Yesterday Ng Eng Hen told the PAP crowd, some of which were fed and bussed there by RC activists, that the education sector takes a long time to build and is "not amenable to sloganeering or quick fixes." He was obviously trying to "fix" SDP's plans for the educational system. Trouble is, his credibility is jaundiced by one of the first pronouncements made earlier in his ministerial career, challenging the prescient findings of academics that more new jobs created had gone to foreigners instead of local born and bred.
We don't know who he interviewed, but the parents he claims "appreciate the competition from foreign students", despite concerns that they making school life miserable for their own wards must have answered under duress, mouthing the politically correct reply on cue. When the pupils themselves were asked whether they were scared of the competition, they kept quiet. Kids are less intimidated. You know the minister is stretching the truth again when he said the kids told him the foreigners spur them to work harder.
School teachers and principals, like the disgraced Dr Ong of ACS(I), spent large sums of taxpayers' monies to traverse the length and breadth of the Middle Kingdom to pick and import in these "spurs". They are provided free tuition, books, board and lodging, plus pocket money of the order of $400 a month, when there are scores of Singaporeans who can't stay back for remedial lessons don't have lunch money. Why not spend these money, our money, on Singaporean kids instead? Invest in our own, who will be serving NS to defend our country, instead of the foreigners who openly abuse our system as a springboard for greener pastures. Prepare the young to compete, yes, but on foreign shores, in the international market. Our 720 sq km is just too small for a battleground - let's hope our desktop generals know that much.
There was a letter to the press a few months back, lamenting that someone who had A,B(H2) and E(H1) grades could not gain admission to a local university. Parents are mortgaging or downgrading their houses, scaling back their non-Swiss standard of living, in order to send their kids abroad for the important university degree, while precious places are given away generously to foreigners. Ng claims foreigners make up less than 10 per cent of the enrolment in primary and secondary schools, and about 20% in universities. He justified the latter larger number by quoting "benefits from foreign inputs in research." What the fish is that? Even he must have sensed his words will not be believed so easily this time, hence he added the qualifier, "There's a trade-off. We have to calibrate it." Yeah, just like the way "population czar" Wong Kan Seng calibrated the influx of foreigners to squeeze out the natives.
Okay, Mr Tan Jee Say, we need you in parliament to push through your plans for a more equitable solution for our educational system.