Leong Sze Hian questions the inconsistencies in some govt statistics.

University admissions, employment and help for the poor

Leong Sze Hian

I am somewhat puzzled by the statistics on university admissions.

Surely, what is more important is the number of applicants, rather than the number of applications, since many may apply to all three universities.

What is the break-down of the applicants for Singaporeans, permanent residents (PRs) and foreigners?
Since 20 per cent of the three universities’ total offering of 14,700 places this year is reserved for foreigners, does it mean that the places for Singaporeans and PRs is 11,760?

Therefore, what Singaporeans may like to know is what percentage of Singaporeans and PRs who apply, will be offered places?

This may be a more meaningful figure than saying that “25 per cent of the graduating cohort would be offered places, compared to 23 per cent last year”.

The Ministry of Education said in July last year that the actual number of foreign students admitted was 4,218.

Since the three local universities provided 14,685 places last year, dividing 4,218 by 14,685 gives a foreign students enrolment of 28.7 per cent.

So, was the foreign students admitted last year 20 or 28.7 per cent of the total intake?

What was the first-year intake percentage of Singaporeans after adjusting for PRs?

What is the break-down of the percentage of Singaporean and PR polytechnic graduate applicants, and foreigner applicants, who are admitted?

Is the admission success rate of Singaporean polytechnic graduates lower than foreigners?

So, I think in order to clear up the confusion on university admissions, what Singaporeans may really want to know is what is the actual percentage of Singaporeans, PRs, and foreigners admitted, instead of the number of applications, applicants or the number offered places ?

References:

Charlene Sng’s letter “Uni entry still hard for most poly graduates” (ST, May 26)

Khoo Lih-Han’s letter “Govt should subsidise private courses” (ST, May 16)

Patrick Sio’s letter “Universities should be clearer about entry criteria” (ST, May 16)

“Smaller cohort, but universities getting more applications” (ST, May 14)

“University education: Economics of choice” (ST, May 17).

Employment: Who actually get jobs?

I refer to the articles “More jobs created, but number of jobless still up” (ST, May 1) and “Jobs for Singaporeans: WP challenged to act on its words” (ST, May 2).

I would like to point out the following worrying employment trends :-

Another quarter of record employment growth – employment grew by 68,400 in the first quarter, but the seasonally adjusted resident (Singaporeans and PRs) unemployment rate increased from 2.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2007 to 2.9 per cent this quarter. This increase of 0.5 per cent is higher than the 0.3 per cent overall unemployment rate increase, from 1.7 in December to 2.0 in March.

Despite employment growing by 68,400, the number of seasonally adjusted unemployed residents grew to 54,400.

In 2006, 52 per cent of jobs created went to residents, of which 37 per cent went to citizens.

In 2007, the percentage of jobs created that went to residents declined to 38 per cent. Of this, what percentage went to Singaporeans ?

Has this trend of declining jobs for citizens persisted in the first quarter of 2008 ? What is the percentage of jobs to residents, and to citizens, for the first quarter ?

A record 46,900 became PRs, in the first nine months of 2007, and 7,300 became citizens in the first half of 2007. Has this trend persisted since 1 October 2007 for new PRs, and 1 July 2007 for new citizens, to the quarter ended 31 March 2008 ?

How many of the new jobs for residents, went to such new residents ?

Labour stakeholders like NTUC should analyse the cause of the above worrying trends for Singaporean workers, explore what can be done to reverse or slow down the trend, and how to mitigate the effect and implications on citizens?

In this connection, according to the Department of Statistics’ Monthly Digest of Statistics April 2008, the ratio of job seekers placed in employment to job seekers attended to at Career Link Centres, has declined from 29 per cent in 2006, to 28 and 24 per cent in 2007 and March 2008, respectively.

Also, the total population in Singapore is growing at it’s fastest rate since 1990, at 4.3 per cent, compared to the resident (citizens and PRs) population growing at only 1.6 per cent since 1990.

GST increase statistics

I refer to the article “An exclusive club to help the needy” (Today, May 24).

The North-West Community Development Council is asking companies and individuals to donate $100 or more each month towards the North-West Food Aid Fund, because demand for food packages from the needy has more than doubled since December, as inflation hit another 26-year high, at 7.5 per cent in April.

There have also been media reports of hospitals raising funds to help needy patients pay for their medical fees.

Since the reason given for raising the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by another two per cent, was to help the poor, aren’t the CDCs and hospitals getting more money to help the poor?

In this connection, I understand that GST collections after the two per cent increase is estimated to be $ 1.9 billion, which is more than the initial estimate of about $1.5 billion because of a booming economy.

Moreover, in addition, I understand that co-operatives in Singapore have had healthy surpluses, of which up to 20 per cent are contributed to the Central Co-operative Fund under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

Some of these funds are also available to help the needy.

What are the statistics on how the increased GST collections have been used to help the poor, on a comparative basis, before and after the GST hike?

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