Friday, October 06, 2017

Singapore NTU to End a Decade of Shame?

Singapore NTU to End a Decade of Shame?
In 2008, an external, profit-making, foreign, non-academic organization adjudged and condemned NTU to pariah status, after she have nurtured thousands of Singaporeans (and non-Singaporeans) and transform them into top-class engineering, science, business, social science and other professional graduates in great demand by renowned global corporations, and who have decisively contributed to Singapore’s economic and social development journey from 3rd World to 1st World. 
To satisfy the World University Rankers’ preference for foreign students and faculty members, NTU embarked on a systematic purge of local Professors, never mind that many are tenured, have accomplished internationally, and have served the University with distinction, and denied admission to many qualified Singaporeans by increasing foreign students admission, and forcing those from better income families to seek admissions to, ironically, top Universities overseas.
Some laws are also possibly broken with regard to the constitutional protection of Singaporean Professors from age discrimination, but no one in authority really cares enough to intervene in the irrational, mindless and bloody frenzy of the cultural revolution which spares nothing for the sake of meeting the Criteria of what the United Nations’ UNESCO has already adjudged to be a Bogus Ranking Standard of Dubious Excellence, in order to obtain a Brand of Questionable Authenticity.
A few hundred Singaporean Professors were purged from 2007 to beyond 2010. And more than 6,500 Singaporean students, or about 1,700-1,900 annually, were denied NTU admission through an arbitrary cut-off point into various 3-year and 4-year Undergraduate Programs from 2009-2013 for their places to be allocated to preferred foreign students.
Finally by 2014, NTU was ranked as the Top Youngest University in the World by QS Ranker, and ranking just 39th Worldwide.  Indeed, what a “climb” from 77th in 2008!  By 2013, foreign students made up 28% of the total undergraduate population from just 5% less than a decade earlier.  By the end of the cultural revolutionary purge of Singaporean Professors and staff in 2010, NTU proudly announced that Singapore Professors, including new Singapore citizens, formed ONLY 44% of the faculty with 56% of NTU faculty being foreigners from 56 countries worldwide including Singapore Permanent Residents. Never mind the fact that most Universities in the World actually have a majority of local Professors, even in the top Universities.
Given the dodgy nature of World University Rankings and their questionable deliberate fabrication of unreliably unscientific methodologies, NTU victories to their top ranks are in essence as pyrrhic as winning a beauty contest; the mere appearance of uncertain meaningless quality.   Indeed, what a wasteful use of time, management and financial resources!
Never in the history of Singapore has so many Singaporeans been forced to become collateral sacrifices in return for nothing of any value to our nation or the world. 
We should stop participating in the essentially beauty contests of the fraudulent World Universities Rankings, so as to stop lending them our credibility by endorsing bogus standards of dubious quality excellence.
Come 2018, would NTU’s Decade of Shame end with a new NTU President?  In 2018, a new era must begin in Singapore Universities with Professor Subra Suresh as NTU President. The first step should be to cease reliance on and pursuit of a bogus standard of questionable excellence. We must return to authentic impact as the measure of excellence for our premier institutions of higher learning.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

QS ranking downright shady and unethical

Would anyone not under the influence of drugs believe that NUS and NTU are better universities than Princeton, Cornell or Yale? Well, some Singaporeans are gloating over this great achievement by the two local universities, no ill intent in my statement as one is my alma mater. I should be proud that my alma mater is better than top Ivy League universities in the US. Soon many top American universities would be asking for joint NUS degrees to boost up their reputation instead of Singapore begging to host joint Singapore American university degrees here.

 
Some of the Singaporeans that were so impressed with the rankings are the uninformed or ill informed uncles in the kopitiams and aunties in the wet market. I heard them chirping about it with great excitement, and I can understand, given their exposure and lack of understanding on the QS criteria for judging.


