Thursday, December 04, 2014
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?