Singaporeans Pay The Most Expensive University Tuition Fees In The High-Income Countries

I will be direct: Singaporeans pay the highest university tuition fees, we receive one of the least scholarships, as compared to the other high-income countries and we also have one of the fewest students who are able to enroll into universities. Welcome to Uniquely Singapore.

Last week, I had written about how the Singapore education system is unequal. A student who goes to a “top” school will have an almost indefinite chance of entering one of the three local public universities in Singapore. However, for a student who goes to a polytechnic, the chances of going into these universities will be next to zero, literally. Why are these statistics so determinate – is this a intended policy decision to delineate a segment of Singaporeans?

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong might claim that, “every school is a good school”. He had also said that, “we value every child and that we want to give every person the best possible chance to start off well in life”. But as we have seen, the students in Singapore have the lowest progression into secondary education, as compared to the other high-income countries, and countries which have done well in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings. This might also be because Singapore spends the lowest on education as compared to these countries, and we also invest one of the lowest in our primary and secondary students. How then is every school a “good school” and how does every Singapore have “the best possible chance to start off well in life”?

PM Lee might also say that he doesn’t believe in having a, “closed, self-perpetuating elite”, but what do the statistics say? We have a clearly elitist and unequal education where a large proportion of our Singaporean students fall out of the education system.

As was also discussed, most students who enter public universities are more likely to have come from high-income households and students from low-income households in Singapore have a lower chance of going into the public universities.

So, last week, I have showed how our education system is unequal, but do you know that even within the public universities, the education system is highly unequal and elitist as well?

Let’s take a look at the university tuition fees. What you will see today will further shock you.

Singapore’s Public University Education System Is Unequal Too

Of the three public universities, the National University of Singapore (NUS) charges its students between S$7,650 and S$23,050. Students in the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU) are made to pay between S$7,650 to S$30,000. And students at the Singapore Management University (SMU) have to pay between S$10,900 to S$12,050.

So, is it perfectly normal for university students to pay such high fees? If we want to get a “high” education, we should be willing to pay more, right? And the almost annual increases should be accepted if we want to have a decent university education, right?

How much we have been deceived.

On average, if you include the enrollment of the students, I calculated that the average university tuition fee is about S$8,760. In US dollars, this would be US$7,016.

And how does Singapore compare with the other high-income countries? You guessed it! Singaporeans pay one of the highest tuition fees among the rich countries – the second highest in fact, after Ireland (Chart 1). Even in the United States and Australia, their students there only pay US$5,402 and US$3,924 respectively. Not only that, for countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, students do not even need to pay tuition fees!

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Chart 1: Education at a Glance 2013

Perhaps, we might say – Singapore has the second-most expensive university tuition fees among the high-income countries, but I am sure the government helps us!

OK, let’s take a further look.

14% of All Undergraduates Are On Scholarships?

According to the Minister of Education (MOE), “On average, about 14% of our undergraduates … in NUS and NTU in 2001-2005 were on scholarships.” Of these, only “About one-third of the undergraduate scholars were local students.

So, again, I did a bit more calculation – the total undergraduate enrollment in the NUS and NTU is 49,463. If 14% of the undergraduates are on scholarships, this would mean that 6,925 students would be on scholarships. Since one-third of the scholars are locals, then two-thirds would be foreigners. This would mean that there were 4,617 foreigners who are on scholarships, and only 2,308 Singaporeans on scholarships.

20% of Undergraduates Are International Students

According to the MOE, “the MOE has capped the number of International Student (IS) at 20% of the total intake, while Permanent Residents (PRs) form only a small proportion. For example, in AY2011, IS comprised 18% while PRs were 4% of undergraduate intake.” So, if 18% of the students are foreigners, this would mean that there would be a total of 8,903 foreign students.

If there were 4,617 foreigners on scholarships out of the total number of 8,903 foreign students, this would mean that 52% of the foreign student population is on scholarships!

But wait a minute, didn’t the MOE said that 14% of the undergraduates at NUS and NTU are on scholarships?

Only 6% Of Singaporean Undergraduates Receive Scholarships

Brace yourself now – the total Singaporean (and PR) undergraduate population is 40,560. And if only 2,308 Singaporean students are on scholarships, as was calculated above, this would mean that only 6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships!

So, the MOE might claim that 14% of the undergraduates are on scholarships, but most of the scholarships are not going to Singaporeans! In fact, only 6% of Singaporeans are able to receive scholarships!

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Chart 2

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Chart 3

How does this compare to the other countries, right? Maybe it’s not that bad, right? OK, let’s see.

When compared the other high-income countries, for our Singaporean students, we have the lowest proportion of students who are able to go on scholarships (Chart 4).

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Chart 4: Education at a Glance 2013

So, as if it’s not already bad enough that Singaporeans already pay the second-highest tuition fees, we are also given the lowest amount of support!

Last but not least, because Singaporeans are made to pay one of the highest university fees among the high-income countries and our students also have the lowest proportions who are able to receive scholarships, is this the reason why we also have one of the lowest enrollment of our students into university education (Chart 5)?

photo 5 (10)

Chart 5: Report of the Committee on University Education Pathways Beyond 2015 (CUEP)

Maybe if I give you the complete big picture, the shock will be even greater.

Do you know that Singapore happens to be one of the richest countries in the world, by GDP per capita (Chart 6)?

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Chart 6: CIA The World Factbook GDP – per Capita (PPP)

We have one of the largest reserves in the world – the 11th largest (Chart 7).

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Chart 7: The World Bank Total reserves

We also have the largest reserves per capita in the world (Chart 8).

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Chart 8: The World Bank Total reserves

According to Mr Leong Sze Hian, Singapore also has the 7th largest surplus in the world.

In the meantime, Singaporeans are actually paid the lowest wages among the high-income countries (Chart 9).

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Chart 9: BBC Global migrants: Which are the most wanted professions?

So, let me put things into a bit of perspective here – Singaporeans are given the lowest wages but yet we are expected to pay the second-highest tuition fees for university. Not only that, our students have the lowest proportions who are able to receive scholarships. Yet, we have one of the richest, if not, the richest government in the world, and the PAP government doesn’t want to give more to help Singaporeans achieve a higher education.

Based on what Mr Leong Sze Hian has calculated, tuition fees have “increased about 7.5 per cent per annum” for the past 26 years“. So, how has this become a burden to Singaporeans? Because scholarships only cover 6% of the students, the MOE had said that about “one-third of our local students who graduated between 2005 and 2007 from the local universities had taken up tuition fee loans to finance their undergraduate studies“. Also, “Another one-third of our local students drew down on either their parents’ or their own CPF under the CPF Education Scheme to pay for their fees.” Which means that our students end up in heavy debt even before they start work – the MOE has thus kindly calculated that, “Most students would have graduated with an average debt of about $20,000.

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Chart 10

But, when our students graduate, they are made to receive the lowest wages among the developed countries, to pay off the highest tuition fee loans.

Not only that, Mr Leong Sze Hian had estimated that only 1 in 8 Singaporeans are able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum in their CPF, which means that the loans that students take on their parents’ or their own CPF becomes an additional burden.

By now, you can clearly see that first, the Singapore education system is highly unequal where only 30% of the students have the highest chances of entering the university. But not only that, when they enter university, only 6% of the Singaporean students are able to receive scholarships, even though more than half the foreign student population are able to receive scholarships. In the end, much fewer of our students are able to enter university, as compared to the other high-income countries.

Yet, why does the Singapore government believe that they do not need to look out for the needs of Singaporeans when there is an estimated 28% of Singaporeans who are living in poverty (Chart 11)?

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Chart 11: The Heart Truths Poverty in Singapore Grew from 16% in 2002 to 28% in 2013

Also, the poverty rate in Singapore is much higher than in any of the high-income countries and countries in the region as well – countries which the PAP government is awarding scholarships to (Chart 12).

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Chart 12: The Heart Truths Poverty in Singapore Grew from 16% in 2002 to 28% in 2013

So, why does the PAP government allow university tuition fees to keep increasing yet not provide more financial support for Singaporeans? Why does the PAP government allow Singaporeans to sink into debt, yet pay Singaporeans the lowest wages, and not put in a minimum wage to protect the wages of the workers?

Why does the PAP government insist on earning off the people of Singapore, instead of allow Singaporeans to receive an equal education and one where all Singaporeans have equal access to? Why are some students intentionally kept out of university? Why are students made to shoulder a heavy burden of education, when the PAP government does its minimal to ensure that “every person (has) the best possible chance to start off well in life”. Then what does Lee Hsien Loong means when he said that, “we value every child”?

Our children are being disadvantaged early on in life. When you start to think that your lot in life might be caused by the PAP government, it is not a suspicion. It’s the reality – the statistics have confirmed your worse fears.

Lee Hsien Loong might say that he does not believe in having a “closed, self-perpetuating elite”. But what are the statistics clearly showing? Why does Singapore have such an unequal education system, and why does the PAP government want to create such an unequal education system?

Note: Chart 1 and 4 have been amended with the relevant statistics. I would like to thank readers for pointing out the changes required. Thank you.

*****

If you are inspired to want to discuss more about how we can change the education system in Singapore, you can join other Singaporeans at this upcoming workshop to design solutions to make the education system more equal in Singapore. 

For more information, you can visit the Facebook event page here

Towards a Better Education System The Heart Truths Blog Poster 1

213 comments

  1. Mervyn

    I have a feeling gov is keeping education expensive to prevent a problem of manpower(which we are already facing). If more people are given a university education, we would have a education inflation, where people only want to work high-end jobs and no one wants the low end jobs, then the economy will collapse. In a country like Singapore where MNCs dominate, a higher population in the middle/lower working class is required more than having highly qualified officers. Just look at university grads today, an average B student has almost 0% chance to enter a MA program to fast track their career. Until we can find a way for everyone to get employed with a university degree in a good company(not small businesses where job security is at stake), I feel education will continue to be kept expensive.

      • alphadvance

        If you have a BA degree would you want to work in a MNC paying a starting pay of 3.5K with better prospect of promotion or a SME of 2.8K with no grantee of a promotion? Let’s say now you have just graduated, would you be able to wait out for about 6 months to be hired by an MNC firm or a SME willing to hire immediately?
        Or if you are taking about people not wanting to take the low end jobs, why do we have FT and the white paper to increase the population to 6.9 million then?
        I’m not speculating, just giving my opinion, hope it doesn’t offend anyone. Cheers =)

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Mervyn,

      The issue with the university education isn’t that we will produce too many university graduates – there is a much higher proportion of students enrolled in their universities in the other high-income countries.

