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

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.”

Number of Singaporean students: 14, 781

Number of foreign students: 4, 218

Total : 18, 999

Percentage of foreign students:

[ 4,218 / 18, 999 ] X 100 = 22.2%

Isn’t 22.2% more than the 20% cap on foreigners?

– It was said in Parliament that “The three local universities will provide 14,685 places this year, a 10 percent increase from the previous year”.

So, dividing 4,218 foreigners by 14,685 total places gives a foreign students enrolment of 28.7%.

If the 4.3% figure was wrong, what is the explanation for this apparent contradiction in the data?

– What is the first-year intake percentage for Singaporeans after adjusting for Permanent Residents?

– Since NUS’s statement implies that 28% of the total undergraduate and post-graduate enrolment are foreigners, what is the total number of foreigners plus PRs relative to total enrolment?

Read Sze Hian’s earlier article : University places – numbers don’t add up

Also blogger Frankly Speaking’s article on the issue.

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