Applications Consultant for the past year.”
IDA’s full reply on its Facebook page [Link]:

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Education standards in Singapore universities going up again




In Singapore, you pay a price for quality. And anything that is good is expensive, priced according its quality. The SMRT is one of the best in the world. And it is so good that it is raising its fares again to match its quality of service. Fares will go up on 5 Apr 15.

Yesterday it was also announced that all the universities will be raising their fees again for the next academic year. So if you put one and one together, the quality of our universities will go up again. You pay for quality. The quality is in the price you pay. The increases range from 1% to 8% depending on the courses and the institutions. This must be good news for the students eyeing for a world class university education in Singapore. The rankings of these universities will definitely notch up a few more rungs. At the rate they are raising the quality of university education by raising the fees respectively, soon they will be better than Harvard or MIT or Cambridge and Oxford. And of course they will have equally high course fees to match.

But just be careful about job opportunities. It was reported in the media yesterday that 60% of the local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) that lost their jobs could not be reemployed because they lacked the skills set. And they are the products of our world best universities.

And the lack of skills set is not confined to the older graduates from our universities. Fresh graduates also have difficulties finding jobs due to lack of skills set. I quote a comment in a local social media, the TRE,

crush the PAP:
so if PMETs young and old have lack of skills, then what are the polytechnics and SIM, SMU, NTU,NUS teaching in their degree and diploma syllabuses??? all outdated stuff???
its like the educational institutions are still teaching DOS and Word Star and the outside world is using windows 8 and office 2013.
if you are a fresh grad from Poly and NUS and outside interviewers are telling you you lack the relevant skills, then what the f*ck are these educational institutions teaching???
education ministry sleeping and daydreaming still isn’t it??’

I can guarantee the students that the qualities of these universities are definitely world class. But I am not sure world class in what ways. The students must be mentally prepared that getting a degree from these universities does not guarantee them a good job as the experience of the PMETs and the fresh graduates are anything to go by.

My recommendation is to go the neighbouring countries, 3rd World also good, if they want to get the right skills set to be employable. An easier and cheaper way is to buy from the degree mills. Not to worry, many of them are getting good jobs here and doing very well. Everyone is sleeping and no one is checking. Be street smart, get a degree, fake also can, that can get a job, not a world class degree that no employers want or worst, did not teach you the relevant skills set to get a job.

What do you want, a good degree from a world class university that cannot get a job or a fake degree or from an unknown university but can get you a job? It is very easy to con or cheat the talented employers in this 1st World city. They did not know what the hell is going on. They are too busy counting their money. See the ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs on their doors?

Friday, April 03, 2015

60% PMETs lacked relevant skills

‘In a statement yesterday (2 Apr), NTUC said that 60% of PMETs face difficulties in their jobs mainly due to a lack of relevant skills.
This is according to a survey NTUC conducted with 894 PMETs last year.
“We found that many face challenges pertaining to their current skill sets and knowledge,” said Mr Patrick Tay, assistant secretary-general and director of NTUC’s PME Unit.
The top 3 difficulties in their job, cited by PMETs in the survey, are:
  1. IT challenges
  2. Lack of relevant training or industry specific skill-set
  3. Need to constantly upgrade their skills due to changes in regulations or market conditions’
The above report in TRE also quoted a 23 year old fresh graduate who was unable to get a job as well. ‘She said, “I know I have the certificate. I just finished my education, so I thought I should be okay, I should be getting a job. I did not know what was going on, I did not know what was wrong. So I decided that I needed to find somebody who can actually help me out and tell me where I was going wrong.”’
And what happened, she sought help and what did they do to help her get a permanent job? They helped to polish her resume and interview skills and that was it. What have these got to do with her skills set? And why is it that 60% of PMETs who were good enough to be employed as PMETs but got sacked and then no longer have the relevant skills. And all the jokers and fakes and dunno what from God knows where have the skills sets to be employed here, have the skills sets that our PMETs did not have?
You believe in that? You believe in the 3 reasons given above? You believe that the PMETs could only become taxi drivers and security guards and people from the 3rd World are better trained than them, from the little villages or streets of 3rd World countries? Excuse me, what does PMET meant? It means Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians! No skills set?
How did they become PMETs if they have no relevant skills set? The whole world, including 3rd World countries knew what kind of skills sets needed to work in Singapore and could produce them to meet our needs but our world class education system could not produce people with the skills set needed by our employers!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Brits are losing it

The recent announcement by our Govt to delist some well known British universities from the list of recognised universities for law degree and allowed to practise here must come as a shock, a thunderbolt from nowhere. How can this little ex colony have the gumption to not recognise top notch universities with long academic traditions and anytime better than the local universities here? The Brits forgot that our local universities are higher ranked that many British universities. It is like the student has surpassed the master. Wait a minute, I thought the higher ranking of local universities here are due to two major factors, foreign lecturers and foreign students. And foreign lecturers, especially the English speaking type are mainly from UK/US. And British universities must have a lot of foreign students as well. What is wrong with British tertiary education when they are ranked lower than our state universities? Don’t ask me. Maybe these universities did not know how to game the ranking system.