      The problem with our local university education is that it doesn’t adequately prepare the university graduate for jobs – and which is the lament the foreign employers have, where they had feedback that local graduates might not be as critically-thinking and risk-taking enough, and which is why we are having employers have taken to employ foreign graduates.

      So, the issue is not as what you’ve said – that there will be too many university graduates but our university hasn’t been structured for the needs of the economy. If so, a reform of the university education is in place, and employers have shared this with the PAP government many times now – the question is has the PAP government responded?

      On the issue of pay, pay isn’t or shouldn’t even be an issue. I will share with you soon that the disparity between a university and polytechnic graduate is the highest in Singapore, as compared to the other high-income countries. So, the rationale that polytechnic gradual should be paid a lower pay is a non-issue in the other countries, and would be perceived as discriminatory. As such, the pay of Singaporean workers are highly divisive and discriminatory.

      Again, why did the PAP government peg wages to such wide disparity and extend – which perpetuates the discriminatory attitudes and mindsets among Singaporeans?

      Roy

      • alphadvance

        Hi Roy,

        Thanks for giving your opinion and a different view!
        Look forward to your findings on the disparity of a uni grad and a poly grad!

      • Tan

        That is not true. I assume you are referring to p. 232. Clearly. ‘the United Kingdom’ is a row in the table. You missed it because you were solely looking at the column detailing fees for ‘Public Institutions’. The UK’s universities are all classified as ‘Government dependent private institutions’ instead. The correct figure is PPP$4,980.

        Given the huge discrepancy with the BBC article’s figures (and, it so happens, my personal experience studying in the UK, during which time most universities raised their fees to the maximum cap of £9,000), I suspect the OECD’s data was not updated to take into account the 2010 fee raises.

      • Tan

        And on that UK note I should also point out that 75% and 77% of Japanese and Korean tertiary type-A students studied in private institutions, whose fees you completely ignore. The annual first degree programme fees are PPP$8,039 in Japan and PPP$9,389 in Korea. Similar problems exist for the US figures (30% private at $17,163).

        If you’d taken these into account your graph would’ve looked quite different.

      • Ace Bendict

        Tan, there is no point challenging Roy. It is evident that he publishes selective statistics and leaves those out which would contradict his conclusions.

        Besides, as Roy always likes to say, “countless research” has been done to support all of his points. No point trying to debate anything.

      • Lawliet

        @Tan: A possible reason with the discrepancy is that the OECD report takes into account the tuition fees in Scotland (e.g. Scots get free education) and Northern Ireland, which are not subjected to the new £9000 cap in England and Wales. Then again, there are more universities in England and Wales than Scotland and Northern Ireland combined (possibly, I didn’t look this up) so this might not be the case.

  2. Q

    Hi Roy, I think your source of tuition fees, taken from OECD’s Tertiary Type A annual fees, does not actually refer to university tuition fees. Source: http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=5440

    The average tuition fees for a 4-year university degree in Singapore is $33,803, $121,017 for a US degree, and $95,550 for a UK degree. Source: AIA report, which took figures from the British Council, US College Board, and NUS/SMU/NTU http://www.aia.com.sg/en/resources/13b61c004a85301e9e899ec94f5f7968/AIA_edufunding_flyera4_v2_sg.pdf

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Q,

      The chart shows what students actually need to pay. Quite obviously, there would be tuition fee charges in all countries, before subsidies.

      The figures stated shows what students actually need to pay, as is the case in Singapore.

      Roy

      • R

        Dude, please adjust for “equivalent USD converted using PPPs” not nominal exchange rates which is what’s used in the report, makes your attempt look really lame otherwise.

      • K

        “The chart shows what students actually need to pay. Quite obviously, there would be tuition fee charges in all countries, before subsidies.”

        No, it clearly states that “scholarships/grants that the student may receive are not taken into account.” (footnote 1 of the chart).

      • Boon Keong

        Hey Q, the AIA chart is for Singaporeans studying overseas leh.. Dun anyhow throw smoke. I know this is standard practice in the army. But hor, please read, that chart is for cost of Singaporeans studying overseas vs local university, not what locals in their respective country need to pay for a university education.

        Dun siah suey k.

    • Rish

      Actually, the nationwide average for the public In-State tuition in the United States is about USD9,000. Just saying.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Tan,

      This is a calculation based on average of the student enrollment of each faculty in each university and their respective course fees. Note that some courses charge more than $25,000, for example in medicine, and SMU also charges higher fees than NUS and NTU.

      I am not able to locate publicly released average fees.

      And if you use the lowest university fees, Singapore is still second to Ireland – thus the second highest among the high-income countries.

      Roy

      • steve

        sorry Roy maybe I’m being a bit obtuse here (also my math is not v good!) but what do you mean by “average of the student enrollment?” Do you mean you multiplied the figure of enrollment in each faculty, added together the total fees paid by each faculty in each university, and then divided the entire sum by the total number of people attending university?

      • Tan

        Ok. I have the same questions as ‘steve’, but your estimate does lie within the range given here: http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/parliamentary-replies/2010/04/government-subsidies-to-univer.php

        But I also share similar concerns to the other commentators below (in addition, see my UK point above)– I’m afraid you are not looking at the appropriate figures.

        Neither do you take into account factors crucial to affordability. Here are some: student loan subsidy schemes, proportion of students studying in private/non-public institutions, proportion of unemployed graduates (very high in many of the OECD countries you compare), and tax rates (as high as 20% for Ireland and 16% for US taking into account federal income taxes alone), and gross post-graduation student debt.

        Your analysis could do with a lot more work.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Will deal with your statistics in an upcoming article – proportion of unemployed graduates in Singapore is actually one of the highest. Also, tax rates in Singapore isn’t as low as is perceived.

        Will rebut your opinions soon.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi john,

      Thanks for posting this!

      I had also written an article which dwelled into this in greater detail but I’m unable to locate the article, but you are right – it’s political.

      And if it’s political, should the education of our people in Singapore be more important, or should the legitimacy of the PAP be more important?

      Roy

  3. Jonathan

    Dear Roy,

    I refer to Q’s comment above, which I think raises a pertinent point which you have carefully sidestepped or missed out. The OECD report does not show University fees, it shows fees for TYPE A TERTIARY EDUCATION, which is defined as programmes that give students qualifications for high-skilled jobs, like doctors, architects, etc., which, quoting OECD, may or may not include University programmes. This clearly shows that your source for construction of the chart above is rather inappropriate, and that you should do cross-checking with more sources before basing your entire argument on that one chart alone.

    (Definition is given here: http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=5440)

    The link that Q provides from AIA clearly points to the fact that UK, US and Australian universities charge a tuition fee that is significantly higher than what Singapore does. This highlights a discrepancy in your chart, and if you cannot account for that discrepancy, it means either you or AIA is wrong. If neither are wrong, then there must have been a degree of misinterpretation with either definitions or figures, and hence my aforementioned point above.

    Second, I hope you have used tuition fees for Singapore in 2010. Charting any Singaporean universities’ tuition fees over a short time period clearly shows that inflation plays a huge part in tuition fees. Please share your exact methodology in how you calculate your figures.

    Third, the OECD chart does not show what students actually pay. Please refer to footnote 1 of the same OECD chart. I quote “Scholarships/grants that the student may receive are not taken into account”.

    Referring to your previous discussion with John, are you saying that it would be preferable if we attain a scenario whereby we give out degrees to more Singaporeans, and in the process create a mass protest of unemployed university students?

    • michelle

      Hi Johnathan, i think the AIA figures refer to what Singaporeans need to pay to study in these countries and not what locals need to pay. Can throw the AIA chart away lah duh.

    • To toro

      You see, in Singapore, education is not seen as a right for the people. The gah men sees it as a means to economic prosperity. In Japan, every students get a chance to move to secondary education by default and everyone does A levels in senior high school. That’s a level playing field. In Singapore, kids are labelled normal technical, normal academic. Express and gifted. Then they are deprived if A level. They are sorted out very early in life. Literally condemned.

  4. Opinion

    I think you’re wrong. That is not even the average of what local students pay. Low income local students easily qualify for bursary giving them 2k-5k each academic year, about 20-30% of us get it. On top of that, low income Malay undergrads like me pay zero dollars for tuition fees as we are sponsored by mendaki. Good try, but please try to do a proper survey next time.

    On top of that, I can guarantee you that without a doubt, US and UK students pay much more than us. Really? They don’t pay much? If you’ve read any form of news, you’d know that US student loans go up to the hundred thousands. Sure, there are problems with our education system, but fees are not one of them. And a 20% undergrad population is comparatively small when you compare it to other top tier foreign universities whereby the international population is close to 50% or higher.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Opinion,

      Thank you for your opinion.

      I had obtained the statistics from parliamentary replies. And unless you are trying to say the MPs have given false information, then it think it’s better you write to your PAP MPs to clarify.

      Roy

    • tan

      Bursary cannot really be counted as the norm because it is only for minority poor students. As such cannot be assumed as compulsory benefits.

    • To toro

      Really? Your mendaki practices discrimination. Non-Malay Moslems do not get bursaries. They get loans called study loans. Only Malay Moslems get free education in Singapore and guess what? Most Malays don’t make it to NUS and NTU. No wonder we can affords them European cost of a university education. Shame on you!!

  5. Stupid,dumb or just retarded?

    Is this a joke website? I’m admitted to 3 unis in the US, and the average fee is 260000 over 4 years. Seriously laugh my fucking ass off.

      • Adil Hakeem

        Could you shed some light on how you derived the actual amount of money US students need to pay? I would understand if you’re referring to community colleges, but four-year programmes at both public and private universities don’t come cheap. Admittedly, a good proportion of students in private colleges get financial aid, but very few schools are need-blind, so I imagine a fair number of them still have to pay a significant amount of the approximately US$50k tuition + room and board per year.

