Education Minister Heng Swee Keat was just as effusive, "Many new university sector learning opportunities are in the making, to better cater to the diverse aspirations of our young." During Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) sessions, Heng had asked students what they want to be when they grow up, and was confounded with answers "involving terms which I am completely unfamiliar with." He concluded, "Unless we are able to create opportunities, many of our young people are going to be disappointed."
Parents are just relieved that their kids with qualifying grades can have a better chance of studying in a local university, instead of being displaced by foreigners admitted with shady academic records. And having to downgrade their accommodation to finance the expense of an overseas university education.
So what was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinking of when he said tertiary education should not only be about increasing university places? He even put a damper on the success of the National University of Singapore (NUS) being ranked as the top university in Asia according to the latest global rankings from higher education information provider Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), by saying "universities here should not be measured solely by their international rankings." A wet blanket is defined as a dull or depressing person who spoils other people's enjoyment.
He quoted South Korea where, we are told, 70 percent of each cohort attend university but unemployment among university graduates is higher than that among graduates of vocational schools. And in Denmark, over a quarter are unable to find a job a year after graduation. He is worried about delivering what a good government promises - jobs for its own people.
So when the future generation ends up being crane operators and domestic helps, the people have themselves to be blamed. Unless you subscribe to the spin that these are skills that are relevant to the future (of Singapore). Or are able to put up with the logic of Khaw Boon Wan:
"You own a degree, but so what? You can't eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless."