Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Singapore Education 2016 v1.0

With two young ministers fresh from the election oven put in charge of education, things are going to be hot and exciting. A one minister ministry may find the excuse of being overloaded and no time to do much, two ministers mean a lot of spare capacity to do more, to do new things. In the media on 20 Dec, it was reported that changes will take place in the next 5 years to revamp primary school education to scale down emphasis on academic results and to provide more time for students to pursue their interests in and out of schools.

Why the change? The media reported that the policy came amid expectations from educators, parents and the pupils to revamp the current system based strongly on academic results. I read this simply that the new education policy is determined by the educators, parents and the pupils, what they want the education to be. Fair enough, and the ministers are just appeasing them, and must agree with them. It must be, for if the ministers have different ideas of what education of children is like, they would want their views to be part of the input. Then the education policy will be the result of the expectations of the ministers, educators, parents and the pupils.

As the changes are for primary education, I think it is fair and harmless. The educators, parents and pupils and the ministers can decide what they like for the children. What about secondary and higher education? Who should determine what higher education should be like, to meet whose expectations? Should the policies of higher education be determined by the expectations of the professors in the academia, the parents, the students and the ministers? Or should they also include the expectations of the employers, what the employers want and expect from the education system? Would the expectations of the employers be the most important element in determining what higher education and its products to be like as they are the ultimate users of the products of the education system? If not, they may say, no relevant skill sets, unusable, need to find those with relevant skill sets in less pretentious schools from the 3rd world villages. Then our graduates would end up as temp job seekers or selling hamburgers at fast food joints. Then how?

A mismatch will be obvious if the policy of higher education is to meet the expectations of parents and students, or even the academics when their interests and expectations could be totally misaligned with the expectations of the employers.

While the policy of primary education is changing, I hope they will invite the employers to have a say as to what they want from the education system and we don’t end up with misfits from the higher education system that are not what the employers want. We are having this problem now, and some are very serious ones like the dearth of IT and banking and finance talents that no one seems to be responsible or accountable for it.  At primary level the blame can be put to the parents and students for wanting to have a fairy tale education disconnected with the realities of adult education and employment. At higher education, there is no luxury to mess around with the pragmatic and functional objectives of education.

The victims of past flirtations with dysfunctional education models and policies that are detached from the realities of adult life and leading to the lost generations of talents for IT and banking and finance industries must not be allowed to be repeated.  No more fooling around please. Education of the young is a very serious matter and there is a big divide between education for education’s sake, education that parents and students would love to have, and education to earn a living, education to meet the needs of the industries.

PS. I will love to decide my own education, read whatever I like, no exam, have a lot of fun and experimenting, if I don’t have to work for a living.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

MOE, MOM and WDA restructured

The double reporting of WDA to MOE and MOM has been straightened out with WDA now reporting to MOE under Ong Ye Kung. Ong Ye Kung will not be the Coordinating Minister for MOE/MOM/WDA and SkillsFuture training to make sure MOE is training graduates with the right skills for the industries and not ending up skillless, got talent and a lot of knowledge but no employers want to employ them.

The above was yesterday’s news. Today, MOE is overseeing Pre-employment training(PET) and continuous education and training(CET) under a new stats board called Skills Future Singapore(SSG).  The Workforce Development Agency will now become Workforce Singapore, a new stats board under the MOM. It would retain the former role of WDA, ie employment facilitation, career services and industry engagement.  These two stats board would solve the problems of employment faced by Singaporeans trained with skills not wanted by employers.

I really hope it is so simple, train the people with the right skills and the employers would happily employ them instead of foreigners. I am sure anyone with a little commonsense would know the real reasons why our talented young graduates are not employed but foreigners are in demand. And it is not just cheap labour. Cheap labour could be one of the reasons, but there are other more sinister reasons that dumbasses would not want to see.

I bet, even if all our graduates are trained with all the skills employers need and willing to accept competitive pay, they will still be passed over just like what is happening today. I was going to suggest that Ong Ye Kung send an army of teachers and civil servants to the 3rd World countries to find out why they are producing the right graduates with the right skills and talents that our industries and govt agencies are so happy to employ. Of course this is just a red herring when stupidity is the reason.

I am asking the same question aloud once more. Why are 3rd world half baked education system able to produce the workers that a first world city needs? And why are our students paying for a very expensive education, educated in world best universities and did not have the skills ‘OUR’ employers want? If the 3rd world countries are doing the right thing, then I would suggest that everyone in MOE and the world class universities be sacked. They are not doing the right thing, producing unfits, dysfunctional graduates that cannot be used by the industries. And we should send a team of educators to the 3rd world countries to learn from them, from their cheap education system, teaching little but producing the right graduates for our system.

Of course the half baked 3rd world education systems are no match to our world class super expensive system. Then what is wrong? I bet on one knows. That is why they are still scratching the wrong balls without addressing the real problem. If they know what is wrong, dare to face the truth, and stop being stupid, there is no need to waste time setting up two new stats boards to engage in shadow play.

Yes, they said stupidity has no cure. Anyway, let’s hope Ong Ye Kung knows what is happening and could save the day like Boon Wan saving the housing problems by simply building more flats. The reason or solution to Singaporean graduates and PMEs being sidelined and unemployed is so basic and easy, as easy as building more flats. No need to muck around and fighting with shadows. Tiok boh?

Super expensive world  class education producing dysfunctional graduates not fit and not wanted by the industries? And everyone is running around like bull arses flies, looking so busy, and scratching the wrong balls.

And they forgot to set up a COI to study what is wrong!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Why school is written as skool?

Has anyone wonder why skool is the new word for school? I think it is cute, just like writing govt as garment and yew think everyone will appreciate the creativity of the word. My First Skool must be the first step to creativity. To promote creativity, to be different like yew know ya, everything goes. If our skools will progress along this line we will have many Steve Jobs and Bill Gates or Zuckerbergs in the future, provided no one will snuff out this creativity streak in the young. I am not going to challenge the professional educators on why this is a good thing or a bad thing.

The young minds are innocent and impressionable and skool would be in their vocabularly for life. What about the adults who would view things differently, maybe cynically. Some are already commenting that this is a Freudian slip, that our schools are really nothing but skools. They are not schools any more but this new thing called skool and not sure what it means or what it is doing.

What is a skool and what is it supposed to produce, Stool or R2D2? R2D2 is famous for being a mobile storehouse for information and data. Not sure if it is programmed to think, but it sure is a remarkable robot that is a super encyclopedia. Whatever that is fed into R2D2 will come out like stool, freely and smoothly, not a word or a comma missing.

Would our schools be transformed over time, into skools as a natural process? What do yew think?