      • adilhakeemmr

        Just to add: the standard of US community colleges is very different from NUS/NTU/SMU/SUTD standards; so perhaps comparison to public schools like the UC schools is best. As far as I know very few states offer state-based financial aid (Virginia?); but I could be wrong. In any case, citations for that specific value (US$7k+) tuition per year in the US would be appreciated (and the mental sums worked out for us in print). Thanks!

      • adilhakeemmr

        Yes, I did refer to the OECD report – hence why I am asking you whether these figures were for community colleges (which are not comparable to NTU/NUS/SMU) – if you cannot resolve this through your own analysis I may have to question your conclusions 😦 I’m not trying to present an agenda; merely trying to strengthen your argument

    • sinkie

      Ya lor you foreigner in US what u expect? U expect US govt to grant you subsidy when u are foreigner just like Singapore?

  6. Stupid,dumb or just retarded?

    Which fucking idiot wrote this article anyway? I can tell that you probably didn’t ever had the chance to apply for uni overseas, but surely you are capable of googling for some facts before posting? Seriously, if you want to post crap, at least make the data look real.

    • sinkie

      Stupid,dumb or just retarded? – I think you are worse, do you know what is rationality in argument? Your logic of launching a disparage attack does not make you look any credible but looking foolish. Talking so much rubbish why don’t you write a refute article?

      • Stupid,dumb or just retarded?

        Cause anyone who thinks that this article needs a proper rebuttal is..well…probably not worth the effort convincing. Okay truth is I don’t even know where to start. About adopting his own poverty line so that 28% of singapireans are living in poverty? Or completely ignoring every bursary in existence?

      • doggiekiller

        Dog you so obviously hired by PAP right? Shut the fk up and go eat your dog food la knnccb all because of you dogs that make comments everywhere online so fking dog

    • Stupid,dumb or just retarded?

      No roy, (1)the statement says something more about me than about the education. (2)We sure did not receive the same education, only in hell will I use this kind of retardedly bullshit data analysis to support my point. Also, was I wrong?

      • michelle

        Hey retarded, u are comparing what u pay as a foreigner in US over what u pay in Singapore. Please dun disclose which uni u came from. Dun malu ur uni. thanks

  7. Opinion

    Honestly Roy, don’t stoop to PAP standard, do real research, data not available? An adequate sample size survey would’ve gotten you a real picture of what local undergrads here actually pay. And its not something you have to even research on for US universities, everyone knows the costs there are much much higher than anywhere else. No one will believe you when you say that they pay less for quality universities comparable to the likes of NUS. Don’t ruin your own credibility bro, I want to root for you, we all want to root for the opposition but with ‘research’ like this, we won’t get anywhere…

      • Opinion

        wasn’t talking about singaporeans studying in other countries. I was talking about US citizens in their own universities.

      • Roy Ngerng

        And:

        (1) We are comparing public universities since NUS, NTU and SMU are public universities.
        (2) Please also look at % of citizen student in the other countries who are on scholarships as compared to Singaporeans.

      • choofrfreoer

        Yes, dear Roy. While you’re comparing public universities, why don’t you compare the STANDARD of the universities also?

        Who wants to graduate from some rubbish US university but end up unable to get a job in Singapore because the degree isn’t not recognised? Or are you saying that people should get degrees regardless of the standard of the university?

        It’s well known that Singapore’s public universities are on par, or just slightly behind the leading private universities if you look at university rankings.

  8. Tong Hon Yee

    1) Chart 3: the statement “Singaporean students… receive only 6% of the scholarships” is misleadingly phrased, because this implies that 6% of all scholarships are given out to Singaporeans, which contradicts what you mentioned about a third of all scholarships going to Singaporeans. Phrasing it as “Singaporean students form 82% of the population but only 6% of them receive scholarships” would be more precise. Likewise for the second sentence in the same chart.

    2) Chart 4: I was trying to find where you got your data from. I clicked on the link, downloaded the PDF, and the closest statistic I could find was in Graphique B5.4 in Page 227 of the document.

    Assuming that was the data you used, I’d like to note that the graph doesn’t chart “% of Students on Scholarships”. The graph is clearly labelled “Public support for education to households and other private entities as a percentage of total public expenditure on tertiary education, by type of subsidy”. In other words, the data you used actually plots how much public tertiary expenditure is spent on scholarships, not the proportion of students getting scholarships.

    In fact, nowhere in the document did I manage to find data about the proportion of students on scholarships. This statistic is completely inappropriate for comparison.

    3) Some people have already pointed out that the data on other countries that you used do not refer to university education, but rather to “Type-A tertiary education”. However, I think Type-A tertiary education is still roughly analogous to Singapore’s university education. The full definition:

    “Largely theory-based programmes designed to provide sufficient qualifications for entry to advanced research programmes and
    professions with high skill requirements, such as medicine, dentistry or architecture. Duration at least 3 years full-time, though usually 4 or more years. These programmes are not exclusively offered at universities; and not all programmes nationally recognised as university programmes fulfil the criteria to be classified as tertiary-type A. Tertiary-type A programmes include second-degree programmes, such as the American master’s degree. ”

    To do a proper comparison between enrollment in Singapore relative to other countries’ Type-A enrollments, we need to include a few other populations:
    – People with second degrees, e.g. equivalent of American master’s degree
    – People in non-public universities (I think, correct me if I’m wrong)

    4) Chart 5 is drawn from an MOE report. The MOE frankly notes that “Countries such as Australia, Finland and the United Kingdom, as well as economies like Hong Kong, have a more balanced university landscape compared to Singapore” that is “better able to meet the needs of its citizens and its economic bases”. The report then recommends action to be taken to improve the situation.

    Yes, the graph does show a worrying statistic, but the fact that this statistic is produced by the MOE and that recommendations have been made shows that action is being taken to remedy the situation. This important intervention by the MOE ought to have been noted in this post – isn’t The Heart Truths supposed to offer a balanced perspective on issues?

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Tong Hon Yee,

      Will answer some of the questions you had asked, as others had:

      Wouldn’t be sensible to compare with other private institutions, since the tuition fees will be on different levels in all countries, including Singapore. I’m comparing university fees at our local PUBLIC universities – NUS, NTU and SMU. These are public universities.

      Thanks.

      Roy

      • Tong Hon Yee

        Hi Roy,

        Thanks for the reply. I agree with your point that it is difficult to compare private institutions’ fees, and accept that the Singaporean statistic you have seems to be a fairly accurate gauge of Singaporean university fees.

        However, I hope you’d take a short while to address the other issues I’ve raised. They are legitimate concerns about the accuracy of the statistics, and take very little time and effort to address.

        (1) is a grammatical issue, not a factual one. (30 SECONDS)

        In (2) I am asserting that the graph and statistics (of the other countries; not of Singapore) used are wrong. Please direct me to which page/graph/table in the document you collected the data from. If possible, a screenshot would be even better to show that you are, indeed, making a direct comparison of “% of Students on Scholarships”. (3 MINUTES maximum!)

        (3) has been addressed, thanks for the clarification once again! (0 MINUTES)

        (4) is just a note that perhaps you could also mention what the MOE has done; all I expected was some form of acknowledgement that you realised that MOE is looking into it. (30 SECONDS)

        All the issues I raised are very superficial and not time-consuming at all. However, if addressed adequately they enhance the accuracy of what is being discussed. For the sake of more productive, precise discussion of the topic (and perhaps also for the forum in Bras Basah on the 7th), please do consider and act on these issues. All it takes is 4 MINUTES =)

      • Tong Hon Yee

        “Singaporeans receive 6% of scholarships” and “6% of Singaporeans receive scholarships” mean totally different things. I think what you mean is the latter.

        To quote what you said, “one-third of the scholars are locals”. That means locals (i.e. Singaporeans) receive one-third of the scholarships.

        This isn’t a comment about the accuracy of the statistic, it’s a comment about grammar. I’m not nitpicking here: for instance, “Singaporeans have 60% of the jobs” and “60% of Singaporeans have jobs” mean completely different things.

        The grammatical error is severely misleading and I hope that appropriate amendments can be made so time and effort could be directed towards the more central issues.

      • Benjamin

        I agree with Tong Hon Yee. The source explicitly mentions that “one-third of the scholars are locals”. This should clearly be interpreted as, “Singaporeans receive one-third of the scholarships”. In other words, Singaporeans do not receive 6% of scholarships. They receive one-third of them.

        What about that 6% then? Simply put, one-third of the scholarships are awarded to Singaporean students, and these Singaporean students account for 6% of the total Singaporean student population.

        I have also looked through the source for chart 4, and like Hon Yee, I do not see any statistics quantifying the percentage of students on scholarships in other countries. Please do point out where the statistics can be found in the document- I would very much like to see the data too, if they do exist, that is.

        I may be jumping the gun here (having read only two of your posts), but it is clear statistics is not your strong point. As many had to point out to you in the previous entry, correlation between two variables does not conclusively imply a cause and effect relationship. Now I am by no means an expert on statistics, but perhaps you might want to consider not using statistics at all, especially when unsure.

        As my stats professor used to say, “It is more dangerous to misinterpret statistics than to have no statistics at all”

      • Roy Ngerng

        Hi Benjamin,

        You are incorrect. Please look at the links on the MOE’s website for the parliamentary replies and please do the “calculations”.

        (1) 14% of all undergraduates receive scholarships.
        (2) Two-thirds of those who receive scholarships are foreigners.
        (3) Only 18% are international students.
        (4) If you do the calculations – and this is done by looking at the total number of students and conducting the calculations – you will see that 52% of foreigners are on scholarships, only 6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships.

        Thank you.

        Roy

      • Tong Hon Yee

        Dear Roy,

        You are absolutely correct in saying “only 6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships”. Nobody’s disagreeing about that.

        However, “Singaporeans receive 6% of scholarships” means an entirely different thing.

        Come on. Just admit you made a misleading grammatical error. Do I need to draw Venn diagrams to demonstrate the difference between the two statements?

        Also, I would like to note that you have yet to deal with objections (2) and (4) above, instead homing in on this single objection, which you didn’t even engage with properly.

        I’m trying to help here. I’m not out to demolish your arguments or contest your main point. I’m just trying to make the presentation of the information less misleading, more credible, more honest so as to strengthen your argument!

        Or, perhaps, you don’t want your argument to be objectively stronger? Is objectivity your aim?