Now some of these reputable British universities are standing up in protest. How can this ex colony think British universities are not good enough? They are going to make representations and appeals to be reinstated into the list of approved universities.

All I can say is silly Brits. An easier and more comprehensive solution would be to sign a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, CECA, and all their problems will be solved. CECA could also mean Comprehensive Exemption for Cheats Agreement when the quality and authenticity of the qualifications are questionable. If the Brits did not what this is all about, send a team of representatives to New Delhi to learn from their ex colony on how to con Singapore into singing a CECA. This ex colony has also outsmarted their colonial master and a smaller ex colony to sign this great agreement.

With a CECA, the British could even take over this ex colony and rule it for perpetuity if they so wish. There will be no more need to recognise any universities from UK, the Universities of Soho or Haymarket would do. They can just hop over to work here. Some natives here have gone bonkers and would love to welcome the British back to rule them. They have run out of ideas and would need just an excuse to bring back the Union Jack like some Hongkies are doing, protesting in the streets begging for the Brits to be back to rule them.

And the CECA with the British is just the right instrument to do it. Every single university in UK would be recognised by default of the agreement. No need to appeal to the ex colony. Come on Brits, used your head. It’s elementary, Watson.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

World class education opportunities up North


Malaysia’s tertiary education is world class according to the Second Education Minister Idris Jusoh. Malaysian universities are as good as those in UK, Australia and Germany in terms of quality. To back up his claim, he quoted the large number of foreign students coming to Malaysia for their tertiary education, conducted in English of course. So the quality must be good to attract foreign students to Malaysia.
 

The presence of foreign students is again quoted as a major factor for quality education ie world class. On this aspect, Malaysian universities would never be better than Singapore’s because the number of foreign students in the student population is much higher. Not only that, the lecturers and professors are mainly foreigners, or a large percentage, could be more than 50% in some faculties.
 

Malaysia needs to work harder to better its ranking if it wants to be better than Singapore by importing more foreign students and lecturers. They could also follow Singapore by giving no string attached scholarships to foreign students and pay the foreign lecturers salaries that they cannot refused. Singapore got a lot of money to spend on these foreign students and lecturers, so can Malaysia. Just throw more monies to the foreign lecturers and students and the ranking of Malaysian universities will definitely go up, like those in Singapore. And when there are more foreigners, the quality also goes up.
 

Singaporean students must now be eyeing a place in Malaysian universities. Malaysia just need to spend a bit more money to raise its ranking and Singaporean students would surely make a beeline to the high quality world class university education in Malaysia. And with the exchange rate so favourable, it would be an option that Singapore parents find very attractive. And Malaysia could also earn a lot of foreign exchange, increase its percentage of foreign students with Singaporean students, and thus improve the quality of education further. It would be a virtuous circus. Oops, I mean virtuous circle.
 

Malaysia would be happy and Singaporean students would also be happy. More foreign students and foreign lecturers equal to higher quality of education. It is a simple formula and so easy to achieve.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

An education centre or snake oil selling centre


We promote our City as a regional education centre. We allow all kinds of schools and universities to set up shops here to teach and to issue certificates, diplomas and degrees. Is there a need for quality checks? Or it is caveat emptor, the schools and their operators do whatever they want, the students go and do whatever they want, the Govt has no responsibility to the quality of the education services provided, the Govt may not even recognized their certificates or degrees issued?
In the banking industry there is some minimum guarantees for the deposits, at one time by the Govt. In the stock market, many investors are complaining about fly by night operators, companies listed in the market but turned turtles within months or a couple of years and then closed shop. Many got delisted for fraudulent accounting and businesses. Who is responsible for this? Caveat emptor?
The big question, shall there be some standard or criteria be set so that unwary students who honestly come here to get an education did not get snake oil instead? Would anyone be responsible or is it fair to the students and their parents for putting out good money, honestly, believing in the Singapore brand, to give their children an education but the certificates and degrees were not recognized at the end of the day? When there is no accountability or responsibility, anything can happen. Is this the nature of things that we want just to do business and collect some fees?

As a Govt and a country promoting education, can anything go, got quality or no quality, recognized or not recognized, does not matter as long as they can run it as a business and there are people, students, willing to register and to pay for it? Willing buyer and willing seller good enough?
Can this same principle be applied to other products and services? Can anyone import or produce and sell food products freely, with no questions on the standards and quality of the food? Or can anyone bring in cars that are not safe or did not meet engineering and design standards or quality to sell here?
Our education scene is like the Wild Wild West, like our infamous shopping centres. Buyers beware! No one is responsible for fakes, frauds and snake oils?
As a regional education centre, does the Govt think that it has no duty to ensure that the products and services are of certain quality and standard, or at least they are recognized by the government as employers? Singapore has a reputation for quality and reliability. The Singapore brand? How would the consumers think if the money they paid expecting quality education turns out to be something else?
Can a Singaporean student attending a private university here expect that the degree be recognized by the govt when applying for a job? This is the least that can be expected. Is the education scene too cavalier? Where is this thing called moral obligation or responsibility? What is ethical consideration?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singaporeans must make way for the Angsanas



