|"Which country spends billions for defence to nurse the |
paranoia of a freak election result?"
The much-publicized development is guesstimated to cost IBM between US$100 million and US$2 billion (actual figure is a closely guarded secret) over a three year period. Let's hope it doesn't give the Ministry of Education any bright ideas - like paying big bucks for a software to mark essays.
The Criterion software, developed by American company Education Testing Services, was tested, measured, and found wanting. It was supposed to be able to comment and make recommendations on grammar, usage, mechanics, style and organisation, but ended up just correcting errors of spelling and grammar, i.e. what your average spell checker does for free. English teacher Clarinda Choh at Hwa Chong is not alone in maintaining that software "will not be able to detect nuances in language and style." Well, definitely not without Watson's 2,880 cores and 16 terabytes of memory anyway. Criterion was reportedly tried out by thousands of secondary schools students here since 2006, at $55 per student. Which begs the question - why is MOE even wasting money to evaluate such stuff? It would do education more good if they had brought in the Jeopardy! program instead of the public service broadcast (PSB) crap that was excuse for the $110 TV and Radio Licence fee collected all these years.
MOE is allocated 23% of the pie, right after the biggest slice for Defence. The 2011 budget comprises $$9.77 billion for Operating Expenditure and $1.14 billion for Development Expenditure, funding meant for Primary, Secondary, Polytechnic and University education (includes JC/CI, ITE, NIE but excluding independent schools). One can understand that Leopard 2A4 battle tanks and F-15SG Eagle fighter jets cost a bomb, but how is the money spent at MOE? For instance, how much (tuition, food, board & lodging, plus $400 per month pocket money) is given to foreign scholars who are depriving Singaporeans of the limited places in the various institutes of learning? The Education Statistics Digest 2010 numbers at the MOE website don't reveal much except that there's a $103 million entry for "Others". Let's hope they are not using the same accountant who cooked the YOG books for Vivian Balakrishnan.