        Ultimately, to quote the venerable Roy Ngerng:
        “I would have to also leave it to readers to be discerning about this article, as well as comments made by commenters. If you can understand their intentions and motivations, as well as mine, it would give you a deeper insight as to why the comments are said, as well as why the article is written.”

      • Benjamin

        You do realise that “Singaporeans receive only 6% of scholarships” (which was what you wrote in chart 2) and “6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships” are entirely different things right?

        The former refers to the “number of scholarship allocated to Singaporeans students” divided by “total number of scholarship available”

        The latter refers to the “number of Singaporeans students on scholarship” divided by “total number of Singaporean students”

        You can see that mathematically, these are very different. So no, I am not incorrect. One-third of the scholarships are awarded to Singaporean students, and these Singaporean students account for 6% of the total Singaporean student population (or if you have difficulty interpreting this, simply means 6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships)

        Also, I noticed you have failed to address concerns regarding the data on the percentage of students on scholarships in other countries. Please do provide us with the data. If there is no such data available, then such a chart is inaccurate, misleading and should be removed.

      • Roy Ngerng

        6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships.

        Please refer to the OECD report for the proportion of students in other countries receiving scholarships.

      • Stupid,dumb or just retarded?

        This begs the question: why are we wasting time on a data analysis written by an incapable amateur who is fails to make that distinction? Also someone who can’t fucking admit that his critique is full of flawed data, loop holes and shit.

      • benjamin

        Oh gosh, I give up. You really need to work on your comprehension skills. I have made it extremely clear that I am not contending with your point that 6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships. Rather, all I am saying is that there is a huge difference between “Singaporeans receive only 6% of scholarships” and “6% of Singaporeans are on scholarships”.

        With regard to the data for scholarships, my bad. Nonetheless, someone has already pointed out that you are comparing scholarships and/or grants with just scholarships alone, but again, you simply urge readers to discern for themselves. Well, I am pretty sure that’s what everyone here has been doing, identifying the flaws in your analysis.

      • choofrfreoer

        Stupid, dumb or retarded, that’s because it always makes for good lols whenever amateurs attempt to analyse anything.

        Still, there is a need to “waste time” to stuff this analysis back in Roy’s face. Because however much the government thinks this is a rubbish analysis, the government must never be allowed to believe for any instant that the majority of Singaporeans feel the same way as this very vocal minority, Roy.

        The silent majority must cease to be silent for the good of the country.

      • choofrfreoer

        And Roy, in case you can’t tell the difference, I’ll spell it out for you here, changing “scholarships” to “jobs”.

        “Singaporeans have only 60% of all jobs” means that out of every 100 workers in the workforce, 60 are Singaporeans and the remaining 40 are foreigners.

        “60% of Singaporeans have jobs” means that out of 100 Singaporeans, only 60 have jobs and the remaining 40 are unemployed.

        Do you finally get the difference?

    • choofrfreoer

      “isn’t The Heart Truths supposed to offer a balanced perspective on issues?”

      No, The Heart Truths offers a slanted, biased, predisposed perspective of one man’s stand on issues. This is not a point to be debated, but a fact to be recognised.

  9. Dexter Chee

    This is a wholly inaccurate article. Having been educated in the US, Australia and the UK I know for a fact that Singapore is significantly cheaper. Which schools are you referring to? Are they of the calibre of Singaporean universities?

    • Roy Ngerng

      This article refers to how much each citizen pays for education in their own country. Of course, if a foreigner studies in their universities, it would be different in some countries.

      • choofrfreoer

        Oh yes, and you conveniently compare the world’s best universities in Singapore with the average public university in the US and elsewhere.

        But did you know that based on QS world rankings, the average US university standard is way below NUS and NTU? In fact, the only public university that is better than NUS is probably UC Berkerley. So why are you comparing the price of degrees without checking the actual value of the degree?

        Did you ever consider the fact that yes, you may pay cheaper fees in the US, but will this degree be recognised in Singapore?

        I’ve already said before in another post that my cousin’s Danish husband couldn’t even get employed in Singapore with his degree from the University of Copenhagen, which is quite a reputable university.

      • passerby

        Yes..PAP hire people to discredit online articles. May I know how did you even manage to reach this totally legit conclusion?

      • choofrfreoer

        Yeah. Surprisingly, all those who agree with Roy are “the average Singaporean”, part of the majority. And those who disagree are “people hired by PAP”.

        Ironic, when you consider the fact that these people who make such statements are usually the ones who say that the PAP needs to consider the views of other people.

    • choofrfreoer

      Keep up your delusion of believing that you represent the majority and that those who disagree are the minority consisting of “fools” and “PAP supporters”. Go on.

  10. Roy Ngerng

    Dear readers and commenters,

    I won’t be able to reply to all comments. However, please be discerning in understanding, interpreting and analysing this article, by doing your own research if you may.

    Do understand that there is some critique, which is genuine, and some which are aimed at discrediting this article – the reason for which are many, such as the protection of the system for whatever reasons.

    As such, I would have to also leave it to readers to be discerning about this article, as well as comments made by commenters. If you can understand their intentions and motivations, as well as mine, it would give you a deeper insight as to why the comments are said, as well as why the article is written.

    I would ask this question – do you think we need a more equal education system, and do you think we need more equal opportunities.

    Thank you.

    Roy

    • anonymous

      Roy, I completely agree with where you are coming from. We definitely do need a more equal educational system and more equal opportunities. However, this need should not be derived from flawed statistics or self-defined standards and accusations based on them.

      • choofrfreoer

        “Equal”, what is that?

        “Egalitarianism” or “meritocracy”? Both have “equal” in their definitions, but they are completely opposite entities!

        If Roy can’t even understand the difference between these “equality of opportunity” and “equality of outcome”, he doesn’t even know what he wants.

  11. Opinion

    The U.S National Centre for Education Statistics have published the 2012 Average Undergraduate Tuition Fees. Compare ‘public 4-year’ to be fair, since we don’t have 2-year institutions here in Singapore. And these are based on in-state students only, so no international students and such, students not from that state pay more as well. Got them from here:

    http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d12/tables/dt12_381.asp

    You can see that the median pays 7,701 US dollars. Much more than whatever amount that you quoted. At the median, private institutions in the US cost a whopping 23,479 annually. You might not want to include private institutions, but you must accept that most high-ranking universities in the US are private. Even if you don’t compare private institutions, the public universities already cost much more than what you have quoted here and more than what local students pay in local universities here.

    I don’t mean any disrespect Roy, I understand what you are fighting for. We all want more equal opportunities. I myself, grew up in a low-income household with no money for tuition all through secondary school and JC. I too felt that the education system was unfair, that the rich could afford all this help that I could not. No one is against you. But please, for all our sakes, use the right statistics. One opposition blogger uses misleading figures and it brings down everyone else’s credibility.

    • Adil Hakeem

      thanks for putting it more eloquently than I could have; we’re all interested in having really good alternative sources of information on the Web regarding Singaporean issues, which is why it’s very very important that we get the facts right to maintain credibility. All the best!

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Opinion,

      I had used the statistics from the OECD, which is a credible international organisation aimed at providing comparable statistics – the fees have been collated for comparative analysis.

      There might be other sources of statistics, for which, I have to take a closer look, to see where the difference lies.

      As it is, readers would still be able to see for themselves that Singaporeans would still pay one of the highest university fees in the world, and compared with the richest countries of which Singapore is at, we also pay the highest.

      Roy

      • Adil Hakeem

        no one is suggesting the OECD statistics are wrong; we are merely questioning how you use them. I honestly do believe Singapore does have one of the most expensive education systems in the world – whether they are disproportionate to the quality of education one receives is the question, since that, I suppose, is the reason why you compare with UK and US (no point just saying ‘it’s more expensive’ if the universities we’re talking about aren’t as good, surely).

        Tuition fees in the UK are starting to rise up to nine thousand pounds (sorry, just took this off wiki), and not all of these universities can match the level of SMU / NTU / NUS. the same goes for community colleges in the US, or even most public schools – and good public schools like UC Berkeley charge more than us, even with the scholarships.

        The question is why we charge more – perhaps you need to pay for better lab facilities (I don’t know, really, but for medicine for instance that’s clearly the case), or attracting better professors, etc. If you can show me that no significant difference in quality exists or that the cost isn’t justified, then I’m prepared to accept your argument.

        I do think that more can be done to make the cost of education cheaper for poorer people in society on the basis of fairness. But is it unjustified for the majority of people in society? That’s a normative argument which you have yet to prove. Can the government afford to subsidize tuition further? That’s another point which you have not proven. I am looking forward to hearing your response, though – it’s great that you took some effort to put these statistics together and it’ll be even better if you improved on the research.

        I do wish there wasn’t such an ‘us versus them’ mentality when it comes to commenting on your research, both when criticizing it and when supporting it.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Hi,

        As I’ve reiterated many times, this is a critique about the education system in Singapore.

        It is not meant, and I repeat clearly, that it is not meant as a critique on people, or on individual students, who have to be respected for their efforts in succeeding in what they do.

        As I have reiterated again, and in will do so again, if the system is unequal, it prevents certain Singaporeans from being able to operate on a level-playing field.

        What I’ve advocating for is fairness and equality. It is to put everyone as us with us – no one is a them.

        I will discuss the other issues that you have brought up in subsequent articles. Let’s look at our system as a whole as question if the prices we pay are dignified.

        Thank you.

        Roy

      • Tong Hon Yee

        Hi Roy,

        As we’ve reiterated many times, this is a critique of how you collect and present your data.

        It is not meant, and I repeat clearly, that it is not meant as a critique on you, or on your main point that, as Adil Hakeem puts it, “more can be done to make the cost of education cheaper for poorer people”.

        As I have reiterated again, and in will do so again, if the data is gathered and presented inaccurately, it prevents us from being able to have an honest, objective discussion.

        What I’ve advocating for is accuracy and intellectual honesty. It is to put everyone as us with us – no one is a them.

        I will discuss the issues you have brought up if you discuss those we brought up in previous comments. Let’s look at our information as a whole and question if the gathering and presentation of data are dignified.

        Thank You.
        Hon Yee

      • Roy Ngerng

        Hi,

        The data I’ve looked at and analyzed is publicly available data. The data is as accurate as the international reports and parliamentary replies given by the ministers are sound.

        I stand by my the accuracy of my articles and I stand by the advocacy that the education system needs to be more equal.

        Perhaps most readers will notice that this is one of the most comprehensive collation of the data in Singapore, as well as with the statistics presented in the previous articles on education, and the upcoming ones on education.

        Again, I urge readers to make their own informed opinions, by doing their own research. There are people out to discredit and shred the articles to pieces, and I would need readers to be the judge for themselves.

        Do you want an education system where your children will have a equal shot at a university degree? Should we have an education system that respects the different abilities of our children?

        I will leave readers to think about it. There will be a few more upcoming articles to deal with subsequent issues on education. I’m just one person on this blog and I cannot possibly answer the avalanche of questions, some of which are quite snide and snarky. So I really have to depend on readers to be informed, to do their own research, and to not trust this article or comments just on face value, but to perform their own investigation.

        Thank you.

        Roy

      • choofrfreoer

        “Do you want an education system where your children will have a equal shot at a university degree?”

        I want my children to have an equal shot based on their abilities. Not an equal percentage of people from each JC and poly entering university, especially as we all know that the top people tend to congregate in top JCs.

        If you refuse to believe the above statement and think that the average JC and poly students are of equal abilities, you are deluding yourself.

  12. Stupid,dumb or just retarded?

    The way this guy evades questions that can potentially destroy his entire “analysis” is pretty admirable.

      • choofrfreoer

        “I won’t be able to reply to all the comments”

        You left this part out: “Hence, I’ll only choose to reply to those comments which support me, and those which have minor holes in their arguments where I can attack. The rest which make complete sense, I can’t rebutt because my ego cannot take such a big hit. I shall proceed to label these comments as ‘trolls aiming to discredit me'”.

  13. Tong Hon Yee

    Dear Readers,

    To summarise my comments thus far:

    1) I have tried to clarify where he obtained his statistics on “% of Students on Scholarships” for other countries. Roy pointed to a several hundred page long OECD document, which DID NOT contain a direct reference to “% of Students on Scholarships”. Upon asking for further clarification, Roy just points to the document we have already looked through, which clarifies nothing.

    2) I pointed out that one of the charts had a misleading grammatical error. Roy insists his data is right. I agree that his data is right, but the grammar is misleading. Roy continues saying his data is right, which doesn’t address the issue about improper phrasing.

    3) When I was in the wrong, and Roy was in the right, as was the case regarding Type-A tertiary education, I have conceded my faults and thanked him for the clarification.

    4) I have continually emphasised that I agree with Roy that reform to the education system is needed. Roy repeatedly mentions in his comments that he believes the education system should be more equal, demonstrating that on this key point (his main point), we are in agreement. I am not attacking his main point.

    In other words, I have been as gracious and constructive a commenter as possible (until my recent sarcastic comment) but have not received satisfactory replies. There are two possibilities:
    a) Roy doesn’t understand what I was trying to say. (Even though he evidently understood my sarcasm in the recent comment.)
    b) Roy is intentionally avoiding my questions.

    Therefore, I beseech you, the reader, to discern what my intentions are, and to discern what Roy’s intentions are.

    • anonymous

      I’m afraid I have to concur. Upon seeing the article at first, I was pleasantly surprised and genuinely happy to see someone who spent much effort to advocate for a good cause. However, as I read on the article, I was appalled by the atrocity of this article. The author (intentionally or unintentionally) adopted a completely non-scientific approach to substantiate his points in this article that is already dripping with his anti-pap bias from beginning to end. Once and again, he misinterpreted data, made up data(keeps referring to a certain information in a report which cant be found upon closer examination), invented his own standard(apparently 28% of singaporeans are below his very own poverty line) and refused to clarify questions posted by fellow commentors who made genuine efforts to help improve this article. After seeing all these, I am utterly disgusted and I realized that he cares nothing of supporting arguments with solid facts and this article is only a platform for him to further his own agenda. If you see this comment, trust me that your time can be better spent elsewhere, unless, of course, your aim is to see how wrong an “objective analytical critique” can turn out.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hon Yee,

      (1) OECD report page 236 for proportion of scholarships.

      (2) Yes, the data is right. Thank you for admitting to your mistake. Will edit the grammar error when I get to a computer. Thanks for pointing out.

      (3) Thank you for admitting to your mistake again. Much appreciated. Perhaps before pointing out what you perceive as “flaws” in the article, then have to retract and apologise again, I would appreciate if you would read the sources properly before your accusations.

      (4) Yes, the education system needs to be more equal. We are on the same page, as I understand many Singaporeans are. I’m glad that we are speaking together in unison in support of a more equal education system in Singapore.

      It’s time the PAP government respond.

      Yes, you’ve been gracious, I am sure, as you would describe yourself. I might not recognise it similarly, but I’m glad you feel vindicated – not sure in what form or why since you’ve apologized twice but apologies accepted.

      Meanwhile, readers who read the article, who have checked the sources, who have read their own research and who have had first hand experience speaking to teachers for example, would be quite clear of what this article aims to say, and they can form their opinions as to who is trying to paint a holistic picture and who is trolling.

      Your comments and apologies are appreciated. Very humble of you. Thank you.

      Roy

      • Tong Hon Yee

        Hi Roy,

        Thanks for your recognition of my comments.

        I have no further comment, except that the table in Page 236 of the OECD report is labelled “public support for households and other private entities as a percentage of total public expenditure on education and gdp, for tertiary education (2010)”.

        In other words, the statistics are about % of EXPENDITURE directed towards scholarships, NOT % of STUDENTS receiving scholarships. The data used in chart 4 is not a correct comparison.

        Therefore, for the sake of intellectual honesty, I suggest either removing the chart or finding corresponding data on Singapore’s expenditure on scholarships. Removing the chart is easier, and it won’t hurt your argument – it will, in fact, make it stronger because your piece will be more accurate and credible.

        Let’s move towards a more equal education system, by looking at the facts objectively and correcting ourselves if data has been used wrongly. After all, the hallmarks of a good, equal education system include critical thinking and intellectual honesty, so let’s practice these values too.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Tong Hon Yee,

        Thank you for pointing this out. I had looked at the wrong table to develop he comparison chart.

        Please look at page 234. Singapore gives the lowest proportion of scholarships to Singaporeans.

        Denmark – 81%
        Netherlands – 68-%
        Ireland – 37%
        France – 31%
        Belgium – 19%
        Singapore – 6%

        Thanks for pointing this out. I will amend the chart when I’m able to get to a computer.

        Thanks to your clarification, instead of Singaporeans having “one of the lowest” proportion of students who are on scholarships, it is now even more shocking that Singaporeans actually have the lowest proportion of students on scholarships.

        Thank you for refining this article and making the information in this article even more shocking than it already is.

        I will make the edits when I get to a computer.

        Thank you.

        Roy

      • Tong Hon Yee

        Hi Roy,

        Thanks for the reply! Noted about the amended data. Assuming you’re using Column 5 in the table, France should be 24%.

        From the countries compared, indeed it seems that Singapore is giving the lowest proportion of scholarships. However, the data looks at students who benefit from scholarships and/or grants. The title of the table clearly states that it records “Distribution of scholarships/grants in support of tuition fees”.

        Since that is the case, we should compare apples with apples, and look at the proportion of Singaporean students who receive scholarships and/or grants, not just scholarships alone.

        So what’s the percentage of Singaporeans who receive grants? (Shockingly) virtually 100%, I think, through the Tuition Grant Scheme. More information about the MOE Tuition Grant scheme here: https://tgonline.moe.gov.sg/tgis/normal/studentViewTuitionGrantSubsidyInfo.action

        Even if these figures refer only to scholarships (which they do not), not all countries give out more scholarships than Singapore does. Some examples:
        – Australia: 97% do not receive scholarships or grants in support of tuition fees, and only 2% of students benefit from scholarship grants.
        – UK: 100% do not receive scholarships/grants in support of tuition fees.
        – Canada, Luxembourg, etc: No information whatsoever.

        I was hoping that the data was as shocking as you have said; unfortunately, the data on Page 234 does not provide enough evidence to prove convincingly that Singapore has a smaller proportion of scholarship recipients than other countries. In fact, what the data may be showing is that Singapore is more generous in its grants than other countries since virtually all students are covered by the Tuition Grant Scheme.

      • choofrfreoer

        Readers have discerned and deemed that while most of your facts are accurate, your analysis of them is not.

  14. Mat

    Strangely, no one is rebutting about foreigners getting more scholarship in Singapore than Singaporeans. Accepted fact? Anyway, the 3 unis in Singapore are public universities so all the more reason for cheaper cost or more scholarship to Singaporeans. It’s cute seeing how most people says overseas are more expensive, when its actually cheaper for locals there. Been there done that, tried applying and all and I don’t need this article to come to that conclusion. This article just lend some weight to come to the same conclusion. That we Singaporeans are robbed off our education. And yet, we remain numb to the changes.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Mat,

      Thanks for pointing this out – I am quite curious about this too.

      I’m surprised that instead of being appalled at the low rate of scholarships among the Singaporean students, some commenters have chosen to rebut the statistic.

      I’m not sure if it’s worse that 6% is too low a figure or some commenters seem to not take issue that 6% is too low.

      Perhaps readers would be more discerning of the comments made by these commenters, as I assume you have.

      Thank you.

      Roy

      • choofrfreoer

        Again, you try to link “foreigners getting more scholarship in Singapore than Singaporeans” with the “low rate of scholarships among the Singaporean students”.

        Mat is saying that based on your statistics, only a third of Singaporeans are on scholarships, which implies that the remaining two-thirds are given to foreigners. This is a valid point worth debating.

        You, on the other hand, are saying that only 6% of Singaporean students are on scholarships, which implies that the remaning 94% of Singaporean students are self-funded. This, while accurate, is not even related to what Mat is talking about.

        Mat is comparing Singaporean scholarship holders vs foreigner scholarship holders. You are comparing Singaporeans on scholarship vs Singaporeans without scholarship. Get it?

        “some commenters have chosen to rebut the statistic”

        My gosh, you still can’t see the difference between these two points, yet you want to attempt to analyse statistics? No one is saying your statistics are wrong, but rather, your interpretation of the statistics are wrong!