The Angsanas are well known as instant trees in the island. They are planted everywhere as stop gap measures when instant trees are needed. They have good foliage and provide good shade under the hot sun. Superficially they looked good too. But they also snapped or get uprooted quite easily under strong wings. Maybe it is their nature, or maybe they are just instant trees with shallow roots. Unlike the hardy local trees that could withstand strong winds with their deep roots, the Angsanas would always be Angsanas. They will snap or get uprooted.

What is disturbing is a piece of news this morning about two old schools, Griffiths and Qiaonan, that have to make way for Angsana. The two schools with a combined history of 145 years, with many histories and old boys and girls who were proud to be students of the schools, would have their memories wiped clean, all because someone decided that Angsana should replaced them as the name for the new school, but devoid of any history except the fame instant tree image.

Why would the decision makers choose to have something new and nothing exceptional to replace our heritage? And why would the MOE and the Singapore Heirtage Board allowed it to happen? Aren’t they the public institutions and guardians that believed in our history and heritage? Are these people obsessed with the Angsanas? Or is there a message that they are sending out, Angsanas are good and should replace the locals?

The old boys and girls and teachers are all perplexed. They have all the good reasons to want to preserve the names of the two schools. They protested. Why would they want to replace the names of their schools with something like Angsanas? It reminds me of the fetish fad of replacing the PMEs with their wealth of experience with unknown elements from overseas.

There are a lot of sentiments involved. This is our history. This is very sad. Our past and memories are wiped out, no more, by this naïve and simplistic decision. The old boys and girls just want something to remember, their past, the times they spent in the schools, their alma maters. Why can’t the new school be called Qiaonan Griffiths to give it some history and a link to its past golden days? Qiaonan and Griffiths anytime sound better than this thing called Angsana. And one of the criteria of the Schools Naming Committee is whether the name resonates with the community? You mean Angsana resonates with the community better than Qiaonan and Griffiths?

And this Angsana Primary School is supposed to build on the histories of Qiaonan and Griffiths! What have they been smoking? Maybe Angsana resonates with the national policies of bringing more instant citizens into the country. Every Angsana, every instant tree, is a treasure, a talent, better than the locals or the Qiaonans and the Griffiths. It is better to do away with Qiaonan and Griffiths and glorify the new future of Angsanas.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

World Universities Rankings trivialise Research Excellence



Bogus World Universities Rankings promote Mediocrity and Worthless Value as Excellence

True research excellence is the product of passion and genuine scientific investigative efforts directed at purposeful outcomes in the form of “discoveries that will benefit Singaporeans and humankind globally” (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Jul 2006).   The desired goal of NTU research is “the harnessing and capturing of value (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Mar 2007). This is our Definition of “Research Excellence”.

Singapore Universities NUS and NTU were recently ranked among the Top by THE (Times Higher Education) World University Rankings. The London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranked NTU as the World’s Youngest Best University.

For QS Rankers, Research “Excellence” is measured by a questionable proxy measure called “Citations per faculty (20%)”.

Their “Citations” indicator aims to assess Universities’ Research Output. A ‘citation’ means a piece of research being cited (referred to) within another piece of research. Generally, the more often a piece of research is cited by others, the more influential it is. A rather simple but nonetheless naïve and invalid construct of “Research Excellence”, revealing QS’ ignorance and lack of understanding regarding Universities Research Excellence.  

Popular facts mentioned that Albert Einstein only published 3 papers.   Many NTU and NUS professors however, like many of their counterparts elsewhere, actually publish more journal papers than Nobel Prize potentials and winners!  

For QS Rankers, the winning Soccer Team is determined by counting the number of passes and ball possessions instead of the overall goals score impact!  Seriously, how VALID or Significant would this be?

There should be clear, ample proof that “new” knowledge contained and “cited” in these journal and conference papers is in fact of some degree of significance public value.

QS Rankers failed to evaluate the extent to which NTU had attained its Goal directive to harness and capture value (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Mar 2007).

Such glaringly blatant and obvious defects should NOT have escaped the penetrative professional scrutiny of NTU Senior Management and Administrators, many of whom eminent Professors and Researchers themselves, who had pronounced and unashamedly embraced the spurious and bogus QS Rankings to position our University in spite of its lack of validity and reliability of their Criterion measures.

In doing so, irreparable damage was done to the great authentic reputation of Singapore. Singapore universities should no longer participate in any Global Universities Ranking scams, no matter what other “famous” Universities had been included.  All Marketing collaterals making references to the bogus University Rankings should also be cleansed of the lie and return our Institution to Authentic levels of transparency and integrity. 

Read Full Article: