Friday, May 18, 2012

Money That Go Into Schools

The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that $650 million has been allocated to upgrade 71 more primary schools from November next year. The first phase kicked off in 2009 and, since then, 78 primary schools have been upgraded and 11 new schools built.

Not all schools in Singapore are created equal. Neighborhood establishments are typically at the bottom of the food chain. The "brand name" ones seem to have a monopoly of the best-of-the-best infrastructure, and some claim, also calibre of teaching staff. One in particular boasts of:
  • 12 lecture halls that can accommodate 3,209 students. That's equivalent to the seating capacity of 6 Airbus A380s. Or the seating capacity of 38 single-decker buses. Forget about MRT trains, they are still breaking down.

  • A boarding school with 522 dormitories, 5 times the number of rooms in Raffles Hotel, which has only 103.

  • Sprawling campus grounds taking up 18 hectares of space in land scarce Singapore. That's enough spread for the water catchment area of 3 Lower Pierce Reservoirs. Or the land area taken up by 6 Esplanades. Or 25 soccer fields.
Is it any wonder why every year, parents will resort to extreme measures like moving house just to be within 1 kilometer of the choicest educational monolith? Goh Keng Swee liked to tell the story of how his son would ask him to drop him off a few metres away from the school gate. Junior was too shy to be disembarking from his beat up jalopy - rumoured to have a gaping hole in the floor board - as his classmates were chauffeured in exotic European makes (this was way before ministers paid themselves millions). Things have moved on, although progress may not be the right word to use. Think Porsches, Ferrris and Mercedes convertibles. No wonder the schools need a bit of sprucing up.


  1. Did you forget about the iPads ? Or the Herman Millers chairs for teachers?

    Once you tout it as the best american international school anywhere in the world, there will be more of the likes like Jim Rogers ex-patriots checking into this SG hotel soon. Those primary schools are just catching up with the joneses.

  2. all these are just facade, skin deep. The most important intrinsic factor is the quality of teaching. With teachers board down by all the wayang kulit and kpi, the kids just do not get much real education in school.

    as far as i know the swedish are still using blackboards. But they are able to educate their kids well ! so what 's with all these physical upgrading for ?

    a waste of tax payers money yet again !

  3. Who are the companies that get awarded for all these school upgrading projects?

    Should we be asking about who are the owners of these companies?
    Should we be asking if they have any political party affiliations?

  4. All that money spend will only go into hardware. It could be better spent on reducing class size and other innovative teaching methods. Not the present syllabus where we should be churning out rocket scientists but realistically, producing overly stressed students/parents, poorly equiped for the working world. Ask any parent with primary school going kids and 8 out of 10 will be tearing their hair out. Something is very wrong with our education system. The Nordic countries got it right, why can't we learn from them?

  5. Vote Opposition to improve our education system.

  6. if you cant dazzle them with brilliance, you baffle them with bullshit.

    perhaps all the trimmings are to hide that the the stuff the trimmings are hung on - ie the education provided - is not all that hot.

  7. Just improving physical structures and making them more luxurious does not improve education much. Just easy-way-out window dressing.

  8. But this window dressing can fatten the pockets of those with superior genes?

  9. MOE should focus on upgrading the moral and ethics standard of the teachers and staff in our schools instead of facilities and infrastructures.

    From the many sex offences our dear teachers and principals have been caught in a tangle in the news in recent years show the dismal standards of teaching ethics and moral conduct pervasive amongst the role models for our young children.