  15. Figures

    Hi Roy,

    I couldn’t help but notice that the figures for your Chart 1 were not consistent. For your calculation of S$8,760 > US$7016, you used a rate of S$1.249 > US$1, which seems to reflect the Market Exchange Rate. However, for the conversion rates of the other countries, you seem to have used the figures provided in the OECD Report’s Table B5.1. As stated in the report, those figures were based on a PPP-Adjusted Exchange Rate (Please refer to Pg 231 of the OECD’s report, under “Methodology”).

    The differences between these two rates can be quite significant. For example, the Market Exchange Rate for the Australian Dollar is A$1.08801 = US$1. However, the PPP-Adjusted Exchange Rate used by the OECD is A$1.498183 = US$1.

    Please refer to the following website for the OECD’s PPP-Adjusted Exchange Rates: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?datasetcode=SNA_TABLE4

    As this discrepancy would lead to major differences in calculation, I have taken the liberty to convert all of the figures provided in your chart back to the Market Exchange Rates.

    Please refer to the link for the table: http://oi43.tinypic.com/2dklnia.jpg

    For those who prefer a graphical representation: http://oi42.tinypic.com/2a7bsp3.jpg

    As can be seen, the situation is not as bleak as was presented above in your article.

    I have used the PPP-Adjusted Exchange Rates for 2010, as it is stated in the OECD report (also under OECD Report Pg 231 “Methodology”) that the financial figures used were for that of 2010. While this may result in another potential discrepancy as I used present day rates for the Market Exchange Rate, I do not think that it would have much impact as it is unlikely that a country would adjust University Fees in response to a change in the exchange rate of it’s currency.

    I have also erred on the side of caution by using your provided figures for the fees in Singaporean universities, though this might also be a point of contention given that you are comparing fees for Singaporean universities in 2013 with that of other countries in 2010.

    Cheers.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Figures,

      Thanks for pointing this out.

      I am not sure what you mean by, “the situation is not as bleak as was presented above in your article.”

      Even with your conversion rates, Singapore still has the second most expensive university fees among the high-income countries, on par with Ireland, which is the most expensive in your calculations, and way above the third most expensive country in your calculations.

      Of course, you might have also forgotten to include in your table and chart that for the citizens in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, they do not need to pay any tuition fees at all.

      And as I’ve mentioned, these countries, in particular, Norway, has GDP per capita which is more on par with Singapore. Yet, the citizens in these countries get their education for free.

      With regards to the idea that the Nordic countries pay higher taxes than Singapore and can thus give free education, I will dispel this notion in an upcoming article. And for Singaporeans who have done their calculations already anyway, they would know that the overall tax that Singaporeans pay is on par with the Nordic countries, or even higher than them.

      Thank you.

      Roy

      • Michael

        Dear Roy,

        I can’t help but notice that you are taking very discrete data to show a picture that is way bigger in proportion than the statistics you’ve offered. You have so far shown, from what I can see in the comments and making my own judgment, the same degree of bias in statistics reporting that the people so vehemently accuse the government of doing, and then offering the same lack of solid defence for your statistics when critiqued. Ironic.

        On top of that, I can offer no specific retorts on your data for the time being, but have you tried to reason why Singapore, according to your statement, has higher taxes than Nordic countries?

        If you’re going to make a statement, then make it with transparency and honesty. I am sorry to say that until the comments by the commenters above have been addressed properly, I find the article holding little credibility.

        Have a nice day.

  16. Gerard

    You present yourself as a somewhat arrogant and stubborn person. When being questioned about some possible errors in your analysis, you seemingly chose to ignore many difficult questions or worse still, you attempted to side track such issues by introducing another unrelated question.

    Roy i think you should address your critics with some humility.

    • choofrfreoer

      Gerard, I tend to take a more sympathetic view. I believe Roy isn’t doing it out of malice or sheer arrogance, but ignorance.

      That is, he sidetracks and ignores issues because he isn’t able to reply them head-on, not because he’s trying to mislead people on purpose.

      But stubborn, definitely yes. A little arrogant in thinking that he knows more than he actually does, yes too. Like I said, it always tickles me when a person who has never studied Economics tries to interprate these money matters. We end up with very hilarious results.

  17. Kirin

    After a few more years, University school fee will be impossible to pay anymore.
    If you go study the past few years chart for school fee, its steadily increasing.

      • I am a retard

        Hi Roy,

        Reading the above comments, I have to admit you appear to be well-educated at first. But really, you are just a joke. I hope you didn’t have much education, otherwise it would be as good as burning your parents’ money. I am serious, bro. 😦

      • choofrfreoer

        The worst are those educated enough to be able to use the internet for mass communication, but not educated enough to properly critique and analyse policies.

        That, coupled with an innate self-assurance that “I am able to rise in society”, frequently leads to the thought that “I’m not at fault, the government is stopping my personal development” and hence we see these kind of essays. I mean, as us readers can tell, his logic kind of proves why he isn’t able to rise in society, right?

        We end up with people spreading rumours and social dissent (I don’t really care about political dissent).

  18. Opinion

    Did NUS not force you to take at least three or four stats modules? I’m not the only person who sees it bro, almost everyone here does. Don’t be so narrow-minded and stubborn. Accept that your data, or rather your interpretation of said data is to some extent, flawed. What’s the point if the government changes and we replace it with people like you, who then continues the trend of misleading the masses.

    I actually agree with your motives, championing for equal opportunities, free education etc. But the way you’re doing it is wrong. I have nothing against what you are trying to achieve though.

    • choofrfreoer

      No no no, Opinion, you are very wrong in saying that Roy is “championing for equal opportunities”.

      Roy has made it very clear that his stand is “egalitarianism” and his “equal opportunities” actually refers to what others would define as “equal outcomes”. Like everyone is given “equal opportunities” before being streamed into “elite” and “neighbourhood” schools as well as “JCs” and “polys” via primarily grades (some do it by choice, but it’s very few).

      But despite this fact, Roy ignores this and strives for “equal outcomes”. This is demonstrated countless times in his mentioning of the phrase “levelling the playing field”.

      In reality, the “playing field” is already completely levelled, but it is the standard, the intrinsic abilities of the players on the field which determine the performance of the players and hence the result of the game.

      We aren’t like Malaysia, which specifically prohibits Chinese from entering universities because of the quota for Malays. There is absolutely no quota and no discrimination in school allocation exercises. There is already “equal opportunities”.

      But Roy isn’t happy. He doesn’t accept the fact that those who make the wilful choice to go poly instead of JC are doing so because they either 1) think that poly is easier than JC (and yes, many choose poly because they fear GP) or 2) simply can’t make it. Either way, it doesn’t make any good case for them to go to university ahead of the JC students.

      Roy doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to accept this. He subscribes to the stand that “everyone can do well if given the chance to”. He doesn’t believe that intelligence is correlated with grades and by extension, success. And as such, there is no point in trying to reason with him.

  19. Kim

    Watertight arguments is the way to go to present anything in any context. If we want to effect a change, the argument has to be watertight; by allowing your data to be called into question, you allow your premise and argument to be called into question as well. This not only applies to countering a government policy, but also in the corporate world as well. I am sure many can relate when your boss has tore into your presentation because your data is less than sound; it is the same case in the public arena.

    We appreciate your trying to be objective and factual in your analysis, but bad data analysis will discredit you when brought to the larger arena. I believe I speak for most when we really want you to improve the soundness of your arguments because it is only when we are rational and analytical that the government will be forced to take notice. It’s like a GP essay; your argument may be great, but if the supporting foundations are weak, the argument collapses.

  20. michelle

    Hi Roy.. i think you are trying to present too much at one go. Maybe break down your article into smaller sections and go indepth. Every statistics should be referenced carefully so that ur readers who want to cross check ur data and form their own conclusion can do so with ease. Anyway, thansk for this insightful article. dun worry about trolls. the more they challenge u the more that u r a threat to them.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you very much for this.

      As you can tell, and I think most people who can tell, but who have chosen not to engage in the comments, there are many commenters who aim to discredit the article by also discrediting me.

      I am not too concerned about what people think about me. I’m more concerned that people know what’s going on, and then perhaps research for themselves and make even deeper conclusions and findings for themselves.

      Some commenters have launched a coordinated what-seems-to-be a sustained attack to discredit. But I believe and I think I can safely say that for the majority of Singaporeans, they would have formed some conclusion in their minds, which thankfully wouldn’t be affected by the negative remarks.

      Truth is, Singaporeans know what’s going on. We don’t statistics to tell us. The statistics that I’ve managed to find and put together serve to affirm what we’ve already known and suspected, and some commenters perhaps hope to suppress such information by discrediting this article.

      I guess they can continue. I’m alright with it, and the larger proportion of readers and Singaporeans who aren’t commenting know for themselves what the truth really is.

      I’ve already made up my mind what will be good for Singaporeans. Do I agree in some students being discriminated? Do I believe that just because early on in our lives, if we don’t have enough resources that we don’t do well, that we are not smart enough? Do I believe that we should pay Singaporeans low wages simply because they don’t have a degree? I don’t. I don’t at all. If we think like this, what makes us truly better except that we haven’t really learn?

      Thank you for the opportunity for me to clarify. It’s been challenging having to respond to detractors who have tried to also make personal remarks, but I won’t be daunted. I will continue to find out more and put what I know out here, so that more Singaporeans can learn what’s really going on, and then do what’s right to protect themselves.

      Thank you for this.

      Roy

      • choofrfreoer

        “Some commenters have launched a coordinated what-seems-to-be a sustained attack to discredit. But I believe and I think I can safely say that for the majority of Singaporeans.”

        Go on dreaming. Most of the people who disagree with you here who are able to write fluent, logical comments with sophisticated vocabulary. They are not trolls. But you blatantly refuse to see this. You are still living in your delusion that you are speaking for “the majority of Singaporeans”.

        “I’ve already made up my mind what will be good for Singaporeans.”

        I’ve made my mind up too. And I know that while with my relatively intricate knowledge of politics, philosophy and worldly affairs, I am still far from being an expert. And as such, I refuse to write my own articles to disseminate in the mass media in the very likely case that I make wrong analyses and mislead people unintentionally. Did you ever consider this for yourself?

    • choofrfreoer

      I sincerely wonder if you call people “trolls” simply because 1) they are disagreeing with you, or because 2) you cannot understand their points of view/are unable to rebutt them.

      I really hope it’s the second reason due to ignorance. Because if it’s the first reason, that is bad faith.

