The following is a comment left on TOC by “Ex-Scholar”, in the article “Seeing stars:Uniquely Singapore – Equality”. TOC will, from time to time, publish comments by our readers which we feel deserve to be highlighted.
My feeling is that scholarship awards are made somewhat subjectively with some political and strategic objectives - we just have to trust the system for now.
However there should be the beginning of some transparency so that citizens are able to accept the statistics when they are finally revealed.
By the way, recent statistics can suggest that top scholarships are going to the female gender with a mix of foreigners - interesting to suggest rightly or wrongly that it may be difficult to deal with local NS men who are getting vocal to the point of challenging the system.
In some western countries - university places and scholarships are allocated to minorities - and the definition of minorities is not based on race but on many other factors like location of birthplace, father’s occupation, etc…..
In other areas involving foreigners, award of scholarships are based on a strict quota - locals are given the places first, then the quota for foreigners are filled up - there is a policy and consistency.
As Singapore opens up, much spotlight will be placed on university places and scholarship awards; questions will always be there once the system is not transparent.
Look at the previous debate on foreign sports talents - have Singaporeans accepted them yet? The controversies involving sports talents disappearing half way thru their “scholarships here” are still fresh in people’s mind. Sometimes it makes one wonder if Singapore has got its priorities right? Have the investments paid [off]? How are the foreign imports doing - can they win a medal at Beijing after failing in Sydney and Athens?
The focus now should be on the economic slowdown, solving problems of inflation, cost of living and really helping the poor and the old who cannot cope; yet on tv and news, one can find the President and Minister enjoying the Beijing Games! What insensitivities (sic) to show at such an uncertain and difficult time with the admitted bumpy road ahead for Singapore.
Will Singaporeans believe that there is really a level playing field in the awards of scholarships ?
Openness is the key. Courage to face the people, and not to hide behind the non-answering system is a must henceforth if the people and government are to move on to close the divisive gap. Civil servants are well paid, Goverment is voted in - the system must be accountable, perform and show results or be shipped out.