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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

TOC Report: PM Lee at NUS Ministerial Forum

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 22, 2007

By Ng Sook Zhen

If Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were right, even if we change Singapore twice over, there still will be many improvements to be made. KT

Speaking at the Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum organized by the National University of Singapore Students’ Political Association yesterday at Hon Sui Sen Terrace, PM Lee stressed the need for continual change, plotting a three-stage time-frame to remake Singapore.

“Our future is in our own hands, and it depends on what we do in Singapore – moving forward, seizing opportunities and avoiding problems,” he said in his speech to the largely-student audience.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Education, Ng Sook Zhen | 8 Comments »

TOC Opinion: PM Lee at NUS: Where’s the substance?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 22, 2007

By Choo Zheng Xi

The Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum was a surreal experience. Throughout the forum, I had trouble believing that this event was being held the day after one of the most contentious Parliamentary sittings I had ever followed was concluded.

I had trouble believing that I was being addressed by the Prime Minister of a government that was in the process of trying to push through one of the most revolutionary makeovers of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme in history. Generally, I was troubled.

PM largely steered clear of contentious local issues, choosing instead to focus a large part of his speech on standard fare about our relations with our neighbors, with a more general sketch of local issues.

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Posted in Choo Zheng Xi, Current Affairs, Education, TOC Reports | 16 Comments »

Education and excellence through a fairer Tuition Grant program

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 13, 2007

By Pin-Quan Ng

In his National Day Rally address, our prime minister suggested the possibility of developing a fourth public university to meet the increasing demand for university education, perhaps in response to the recent controversy over the number of foreign students admitted to our local universities, and its underlying sentiments that Singaporeans are being treated like second-class citizens when it comes to university admissions.

A new university is a necessary but insufficient measure to address these concerns, as current university tuition subsidies are both unfair to citizens and harmful to the long-term competitiveness of our education industry, and must be reformed even if a new university is introduced.

Through the MOE Tuition Grant program, the Singapore taxpayer subsidizes up to 75% of undergraduate tuition fees at NUS, NTU, and SMU (our ‘flagship’ universities), as well as polytechnic diploma and degree programs.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Education, Guest Writers | 40 Comments »

TOC Exclusive: Otto Fong’s Open Letter

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 10, 2007

Theonlinecitizen has obtained a copy of the original blog entry by Raffles Institution teacher, Otto Fong. It also includes comments which were originally posted by readers of his article.

The original posting on his own blog has since been taken down.

AN OPEN LETTER FROM OTTO FONG

I am Otto Fong. I have been teaching Science in Raffles Institution for the last eight years.

Being a teacher has been the most rewarding part of my professional life thus far. My students continue to amaze me daily with their wit, maturity, independent thinking and leadership. It is very fulfilling that I am a part of an institution that moulds the future generation of Singapore‘s leaders.

Leaders are people who can rise above the tide of popular opinion, people who are guided by the conviction of rightness and justice and in being so guided, lead others towards that right path.

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Posted in Choo Zheng Xi, Current Affairs, Education, TOC Reports | 202 Comments »

The Internet’s reaction to Otto Fong

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 9, 2007

Below are some reactions from the internet regarding Raffles Institution teacher Otto Fong’s “coming out” blog post.

Letter to Raffles Institution regarding Otto Fong by Jasper Chen

“I must say that I am deeply touched by Mr Fong’s article. It really reminds me of my secondary school days, facing attraction towards the same sex, yet without peers I can share this new and alien experience with, much less teachers or authority figures that could most probably guide me.”

First DMP Day by Here Lies A Weary Heart

“The case now referred to MOE if im not wrong. If the school sacks him, it will be like totally the wrong thing to do. But if I recall correctly, some time ago the New Paper wrote that some secondary school teacher got sacked cos he gay then the parents scared he use the urinal then got AIDS on the urinal then will pass to students lol. Hope Otto Fong is alright though.”

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Posted in Current Affairs, Education, TOC Reports | 13 Comments »

What has university places got to do with compulsory annuities?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 5, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

According to the article “Fourth varsity: Third time’s the charm?” (Straits Times, September 1), 23.5 per cent of each cohort makes it to the local universities, “But what is significant though is that up to half of each cohort do end up with degrees, whether from here or overseas”.

It also cited the case of a couple who had to clean out their savings, mortgaged the family’s three-room flat, and deferred plans for the mother to retire from her job as a factory operator, in order to send their children overseas for a university education, because there wasn’t enough places in the local universities.