      • Roy Ngerng

        choofrfreoer – 16 comments from you which came sustained, all aimed at discrediting.

        Ironic and interesting, that the slightest self-awareness in affirming a statement can be so easily reached by one seemed so intent at attacking that one falls into the very exposure of the mistake one has been claimed to commit and who try so hard to deny.

      • Boon Keong

        LOL, a troll, but not made self-awared…
        The guy who threw in that AIA chart is trying to create confusion here. That chart is obviously meant to show the cost of Singaporeans studying in different countries, not what locals (a British in a British university, an American in a American university) need to pay. It can be quite stupidyfing trying to answer these people who can’t read simple charts. Sigh…

      • choofrfreoer

        Why don’t we hold a vote? Let’s see how many of your readers agree with you and how many disagree. Or are you too scared to find out the truth?

      • choofrfreoer

        Oh and as usual, you fail to say whether you are talking about “equality of opportunity” or “equality of outcome”.

        Like another reader pointed out, everytime you realise you can’t rebutt, you will try to divert the attention, so now it’s “16 comments from you” and “all claimed at discrediting”. The issue here is your article, but you like to sidestep and avoid the main issues. You are insinuating that I have bad faith.

        Unlike you, I attack your logic. I don’t say that “you are trying to mislead the people intentionally”. I don’t question your intentions. In fact, I said that your dysfunctional logic is likely to be due to ignorance. In calling others “trolls”, perhaps you need to take a closer look at yourself.

        You’ve given up replying to me under the excuse that I’m a “troll”, but the true fact is that you just can’t think of what to reply. And you know deep down that if we go into detailed analysis, you are likely to stand corrected and your ego can’t accept this.

        Whenever people agree with you (or if you’re replying to yourself), you will go “very good”, “this is insightful”, or “thanks for sharing”.

        You can never accept you’re wrong, can you?

  21. Perry

    Hi Roy,

    “But I believe and I think I can safely say that for the majority of Singaporeans, they would have formed some conclusion in their minds, which thankfully wouldn’t be affected by the negative remarks.”

    These readers are those who have taken your article at face value and do not delve deeper into the flaws and loopholes of your analysis. Congrats, you have successfully misled them and it is indeed ‘thankful’.

    “…some commenters perhaps hope to suppress such information by discrediting this article.”
    No one is discrediting you. As Hon Yee has pointed out, they serves to strengthen your argument and credibility of your article. I like how every time you are realized you are indeed wrong, you go “Readers please be discerning”, “Readers please read and form your own conclusions”. You are like an internet coward, hiding behind the veil of “acting-blur”. And I feel its only right to let you know.

    Self delusional, seriously. Just really obnoxious. I applaud to people like Hon Yee who took precious time and efforts to look at your misleading data and statistics. It certainly helped many ‘discerning’ readers form better conclusions and make fair judgment.

    -Perry

    • Boon Keong

      In the end, Hon Yee wasted Roy’s time. If you go through their argument, Hon got most of his facts wrong and have to apologize a few times. Roy did his homework, unlike these people who just skim through, but never bother to do their own research before raising queries and wasting more of Roy’s time. If I were Roy, I wouldn’t do all the defending… People are more discerning than that.

      • Tong Hon Yee

        “Got most of his facts wrong”
        Please quote and number the mistakes I made.
        Then, quote and number the mistakes Roy made.
        I can do so, but I’m not here to discredit Roy. I’m here so we can have an honest discussion to keep Singaporeans thinking. I want readers to discern for themselves the truth.

        “Roy did his homework, unlike these people who just skim through”
        “never bother to do their own research before raising queries”
        For the record, I went through that OECD report. I clicked on all the links Roy added to the article. I took the initiative to read through the definitions of the statistics so I know what they really mean. I read up on the origins and the contexts of the statistics used. I quoted page and number where the statistics were obtained from. In addition, I added a few links of my own to supplement the information Roy has provided.

        Perhaps reading about all the statistics in detail is not your definition of homework. In that case, please tell me what it means to have “done my homework”.

        “have to apologize a few times”
        Let’s say you have two friends. One always insists he’s right regardless of the situation. The other seeks to be logical and reasonable, but when pointed out he is wrong is willing to admit it and change his views. Which friend will you trust more?

        I’m not out to destroy everything Roy has done, I’m here to clarify matters so we have more accurate information to work with. I’m doing this out of an honest pursuit of the truth. However, it seems that factual accuracy is not what you want.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Hi Boon Keong,

        I’m sorry for the personal remarks made. You don’t have to reply to the other comments if you don’t want to, so that the mudslinging won’t continue.

        Thank you for your initial comment. It’s already very much appreciated.

        Roy

      • choofrfreoer

        Everyone agrees Roy did his homework in preparing statistics. But only a few agree that Roy’s analysis is correct.

        Let me quote Pastafarianism again: Following a trend over the past century, global temperatures increase as the number of pirates decrease. This is a valid statistic.

        But are we right in analysing this to say that the decrease in the number of pirates causes global warming?

        This is exactly the issue which people have with Roy’s analysis. His facts are mostly correct and good job, but his attempt to draw links and explain the causes for the statistics are seriously flawed.

  22. Jiamin

    Hi Boon Keong, just wanted to provide with you with some constructive criticism:

    “… If you WENT through their argument… and HAD to apologise… unlike THOSE who just SKIMMED through… but DID NOT bother to do…” (punctuation issues aside)

    Proves my point.

  23. Roy Ngerng

    Dear readers and commenters,

    Just some notes on the comments:

    (1) I haven’t implemented a moderation policy because I believe in a free exchange of ideas, though this also means that some commenters would be able to make comments which might be less than favorable.

    (2) After Boon Keong made a comment in support of the article, this invited a slew of negative and personal comments attacking his commentary. This is not appreciated. Not only have they strategised to discredit this article and me, they have also organized themselves to discredit other commenters and their comments. This is underhanded.

    (3) Quite clearly, you can see that this is a coordinated attack among some people who have organized themselves – who they are supported by and why they want to discredit this article can be easily assumed. The fact that they would adopt underhanded and personal attacks also show quite clearly the principles which they would stand by.

    (4) I appreciate that some commenters have stepped in to help to moderate the discussion. It’s very much appreciated. I thank you for putting up with the personal attacks. Even if you post only one comment, it’s already much appreciated. We don’t have to engage them and drag our integrity down, as I’ve noted that you have chosen not to. They will continue the mudslinging but I will continue to expose the system for what it is.

    The question to ask is – why do they want to protect the system that is clearly unequal? What do they stand to benefit from it? I will leave this for other readers to think about and discern, and to also make up your own minds.

    Thank you once again.

    Roy

    • opinion

      I’m sorry. I just don’t see it. I’m against your statistics. But I’m not coordinated with anybody. Is there anybody here who is coordinating with me without my own knowledge? This is the voice of the average Singaporean. If you think this is some sort of ‘coordinated attack’ then you’re just as delusional as the PAP.

      • choofrfreoer

        “I told you that you were in cahoots with him, but you just didn’t want to believe me!”

    • michelle

      I agree with u. I just checked the timing of the last three commentators Jiamin, passerby and Tong. All one after another in straight volley. Could these be his sock puppets?

      • passerby

        With some estimation and little skill, you should too. Interesting that you think this is interesting

      • Jiamin

        Lol I’m not coordinated with anybody either.

        But maybe, just maybe, it’s because of the absurdity of your replies/stubbornness/your lack of humility with your commenters (coupled with Boon Keong’s blind attack on Hon Yee’s arguments) that drove the flooding of comments within a short span of time.

        Roy, is it that difficult to admit that your arguments were poorly constructed and substantiated? No one here is discrediting you for having opinions contrary to the PAP’s and expressing them in the form of this post. In fact, it’s great that we have alternative voices in the internet. But skewing statistics in order to substantiate your stand is not an objective view. In fact, you should be starting with the facts and statistics, analysing them, before arriving to your conclusion. Just my two cents worth, although you’ll probably ignore them or attack a straw man again.

      • choofrfreoer

        Roy just doesn’t believe that there are so many people against his article.

        Because in his mind, he is a very important person and the PAP hires people to discredit his essays online. But the PAP can only hire a certain number of people to rebutt his online essays and this is way too many people disagreeing with him.

        Basically, anyone who disagrees with him is a “coordinated attacker”.

  24. opinion

    Actually Roy, I doubt anyone here are trolls. Trolls don’t use the level of vocabulary and bother to analyse anything. Trolls are easily identified with their provoking but short statements like ‘ you stupid dog’ or something like that. None of these people are. And I can tell you that this was not ‘coordinated ‘ as you think it is. They are all probably individuals who don’t know each other. Actually, pro-PAP people wouldn’t even be here to read your article. Let alone comment.

    • choofrfreoer

      Actually, I’m sure the pro-PAP people do read the article. Those pro-PAP fanatics do need to check up on their potential rivals/adversaries from time to time.

      But somehow, Roy assumes that everyone who disagrees with him is pro-PAP. That’s weird considering I supported the opposition’s star team in the last election.

      Roy fails to understand that people aren’t commenting based on their political stand, but rather the analysis and logic of his article.

  25. Lylin

    In your pie chart above, there is this claim 28% of Singaporeans live in poverty (with a link to another article he wrote https://thehearttruths.com/2013/10/28/poverty-in-singapore-grew-from-16-in-2002-to-28-in-2013/).

    That article says:

    “If you look at the [CPF Annual Report] in 2011, where the distribution of the monthly wages of Singaporeans were last available (the government omitted this information from 2012), 458,257 Singaporeans were earning less than S$1,500 every month. This represents 26% of the Singaporean and PR population (Chart 1).

    As such, it can said that 26% of Singaporeans are living in poverty in Singapore.”

    So I downloaded the CPF document and added all the people whose monthly wage level is below $1500 across all age levels, young and old alike, and came up with 294364.

    So like,

    1) How did 294364 become 458,257?
    2) How did 26% of Singaporean _and_ !!PR population!! = 26% of Singaporeans (lol)
    3) How did 26% become 28% in his pie chart
    4) How did $1500 arbitrarily become SG’s poverty line?
    5) So if I earn less than $1500 each month working part time at McDonalds, even though my parents earn over $10,000 a month, that means I am living in poverty?