Ok, maybe on face value, maybe the top American universities are living on their past glories while NUS and NTU are what they are today by today's standard. The good American universities were good in the past but no longer. Time has changed. For the well informed, the comments are different and some are outright cynical of the outcome with good reasons. Below are some comments taken from the onlinecitizen.


'On Thursday (8 June), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was named Asia’s top university in the 2018 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, surpassing the National University of Singapore (NUS).

 
NTU is also ranked 11th in the world, ranking above other notable institutions such as Princeton University, Cornell University and Yale University, and two positions above its previous 13th spot.

 
Below is a response written by John Ouserhout on question-and-answer site, Quora on the question of "How accurate are the 2018 QS rankings? They seem to rank Nanyang Tech higher than Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and Berkeley."

 

Ouserhout's response in full

First impressions suggest it is almost laughably inaccurate. UC Berkeley at #27? This is the same university that is affiliated with 91 Nobel Laureates, 13 Fields Medals, 23 Turing Awards and 16 elements of the Periodic Table. The rest of the ranking seems similarly strange as well; NUS and NTU ranked right alongside or higher than Princeton, Cornell, Yale, Columbia and Johns Hopkins?

 
(Haha, this Ouserhout does not know of the many great Nobel laureates hiding in the Singapore universities or akan datang, ie coming soon, going to happen).

 
Is it just my Anglo-American bias speaking? I know these universities have made rapid strides in funding and encouraging cutting edge research, so perhaps it’s inevitable that they’ve caught up and surpassed the more well known Ivy League universities. That is obviously partly the case, but after digging around for a bit, there seems to be a whole host of articles about the flawed methodology and downright shady practices of the QS organisation.

 
Some of the flaw methodology include counting more foreign students and faculty as good without any relations to academic merits. More foreigners mean more points. How silly.

 
And 50% of the points come from surveys from Academics and Employers. Look, there are hundreds of good American universities and only 2 or 3 good Singapore universities. In the latter, all the scores would go to these 2 or 3 universities while in the US the scores would be thinly spread. See the flaw? Which university would the Employers hired from? In the US they could hire from hundreds of universities but only 2/3 in Singapore.

 
Ouserhout went on with many other flaws in the methodology. Below are a few more.

 
Secondly, QS’s business model is really shady:

  • A dubious Star ranking system, where universities pay to be evaluated. (Conflicts of interest anyone?)
  • ‘Branding Opportunities’ for $80,000 with QS Showcase
  • A highly lucrative ‘consultancy service’ to help universities rise up the rankings

In short, ranking systems might have their flaws, but this one is downright shady and unethical.

No need to say anything more, just let the daft to gloat over this mirage as a badge of honour.  I don’t blame the uncles in the kopitiams or the aunties in the wet market. I understand where they are coming from. Would any reputable academics bother to question the allegation by Ouserhout that the ranking system 'is downright shady and unethical'?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

4 JCs to be merged, ie disappeared, redundant

Many people are aghast at the merging of 4 JCs all of a sudden. Many are still in a state of shock with mouths still unable to close, jaws locked, muscle cramped. How could this kind of things happen in this so well planned little city when every piece of stone, every single plant is carefully planted after very well conceived thoughts by our very able and proactive govt that is always looking ahead for problems? 

To make things more bizarre is the opening of Enoia (not sure if I get the spelling right) JC just a year ago and now closed shop. Anyone worry about the money wasted? We are not talking of closing of one JC but 4 JCs. Did anyone see this coming? Why, suddenly Rip Van Winkle woke up and found that there is not enough enrolment for JC classes and 4 JCs are redundant, with excess capacity that may turn out to look like ghost colleges, JCs without students?

When the MOE was split to be helmed by two full ministers, everyone would not be wrong to think that this education job is expanding, growing so big and one minister would not be able to cope with the workload. How is this closing of 4 JCs related to the need for two ministers in MOE? If there are not enough students for JCs, would it also mean that more secondary and primary schools would also be facing the same problem and more would also have to be closed or merged? Read somewhere that 28 secondary schools would also be merged.

