ngee ann poly

To all reading this article,

I’m a student studying Business Studies from a Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) and it is the end of my first of 3 years in NP.

It is at the end of just one year that I realised that coming to a Polytechnic was a wrong choice. Just yesterday, I went to check my GPA for my second semester since results were just released for all NP students and I got a decent GPA of 3.3. It was not bad, in fact, I believe it would be an above-average grade among the students.

However, it was just not good enough. Not good enough to be eligible for any local universities (except SIM, which is a private university). If I were to enter a JC, I believe I can make it to a local university instead, since the cut-off points for a polytechnic especially for business courses is just so high, you need to have at least A’s for 80% of all your modules in the 3 years.

The competition among the students is so tough, you must really work extremely hard for all three years to get almost straight A’s so that your cumulative GPA can be 3.7-3.9 to enter a business course in the local universities. And if you just happen to slip up on one subject, it will pull your grades down significantly, and that may cost you your chance to enter a local university.

I will just be blunt here, this is pretty ridiculous for a country with an ‘excellent’ education system. What about those above-average polytechnic students? They would still have a diploma the same as a student who lazed his/her way for 3 years even with a 1 or 2 point GPA. Yeah sure, employers could check each employee’s GPA (I think) but ultimately, both students will still have the same qualifications. The reasons is that there is a grey area in terms of GPA in Polytechnics. You either get a 3.5 or above for any hope of getting into a course in a local university, or you can just get the diploma because hard work does not matter in the end if you get a decent 3.4. You will still get the same qualifications as someone who got a 1 point GPA.

Those students who did not make it to a local university will go overseas to get a degree. Which is what I will do in the future. There is no choice, either I get mediocre pay with a diploma or I need to travel overseas for a degree in hopes of better pay. To be honest, after living through the education system in Singapore, I will not want my child to suffer in this system where only grades matter in this society. Where is the ‘all-rounded’ learning that schools preach.

From my opinion, there is no such thing. The only ‘learning’ we will have, is the syllabus given to us. There is an extinction in creativity in our education, we are taught formats to write essays in Social Studies in Secondary School, any other way of writing the essay will normally be a fail. The point is that this education system is so rigid, it teaches the students that only through repeated studying of the topics, can you achieve academic success.

Sometimes I wonder if the government understands why brain drain is happening in this country. I can say that many of my friends plan to migrate out of this country and I will too. The competition in this education system is so intense it just discourages me of having my child study here, no matter how good the education is. The education system we have now is far from perfect and I doubt there will be much improvement over the years. It is a culture Singaporeans are developing such that grades are the only thing that parents care about. Of course, what I said may be harsh but it is quite true. Other than providing basic needs, chances are they will ask you to work hard to get good results so to get a good job. This is a culture that Singaporeans are developing, we all are obsessed with grades, even though the main purpose of it is to gauge how knowledgeable you are with a certain subject. Even in the young children in Primary school, they may not know the actual importance of getting good grades, they just want it so that their parents will be happy and pamper them for being a good child. With this culture, the new generations of Singaporeans will no doubt believe that this is the way of life, and one should just abide to it.

Why can’t the government learn and adapt some form of the education system in Finland. If you have not read about Finland’s education system, I encourage you to do so. It redefines education, is education just about learning a set of theories set by the government, or something that a child/teen wants to learn and is encouraged to learn by him/herself.

That is all I have to say and everything that I wrote here is my opinion, this is just what I feel about this topic.


A Poly Student