    • Roy Ngerng

      And please read the article and the links – several academics have already used $1,500 to define what is the level of poverty in Singapore.

      Not the first time this is defined or discussed. This has been discussed for several years now.

      • Stupid,dumb or just retarded?

        From historical trend, he will answer half your questions and ignore the rest. When you ask for further clarification, he will post a comment to “let readers discern”. rofl
        Also, I think by now it is obvious he didn’t take Econs in jc.

      • michelle

        @Lylin, read the theory on averages. Statistics are not done for a case by case basis, but aggregate what each person earn on average. If u dun have this basic understanding, may I suggest u not make a fool out of urself.

      • choofrfreoer

        You don’t need to take Economics in JC to make a logical and balanced argument.

        All you need is to consider policies from all the views of the stakeholders: the government, poor, rich, companies, etc. But Roy only considers the views of the poor. And that’s why every single essay has problems.

  26. thyme

    hey roy just wanna say you’re doing a great job

    let haters be haters la dont bother answering them you are always right

    singaporeans are always being bullied by the pap and so unfair towards all us average singaporeans. we can’t live here anymore! it’s horrible really all these people dont know

    i also found out actually singaporeans receives less than 6% of scholarship. alot get scholarship revoke in the end because they cant get good enough grades. as many as one quarter get scholarship revoked. so the real figure is 4.5%!

    and some more after revoke they must pay back the full sum… x4!!! its horrible pap just making a profit out of these scholarships. so much for helping us.

    dun believe me check it out yourself bit.ly/hcoyKE

    its worse than you think guys. stop living in your shell and see what the real world is like. we dun change things we will be dead i tell you

    • dr hcw

      I’ve read the comments and frankly I think what all those supposedly reasonable people said is trash. The data is right there for all to see. Roy’s right, and so is thyme.

      • choofrfreoer

        As I’ve said countless of times, Roy’s data is right. However,

        1) Some of his data is skewed in that he doesn’t publish data which doesn’t support his stand and the issue most people have with his post is
        2) He attempts to draw links and explain these statistics. And the way he reasons the causes for these statistics and his suggestions to solve them is dysfunctional

    • nonsense

      Wow it’s quite a long read. So many trolls lol.

      What thyme said is true. I read about how someone give up my scholarship because I had a GPA of 3.3/4.0. FYI that’s an okay score and all the people can tell you that. I know all of you are lazy so here’s the news link. http://rdd.me/bdjwl7lt

      Seriously guys stop listening to the lies from the PAP. All these people are just out to troll you. Don’t worry Roy the true singaporeans are behind you all the way. Seriously all just gah-blur-ment lackeys trolling an honest citizen who’s out to discover the truth.

      • Perry

        Hi nonsense,

        If the government awards a scholarship to everyone with 3.3/4.0… .
        Just because you are an academic failure doesn’t give you the right to ‘feel sour and complain about the government’.

      • choofrfreoer

        3.3/4.0… Do you really deserve this scholarship?

        You admit that you only achieved an “okay” score, but since when are scholarships meant for the average person? And you probably aren’t poor, or you would have applied for a bursary instead. The government can help certain poor people who score well and deserve it, but not simply average people!

        It’s probably better off giving this sponsorship to some other poor person who scored higher.

      • Fong

        Scholarships are awarded to those who are academically strong. If you’re only getting ‘okay scores’, you aren’t living up to the scholarship requirements. A 3.3/4.0 is a B+ average. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it also isn’t a good enough grade to justify a scholarship being awarded to you. I fail to see how this is surprising when the grade requirements should have been spelled out in your scholarship contract (which you should have read before signing it).

  27. trish

    hey i agree with thyme government just using uni fees to squeeze out money from us. you know uni fees is 20 times a household’s income? no money no uni. this is an unfair system

    • choofrfreoer

      Sucks to be you if you aren’t good enough to get a bursary then. More of, no grades no university education.

      I have never understood, and I guess I will never understand, the obssession of certain people who hold a university degree in such high regard and do everything to get a degree. Maybe it’s because their parents had never managed to get into university and now they are trying to push their children to achieve what they never had.

      This issue is also similar with certain poor people. Why do they endlessly chase after luxury goods when they already don’t have enough money? In the end, they can’t get what they want and end up disappointed. Some say it’s a dignity issue, but I have my doubts.

      Can someone enlighten me on the above?

  28. Roy Ngerng

    Dear readers,

    There are commenters who are coordinating an attack on the blog to discredit the blog.

    The aim of this blog is to bring out issues and to discuss them in a perspective not discussed before, to set us thinking. Readers are encouraged to continue doing your own research and to join the dots for yourself what is really happening in Singapore.

    Most Singaporeans know what’s really going on in Singapore and we know what needs to be done. I hope that with more awareness, we can work towards a goal that would be more beneficial to Singaporeans.

    Please discern the information on this blog and in the comments, and come out with a conclusion of your own. Be empowered with the information and the right to make your own decision.

    All the best!

    Roy

    • benjamin

      Wow, you say “the aim of this blog is to bring out issues and to discuss them in a perspective not discussed before, to set us thinking” but when readers discuss and bring up very relevant points, as well as point out the flaws in your analysis, you say they are coordinating an attack on the blog. This is priceless man.

      Well, if it really makes you happy, yeah we are totally coordinating an attack on your blog. Why, we have nothing better to do but to hold daily meetup sessions to discuss how we can discredit your blog. In fact, we are even thinking of forming an organization soon! We will be sure to invite you to the opening ceremony.

      • choofrfreoer

        Benjamin, you can’t deny that Roy is “discussing issues in a perspective not discussed before”. Simply because most people reject these theories outright for the sheer absurdity!

        It’s always sad to see people who are educated enough to use the internet, write with reasonably good English, but fail to think properly.

        Leaders of terrorist organisations or radical religious sects are eloquent, charismatic and well-educated. That’s the reason why people follow them. However, their logic is clearly lacking, but they still manage to mislead people. I certainly hope Roy isn’t going down this path.

    • choofrfreoer

      Roy is flawless. Roy just can’t accept that people disagree with him.

      Roy likes to criticise, but he can’t take criticism. If that happens, it’s not because his analysis has issues. It’s the work of coordinated trolls, because we all have nothing better to do than to discredit him for the sole sake of discrediting.

      And then we wonder why Roy isn’t stepping up to join the government if his analytical abilities are indeed so stellar.

  29. To toro

    Seriously, I want blown over when you pointed out that MOE used statistics in a wrong way which is true. They used the word ‘undergraduate’ to give the illusion that 14% of ‘our Singaporeans’ undergraduates are on scholarships, when it turns out that we overlook the fact that undergraduates simply means all bachelors students in Nus and NTU, which of course includes the prs and foreigners. We did not realize that most of the scholarships are awarded to foreigners undergraduates as opposed to Singaporeans undergraduates. It’s amazing how these facts are unethically misrepresented by the ministry; how they are position to pull wool over the readers’ eyes. Someone or The Real Singapore or TOC or TR ought to publish this article and solicit the thoughts of NUS, NTU and SMU Singaporean undergraduates.

    • To toro

      Is this what the pap policy means by selective meritocracy? It’s selective alright. I wonder what last minute election strategy the pap government will come up with to sway the minds of Singaporeans…

  30. Roy Ngerng

    “The fiercest criticism came from Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, who attacked the senior Tory’s “unpleasant, careless elitism” and accused him of talking about people as if they were dogs.

    “I don’t agree with Boris Johnson on this. Much as he is a funny and engaging guy, I have to say these comments reveal a fairly unpleasant, careless elitism that somehow suggests we should give up on a whole swath of fellow citizens,” Clegg told LBC 97.3 radio.

    “To talk about us as if we are a sort of breed of dogs, a species I think he calls it … the danger is if you start taking such a deterministic view of people because they have got a number attached to them, in this case an IQ number, they are not going to rise to the top of the cornflake packet, that is complete anathema to everything I’ve always stood for in politics.”

    Clegg said he believed children developed at different paces and should have access to a culture of opportunity, aspiration and hard work.

    His remarks were echoed by David Lammy, the Tottenham MP who is considering a bid to run as mayor of London for Labour in 2016, who said the remarks were worse than careless. “I don’t think that’s just careless. I think it’s an insult,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One. “It’s an insult to cleaners in London, to people who are home carers in London, people who are minimum wage, giving them the suggestion that they are sort of bottom of the cornflake packet. That’s not the sort of society I thought we wanted to live in, particularly when the mayor has supported the London living wage, which is about saying we all ought to be in this together.

    “It’s extraordinary for a mayor, who should be for all of London, to think it’s all right to glorify greed – a greed that has brought a banking collapse and caused misery and hardship to many Londoners, particularly to young people who can’t get on the housing ladder.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/28/boris-johnson-iq-comments

  31. Tong Hon Yee

    Hi Roy,

    You mentioned that, for Chart 2, you “Will edit the grammar error when I get to a computer.”

    For Chart 3, likewise, you said that “I will amend the chart when I’m able to get to a computer.”

    I’m not sure how often you get to a computer, but your comment was on November 26, while it’s already November 29. In these two to three days, you’ve made two posts on The Heart Truths and commented extensively.

    Would it be possible to explain why the charts have not been amended? Just curious.

    Thanks,
    Hon Yee

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  42. Manasa

    Hi Roy,

    While I completely understand your concerns over Singaporeans having to pay a lot for uni, which I also agree with by the way, your stats on foreign students is absolutely misleading.

    Sure, 52% of them get scholarship, but do you know our fee is 6 times the fee of a Singaporean? And that most foreign students who DO get into the universities do not come because they can’t afford such a fee?

    We take loans above and beyond the grants that your government gives us.

    Speaking of which, we don’t get scholarships from your government, we get them from companies like Singapore Airlines.

    What the Government gives us is a grant, which is not free money. We are bonded to stay and work in Singapore for 3-6 years, and pay back what we take from them.

    So before lashing out at foreigners, remember that a lot of the reputation and ranking of your universities come because of their global student population. Your percentages and numbers are all misleading too. A vast majority of the student population is Singaporean, and if you don’t belong in it you can’t blame the ones applying from around the world, who complete with billions to get into the tiny margin that is accepted.

    Summarizing, your hostility towards us is not uncommon, but is unnecessary.

    Regards,
    Manasa

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