What happened to all the students that are supposed to fill up the JC places and also the primary and secondary schools? They did not build all these schools without planning, without knowing how many students are coming on board. Did the students disappear overnight like MH370? How can, the Population Dept and MOE must have been tracking the numbers and know exactly how many students were there and how many schools and JCs would be needed. Why like dat one?

I thought about this problem very seriously and came out with a few possible answers. I am not going to blame on twits that could not plan or did not know what was happening and how many students were there that need to go to school but the twits did not know. My first thought is that the thousands of scholarships to foreign students, paid by our tax payers in the billions, must have been frozen. This could be a possibility and could explain why suddenly there is no student or not enough students overnight. Overseas students can come in or not come in like turning on/off a tap.

Another possible answer, many are going to India to have their education to make sure that they could get a decent job here after graduating from the Indian universities. Why not, all the talents here are from India and Indian universities, the professionals, the academics, the IT experts and what nots, are all from India. Their education system is world best, proven and endorsed by Singapore. So many students must have jumped ship and enrolled in Indian JCs and subsequently planning to go on to Indian universities.

Another possible reason, many may have taken the advice of our ministers that there is no need for a good degree that cannot be eaten. What is the point of a degree when one aspires to be a taxi driver or a hawker? So the parents and students are now wiser and stopped enrolling into JCs here and waste precious money or forcing their parents to sell their homes to finance their education abroad.

Maybe there are other reasons for the sudden disappearance of JC students, but these are the dumb reasons that I am able to think of for this fiasco or shall I call it miracle, another planned miracle that is uniquely Singapore? Is it so difficult to know how many students are out there that need places in schools and JCs? Would big data help?

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

97 marks out of 100 not good enough

A student scoring 97/100 for Chinese is considered not good enough, not qualified to take Higher Chinese? This was what happened in St Hilda Primary School.  Remember the media report, 99% passed O level with 1 pass?

Let me quote a few paragraphs posted in an article in the statestimesreview.

Speaking in Parliament today (Feb 6) representing the Ministry of Education, PAP MP Low Yen Ling defended a primary school that deemed students scoring 97/100 for Chinese language not qualified enough for Higher Chinese.

“We acknowledge St. Hilda’s good intentions in making sure students who want to take Higher Chinese are well-suited and also ready to take on the subject because it also entails extra curricular time and a heavier study load for the child.”

...Some of the students scored a near-perfect score of 97 out of 100 marks for the Chinese language but were still rejected nonetheless.

However, the primary school succumbed to public criticisms and opened an additional class to accommodate students who wish to take up Higher Chinese. PAP MP Low Yen Ling confirmed the knee-jerk reaction in Parliament:”

Why 97 marks not good enough? Then what is good enough? 100 marks? If 97 marks are not good enough, I think anyone getting 97 marks will get a A*,  what are the implications on the marking system? Are they saying that A* are not really good enough when everyone has the impression that A* is like distinction? How are the teachers going to tell parents that their children with 97 marks are NOT GOOD enough? How are the children going to face their parents and how are parents going to receive this ‘bad’ news, that their children scoring 97 marks, good enough for a celebration to most parents but really not good enough?

If all the students scoring 97 marks in their subjects are not good enough, what about those scoring 70 marks, 50 marks? Is this a way to tell the parents and children that the 97 marks are a farce, that the grading system is a farce? How on earth could anyone tell a child that 97 marks are not good enough?

What is going on? Is this an indication of something not very right in our education system or in the grading system? Is this the reason why our Singaporean graduates with their straight As are not wanted, not really good, not good enough because.....?

Is there something seriously wrong being revealed unintentionally by this case? What is the truth? Is this the reason why third world students and their funny grades are preferred to be better than the grades obtained in our supposedly world class schools and education system? Is this the reason why third world degrees are better than our degrees? The implications are very serious.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

NUS ranks the top 4th in the world

This is posted in the statestimesreview, ‘Singapore’s government university, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has been ranked by Times Higher Education at fourth position for having the most international presence in the world. Ranked by anonymous “international scholars”, the survey ranked NUS by the number of international students it accepts, international staffs it hires and international publications made. It is understood that NUS’s rule of reserving a minimum of 20% of its places for foreigners as a major factor behind the survey’s strong standing.’

