Friday, December 17, 2010

Future of Singapore children

To a very large extent, I agree with the article below!!! I have lost confidence in my country and with the current leaders. haiz.. How much does lip service worth?

Future of Singapore children

We are a singaporean couple in our 30s and both of us are from top universities in Australia , since graduation we gave been married for quite some time now. We do not have any children at present. For some reasons such as family commitments, relatives from a large extended family, we had to stay put in Singapore for some time.

Some years back, we had contemplated on buying our own HDB home before having children. After observing recent developments in Singapore, we decided that at some point we should just return to Australia permanently, since then we had dropped the idea of having kids. We had a discussion regarding the issue as having kids in Singapore is indeed very disastrous compared to family oriented Australia. We were asked countless times by many of our relatives on why we have no kids . It’s a pleasure and a boon to have children who bring joy to our lives. but reality eventually takes the cake . Many people proudly proclaim their family oriented approach in life but how many of them face the stresses of having to deal with high cost of living and that of the child’s when reality hits them? While the authorities encourage producing more babies, it looks like merely lip service . They do not understand that high cost of living deters many prospective child bearing couples. The incentives such as baby bonus given are lackluster and the system itself is unforgiving to children. Which couple will want a child in a system where one pays school fees that are higher than most first world countries that subsidise education for citizenary , an education system that emphasize on paper grades, unstable economy,low wages , high cost of living and a lack of a comprehensive social safety net?

These are some of the few reasons that we had identified that may hold some worth having stayed and observed education, parenting and family aspects in the Australian and and similar Canadian systems.

1) high cost of education in Singapore relative to wages. Unlike Australia which subsidizes their local students heavily , Singaporeans are paying horrendous amount of fees for tertiary education that is supposed to be subsidized.

2) quality of education . No matter what the marketing machine churns out, singapore’seducation is not that trains students to think out of the box and to solve problems. Both of us, came from Australian universities which train their students from preschool in knowledge based applications and theory, what the Singapore system does is uncreative rote learning which left many singaporeans without the global thinking skill sets required for a knowledge based economy.

Despite statistics that show the Singapore education system as being one of the world’s best, it’s people have not turned out to be Nobel laurettes. The students are bent on getting high grades than actually learning stuff useful to them in a rat race to the top or rather , ironically, to the bottom. Having been a kid myself, I never gained anything from the education system , except stress. If Australia’s education system may not be the best , according to singapore’s “standards” , the country and it’s citizens are ironically doing better with higher productivity and home grown local businesses that compete on the global stage . It’s also a known fact that international rating bodies which rank education systems are not particularly known to take a holistic approach but merely do so from a investor or meritocratic point of view.

3) difficulty in entering universities in a tightly rigid classification method that streams students in a outdated meritocratic system that judges capability with past achievements from paper grades than future critical thinking ability. It does not take into account that people mature and change differently from others at different periods in their lives as I myself, had been a slow learner in school before but had obtained a degree overseas eventually. There is no scope for a well rounded holistic education here. Just a poor imitation of old British style system unlike the Australian and Canadian models. Scandinavian systems included as well.

4) Finally in a system that is unforgiving, a child if drops out of the rat race within a time frame limit , will have his or her future in question and expected to go into a job that pays$800 a month for a living. A situation we do not have in Australia. To further add on, children are being told to study in a rigid system that does not apply to foreigners who will be competing for jobs with our child in the future when companies insult the education system here by employing cheaper foreigners from some unknown university in India or Manila. It seems stress is only for the singapore child and the companies are here to enjoy the first world infrastructure and security without the social responsibility to pay for it.

5) we do not want our children to grow up in an education system that seems to be more tailored towards creating people who want to be rewarded with capitalistic benefits detached from society rather than thinking individuals that can improve the lives of others around them . It also seems that if a Singaporean did his or her education on Australia or overseas, they can’t accept the fact that one who was rejected by a singapore university has gained admission in overseas first world universities by a whole lot of discriminating local Uni grads that think too highly of themselves compared to people who have graduated from 100 year old overseas universities with a wealth of knowledge rooted in history and culture . It’s obvious that if one has been doing something for 100 years, they are pretty good at it. Besides that point, local unis will not be where they are without the template provided by the western education system and it’s state universities .

6) if it’s a male child , it’s obvious that he will be at a disadvantage due to NS liabilities. NS is for a good cause but it does not compensate a male for the sacrifices in terms of job opportunities or housing.

7) due to longer working hours eating up in valuable family time, today’s parents are vastly different to that of yesteryears , they do not have the time to spend with their kids who tend to be lonely and mix with bad company. In a first world country with a third world work structure that does not allow for work , life balance it’s expected that there will be moreproblems in teen delinquency, school dropout rate. The same situation can be found inAustralia but due to other different reasons as well. The Aussie kids do not have to worry about social security, job opportunities dropping out of the rat race or low wages.

We are unsure where Singapore is headed in the future, despite assurances that “singaporeans come first” , judging from past promises , we do not have confidence in the future and the system for us, especially for our child, if we were to have one, .In the future, there is no gurantee that we can send our own children like ourselves for overseas studies at the rate cost of living is escalating in Singapore . Till we see a system that takes the local society’s well being into consideration , we just want to end our generation here. We do not want another generation to suffer , worst of all, more than we did. As the Australians put it , we do not want our child to be in a system that is made by ”obligatories” that rely on the servtitude of others but yet provide a unfair playing ground .We shall be back in Australia to start a family. We want our children to be like the free children of Australia as children they meant to be, free and easy.


Local couple

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