Since bout 26.5 per cent of the cohort had to obtain a university degree, other than at the local universities, how many parents, like the couple above, may have ended up with insufficient funds for retirement?

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Posted in Current Affairs, Education, Leong Sze Hian | 6 Comments »

A good speech – but some points to keep in mind

Posted by theonlinecitizen on August 20, 2007

By Andrew Loh

As usual, the prime minister’s National Day Rally speech was not short of good, upbeat news. Nothing surprising in that. If one were to take a look at past speeches, it has always been so.

I still remember then prime minister Goh Chok Tong’s speech in 2003, in the midst of an economic downturn, when he said:

“Where the hills and streams end and there seems to be no road ahead, amidst shady willows and blooming flowers, another village appears.” In other words, when all seems lost, there is hope.

Tonight, I want to assure you that we are not lost. I will show you the way out of the gloomy valley, and up into the sunny highlands.” (link)

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Posted in Andrew Loh, Current Affairs, Education | 10 Comments »

Another set of figures on university enrolment?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on August 20, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

During his National Day Rally speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined his government’s intention to build a 4th University to cater to more Singaporean students.

The PM said the objective is to allow 30 percent of each cohort to get into publicly-funded universities by 2015, compared to 23 percent today.

At the last Parliamentary session, Minister-of-State for Education, Mr
Gan Kim Yong was reported by the Straits Times (20 July, 2007) as saying that:

“For local students, places were offered to 14,781, or 51 per
cent, of those who applied”. (Straits Times, 20 July)

So, is it 23 per cent or 51 per cent?

Why do the numbers keep changing?

Read also: University places : Numbers don’t add up

And: MOE’s reply – numbers still don’t add up

Posted in Current Affairs, Education, Leong Sze Hian | 7 Comments »

Foreign unis & foreign students – are we striking the right balance?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on August 6, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

Despite a heated debate in the media and calls by the public for EDB to reveal how much of taxpayer’s money has been lost due to the UNSW closure, EDB chose to remain silent.

I find it somewhat embarrassing to first find out the amount by reading the Singapore media, quoting the Australian media.

Since Parliament was assured that UNSW “has to pay back the money because it did not meet the ‘agreed milestones’”, why did it take 2 months, and only when the question was tabled in Parliament, to disclose that $32.3 million was given to UNSW ?

The damage to Singapore’s reputation in the international media over the last 2 months could have be avoided, had this been disclosed earlier.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Education, Leong Sze Hian | 6 Comments »

Minister’s blunder a cause for concern

Posted by theonlinecitizen on July 20, 2007

By Choo Zheng Xi

Our writer Leong Sze Hian recently pointed out that numbers for the proportion of foreign students in local varsities given by Minister of State for Education Gan Kim Yong in Parliament did not add up.

Mr Gan had said in Parliament that of 23,000 foreign students who applied to local varsities, “only 987 or 4.3 percent were given places”.

Mr Leong was right.

The Ministry of Education today clarified that almost five times the number were in fact admitted. Out of the 23,000 foreign students who applied, the actual number admitted was 4,218.

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Posted in Choo Zheng Xi, Current Affairs, Education | 16 Comments »

MOE’s reply – Numbers still don’t add up

Posted by theonlinecitizen on July 20, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

The Ministry of Education has clarified that out of the 22,933 foreign students who applied for local universities, the actual number admitted was 4,218 (18.4%). The Ministry explained that the 987(4.3%) figure given in Parliament only referred to foreign students who had obtained GCE ‘A’ level or polytechnic.

This clarification may still leave the following questions unanswered:-

The Straits Times reported today (20 July, 2007) that:

For local students, places were offered to 14,781, or 51 per cent, of those who applied.”

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Posted in Current Affairs, Education, Leong Sze Hian | 19 Comments »

University places – numbers don’t add up

Posted by theonlinecitizen on July 18, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

This Channelnewsasia report titled “Enough places in local universities for Singaporeans : MOE”, quotes Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister of State for Education as saying:

“The universities do give priority to local students. And for our students who can qualify based on the requirement of each discipline and each faculty would have been given admission. Beyond that, the universities would want to ensure there are also sufficient foreign students to provide diversity.”

“Mr Gan said 28,000 Singapore students applied to the universities this year and half of them were offered places. In contrast, 23,000 foreign students applied and only 987 or 4.3 percent were given places”.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Education, Leong Sze Hian | 9 Comments »