Is this something to be excited about, something to be proud of, something silly to be craving for? More foreign students means lesser places for our children and more parents have to empty their saving banks or sell their homes to send their children overseas. More foreign staff means lesser Singaporeans are employed and in the long run the emptying of Singaporeans in the academia. Are these good for Singapore and Singaporeans?

Why is the govt spending so much money on foreign students, many on scholarship and big money to pay the foreign academic staff? Is public money being applied responsibly and in the best and efficient way to benefit Singaporeans? Is Singapore turning itself into a Santa Claus to foreign students and foreign academic staff?

What is more important, educating our own students, ensuring that Singaporeans become eminent academics or feeding the foreigners and educating the foreigners?

In a modern cosmopolitan city in the 21st Century when transportation and communication are so convenient, is there a need to have so many foreigners here just to expose our students to foreigners as if they are living in little remote villages and never seen or knew a foreigner before? So there is this compulsion to bring foreigners here to integrate will our hillbillies or kampong kids or they will become ignorant of foreigners and their cultures and thinking?

What should be the priority for spending taxpayers’ money?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Honest dishonesty at work

I saw this runner on the TV screen. ’99.9% O level students passed at least one subject’. Wow, what a great achievement. Our education system or the teachers have done well, very well. Or is it the students have done exceptionally well? 99.9%  passed! Wait a minute, passed at least one subject? What does this mean? Passed one subject also passed? I have left school for so long and I know that in my time passing one subject is as good to repeat in Sec 4. Passing 3 subjects also considered failed in my time. You need to pass at least 4 or 5 subjects and with some decent grades to pass and get a Grade 3. Now passed one subject can already, passed?

I am out of touch. Is this the reason why the employers have no faith in our education system when passing one subject is considered passed and something to rejoice, to shout about? What is the truth? Would the student with one or two passes go home and announce to papa and mama, ‘I passed, one subject’ and get rewarded?

The statement is very honest or very dishonest or honest dishonest? Ok, there was another banner that stated something like 84.3% passed at least 5 subjects. Though we must not embarrass or discourage those that did not do well, but we must be honest with them, that one pass does not qualify to pass the whole examination. Or maybe nowadays there is no such thing as pass or fail an examination. Just count the number of passes good enough. What a merry world of semantics and make beliefs. Yes, say the right things and hear the good stuff.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lim Swee Say – Job mismatch a serious problem

In an article in the Today paper on 11 Oct titled ‘Govt paints dire picture of mismatch between jobs and skills’, ‘…Lim Swee Say cautioned that the low jobs growth could persist and Singapore faces the prospect of rising unemployment if it does not minimize the job skills mismatch and strive for quality economic growth. With the number of locals seeking work far outstripping the number of jobs added by “many things” last year, Mr Lim stressed the need to “maximise the connectivity between job opportunities and job seekers.”’

What is the problem? Mismatch of job and job seekers? Why mismatch? Aren’t the job seekers the products of world best universities, top, top universities? Why got mismatch? Whose fault is it if top, top universities produced graduates that could not match the job opportunities in the market?

Why are the products from Indian universities got no problem with job mismatch? Should not the MPs raise this question in Parliament? Should not the MP recommend the closing down of our world best universities that are producing graduates that could not fit into the market, mismatch? Should not the MPs recommend that we send our young to be educated in Indian universities so that they would not be mismatched and be employable in our job market?

Who is at fault? Who is in charge and responsible for producing graduates that are needed in the market? No is one responsible? No one responsible for our world best university education with world best fees and ended up mismatched?

