When we have a system of appointing and nominating members of parliament in an orderly planned and non-competition way, we really have no right and moral authority to comment on whether our students are really lack of drive and confidence.
Even it is true, it is just a reflection of the reality in Singapore.
In order to attract foreigner investors, we have to show them we have a stable government that is based on a planned and arranged political system. Hence, we have to put up this artificial show to convince foreigners. But is this a true picture of today’s Singapore?
Are these appointed and nominated MPs politicians? It seems they are not. Does parliament need a team of ‘feedback’ MPs to enrich the debate? It seems they are raising their own interest in the parliament.
Degree quality and critical mass
The Education Minister’s concern is like 自打嘴巴 – slapping own face. Before criticising students, the minister must know that our students are the products of our education system and our society. Our system only wants to train obedient students and upon graduation, their roles are to serve foreigners, elites, and the rich. In return, they are awarded with job security and protection.
This is our success model of the past and the PAP wants to continue with this practice. They also want to control this protected group of students, i.e. limiting the numbers of university places and local graduates. Hence, it is not surprising that this privileged group of undergraduates would raise question like:
“Would the increase in university intake and the coming fourth university dilute the quality of a degree? “ (Quality seems to refer to monetary value).To be fair to the Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, his answer is at least partly correct. Mr Heng assured the students that their degree would not be diluted and a degree's worth "goes beyond economic value".
The aim in expanding the tertiary education sector is to ensure there is a "critical mass", which is "critical to everything we do", explained the minister. "A bigger talent pool attracts more jobs to Singapore," he added. (http://www.todayonline.com/Hotnews/EDC120201-0000075/Build-deep-skills-to-attract-employers--Education-Minister)
His answer is partly incorrect as he seems to suggest the government still wants to control the number of Singaporean graduates to a limited “critical mass”. Anything outside the critical mass is not planned and is not welcome.
Who is to define the critical mass? Who should be in the critical mass? Critical mass is a change factor and sometimes cannot be defined in advance.
Self-interest can turn into drive and confidence
No matter how obedient a student can be, when comes to self-interest, in the new political environment, they will want to voice out. We have seen the residents of Rochor and Woodlands expressing their disagreement in a big way. Their actions have forced government to re-think the way they handle the matters. Certainly, the NMPs cannot help to get the feedback for the government. I wonder whether the ‘critical mass’ can help in one way or another.
People now dare to voice out their unhappiness. This is a significant breakthrough as Singaporeans are now more confidence, with drive and eager to voice out. Can NMPs help residents in an effective way to bring their concerns to the authority?
Comfort zone and competitive environment
“The Education Minister is concerned about the number of employers who have said that Singaporean students lack drive and the confidence to venture out of their comfort zone.
These are the very qualities that chief executives and entrepreneurs singled out to him as being essential to succeed in the competitive global playing field.” http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_761689.html
When you compare the above statements with the NMP scheme, you will see the double standard in the handling of NMPs and commenting on students in Singapore. Why some people don’t have to venture out their comfort zone, compete in an election and can easily get into the parliament? By the same analogy, Singapore students will expect to get jobs with no contest, but planned and arranged by the government. Why is the need to be drive and confidence?
Whether NMPs or students, for Singapore to move upwards, there is a need to go beyond drive, hungry and confidence. We are also lack of innovation and creativity. There are still rooms for improvement......