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Day: January 21, 2004

The ST Headline screams : It PAYS to Study, especially in S’PORE!!

The ST Headline screams : It PAYS to Study, especially in S’PORE!!

Study finds that worker here gets 13.2% more for each extra year of schooling – higher than in Japan, Australia and US.

IT PAYS to stay in school, a joint study by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has found.

For every extra year of schooling, a Singaporean worker earns on average 13.2 per cent more, which is significantly higher compared with countries like the United States, Japan and Australia.

Broken down by educational qualifications, the return on every year of schooling rises as an individual goes up the education ladder.

A first-degree holder, for example, earned about six times more than that of a worker who did not even have primary-level education.

The study found that a university graduate with a first degree would earn on average 17 per cent more for every extra year that he spent in school.

In comparison, a worker with only primary school qualifications would only earn on average 1.5 per cent more for every year he stayed in school.

The paper, written by two MAS and two MOM economists, also found that the wages of more highly educated people in Singapore increased at a faster pace than those of less-educated workers.

The salaries of less-educated workers doing manual jobs also peaked earlier, in 31 to 40 years of working, while the wages of more highly skilled workers continued to rise with experience even after they reached 50.

The study used data from an MOM survey in 2000 on education qualifications.

At that time, 13.5 per cent of the workers here had a first degree or better, while 30.7 per cent had primary school education or none at all.

The average number of years of schooling for both males and females was 10.1 years, while the median monthly wage for a graduate with a first degree and 11 to 20 years’ experience, was $5,320.

The paper noted that the rate of return on education was higher in Singapore than in other countries.

Citing research conducted in other countries, the paper said that the returns for each additional year of schooling in Australia were 5.1 per cent for men and 5.2 per cent for women.

The figures were 12.7 per cent and 13 per cent respectively in Britain.

For Japan, they were 7.5 per cent and 9.4 per cent respectively; while in the US, they were 7.4 per cent and 9.6 per cent.

Another study, a World Bank policy research paper, had reported that the average return on each additional year of schooling was 9.9 per cent in Asia, 11.7 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and 12 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The authors concluded that the study showed that there was a substantial pay-off to education in Singapore.

‘As Singapore restructures itself and shifts from a technology-oriented society to a knowledge-based info hub, there will be increasing demand for high-skilled workers,’ they said.

‘The premium on investing in higher education should encourage and provide greater incentives for individuals to pursue such qualifications.’

I came across this particular article in our national newspapers, the Straits Times, this morning. For anyone who’s interested in the original e-copy of it, you may click on the link.

At first sight, I thought, “Hey! This is part of the government’s campaign to encourage the people to further their studies. Hmm.. And to tell the world that we have a whole crate of highly educated people aka workforce in the country!!”

However, upon second thoughts, this probably reflects the stereotyped thinking of our citizens. Why would such a phenomenom arise? Now, wait a minute, is this all part of the *whispers*government’s propaganda ?? *whispers* Ssshhh…!

Education. Education is the first criterion which the Singaporean employer goes by. This standard has been kindly set by our very own civil service. Therefore, if you are not a university graduate… Bah! You are out! Jeez… You have lousy grades… Boom! You are also out! They do not care if you have other redeemable qualities such as leadership, good communication skills etc. So what happens? They recruit people who top their classes, mug well and regurgitate the exact wordings of the textbook. Forgive me, but this is really how the Singapore educational system works. Not much room for creativity here. I do not deny that, among the smart alecks, there are some who excel in both IQ and EQ. However, by taking results and educational standard as prime criteria, many other talented people have been left out.

Not only that, the appraisal and promotional chances an individual has, in civil service depends not only the experience and contributions he has chalked up in his years of service but also on his O Levels, A Levels and what-have-yous. Therefore, if he acquired a D grade in either his ‘O’s or his ‘A’s, it may well plague him for the rest of his working life in the public sector!!*shiver*

Now you know why children commit suicide due to educational stress in this meritocratic system. Because, they know that if they make a bad grade in primary school, they will be haunted by it for the rest of their lives. How do they know?! Our national newspapers said so….