What is happening? Just shout job mismatch and no not my problem any more. Surely someone must answer to this fiasco. So much money wasted and so much time wasted and our young graduates at a lost, mismatch after spending all those years in the world’s best universities run by the best foreigners money can buy? Should someone be held responsible for ruining the lives of our young graduates, for ruining the hopes of their parents?

Monday, October 10, 2016

A post on Singapore Education in TRE


Read this article then you will understand the ridiculous stress & large financial expenses that young S’porean students & their parents are subjected to. I can understand if parents think that it’s an investment for their children, but in today’s technologically-driven environment, would such investments pay back in the future given the foreigner influx & the poor job creation situation in Singapore.

The education process in Singapore is so stressful, expensive & time-consuming but is it worth in terms of payback? Frankly, NO! S’pore’s educational system is not state-of-the-Art!

Back between 1980s to 1990s, a degree would have meant lots of jobs, high pay & no waiting period between leaving a job & finding another. Educational investment then would have been worthwhile but it was only at best an exceptional decade of payback.

Post-2000s, many became unemployed; underemployed or forced into early retirement! Today, many could only think about the good old days which are never coming back! – Many PMEs made redundant Post-2000 spent monies retraining & taking courses only to find themselves competing against hordes of foreigners willing to undercut in terms of salary.

They thought it was cyclical but it was actually a Fundamental Structural Shift! Frankly, migrating would have been a better option! – A degree would be relatively worthless these days because you would be competing against fake, forged or bought degree holders brought in through the open-door policy.

I see a lot of bright, young degree/diploma holders being reduced to touting; employed by banks to sell financial products at MRT stations to any walking person passing by! It’s a waste of talent when they should be formulating on-line websites to sell instead. But this is the nature of Singapore economy – Misusing human resources to grind out small gains by working them hard & for what?

Olympic Gold winner Joseph Schooling had to go to the US to further his swimming career at the age of 14 years old. He won Olympic Gold because he went to a State-of-the-Art system which provides leading edge training systems as well as dietitian programs designed for sports nutrition & recovery!

If you want your children to have a good education, either migrate as a family or send them abroad to the best Western schools. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money into the drain. THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM HAS FAILED!



*Comment first appeared on TRE.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Education – I had a dream

I dreamt that in the future all our students would turn out to be scientists and engineers equipped to live in a futuristic world with all the skill sets they need embedded in them by a microchip. No need to go to school to learn anything anymore except morality and moral values. And they will live through their lives like perfect human beans, with no sickness as this will be taken care of by the microchip that regularly dispensed medicine and supplements needed for their good health. And their intelligence will be several notches higher than the average beans around the world.

Then I woke up to a rude shock. The plight of the PMETs are still around where many are still unemployable as they no longer have the skill sets to fit into the workforce. What is happening? We are trying and planning for the future but forgot about the Now, the people that are living now and turning obsolete, falling down the economic and social ladder of the society.

Then I read the papers and was again filled with hopes and promises of a greater future as the govt are tweaking the education system again to be the best education system in the world, to teach and educate our people to be the brightest and best all rounder, and most important, to be employable again. But the result is in the future and we will have to wait for that to happen, maybe in SG100 when Singaporeans will be the happy people, fully employed and leading a good life.

Then I started thinking, what is the point of the future when the present is a failure, when our people from our education system are no longer competitive and no skill sets to even get a job. So, before we embark on another wild goose chase, another untested experiment, we need to know what is the basis of our futuristic education system, proven or modelled after some successful model or just another trial balloon? Because someone took some drugs and hallucinated that this is the best way to go?

Why don’t we do the real thing, the logical thing, look at the successfulo working models and copy what people have done successfully, no need to reinvent the wheel when the wheel is another trail and error, unproven game of hope? Look at all the talented people that are coming to Singapore to replace our no skill set PMETs and young graduates! Does that ring a bell, that these are the products of a good education system, to be able to produce the graduates and professionals needed by our industries? If our education system can do the same, there is no need to keep tweaking and toying around our education system and telling the people it is really good.

Be real. Look at the countries that are producing the talents that we need. The most talents we are getting are from India. This is the hard truth. You can see them all over Raffle Place, MBFC and Changi Business Park, or is it now called Chennai Business Park?  What does it mean? It’s so simple. The Indians are doing all the right things in their education system.  No need silly and expensive foolish ideas. Just get the basics of education right. That is why we are hiring all the Indian professionals with the right skill sets to replace our no skill sets PMETS and young graduates. It must be. We can’t be hiring them if they are no good unless we are so hopelessly stupid. We can’t be employing fakes and cheats to replace our PMETs right?

So, with this understanding clear and bright, the solution is very simple. Stop mucking around with our education system and pretend that we are doing the right thing. And those people who have no idea of what education of the young is all about better shut up and don’t pretend they know. Go to the experts, go to the countries that have done it, and done it well. And no country has done it better than India. The results showed. Walk around Raffles Place and MBFC and you will know where the foreign talents came from.

I would advise the MOE to stop mucking around, send our MOE staff to India to learn from them. They know best and are producing the best talents that are in our industries and govt services too. And in the interim, before waiting for the result to be seen in 20 years or 30 years down the road, quick, send our A level students to the universities in India for their undergraduate and post graduate studies. Forget about NUS, NTU, SMU. Forget about the Ivy League universities in UK or USA. Send them to India, University of Mumbai is one of the best in India. That would be a good start.

The success of India’s education is no fluke shot. Look at the number of Indian nationals helming big corporations in the USA, the UK and also Europe would be enough testimonies to logically conclude that India is doing the right thing. They are producing the world’s current and future honchos in the corporate world and do not need all the silly university rankings to feel good. Their universities are unranked, many several hundred notches down the ladder of infamy according to those ranking agencies. But the Indians are soaring to the sky. And this is real, not magic!

Stop all the funny tweakings and experiments using our young as guinea pigs. Haven’t we wasted a whole generation of our graduates with no skill sets from our world best universities?

Stop smoking. I too have woken up and seen the reality. We have an education system that looks good on paper but cannot be eaten, not worth a cent but the students have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete the highly flawed system that at best is dysfunctional, the graduates good to be taxi and crane drivers or hawkers.  We need another 30 years to produce top finance and banking professionals!!!! What kind of shit is that? What are we going to do in the meantime? What have we been doing in the last two or three decades?

Would anyone dare to say that the Indian graduates we hired are rubbish and we are hiring all the rubbish and to say what I wrote is rubbish?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tuition - Top tutors earning HK$2m a month!

Just heard this over the news that a top tutor in Hongkong could earn up to HK$2m a month. Now that is a cool S$400k! These tutors must be really good and doing a very good service to the students needing their services.  It must be money worth spent or the tutors would fold up in days or weeks, if they could not deliver.

I am sure tutors in Singapore are also doing pretty well tutoring our students, for all levels. Tuition is also not only an industry but a must as part of our education system. Many weak students could do with the help of a good tutor to get that elusive A that is a must to move on.

Though the tutors here are not earning the kind of money like their Hongkong counterparts, many are doing it full time and the rewards are quite good or exceedingly good to some good tutors. For those students that could afford the fees, well and good, nothing to complain about. There must be many that would like the assistance of a tutor to give them that little lift they needed so badly if only they could afford it.

I am thinking of launching a mail service to review and comment essays for O and A level students, for a little fee of course, for Singaporeans and foreign students. I could even do it for free for Singaporeans if needed. Students interested can email me their essays and I will do the necessary. I am putting this up on a trial basis.

I have edited a few essays before and found that generally the students here are able to write a decent piece, but with a little help and pointers here and there, it would make the difference between an A or a B grade.

Those interested can start sending their essays to me with immediate effect. I am not doing this to make millions. Just to give a little assistance where needed, to those that can do with a little help. My email, redbeansg@yahoo.com.


Redbean.