The OECD has published the biggest ever global education rankings with Singapore coming out top.

Overall rankings (based on maths and science, at age 15):

1. Singapore
2. Hong Kong
3. South Korea
4. Japan (joint)
4. Taiwan (joint)
6. Finland
7. Estonia
8. Switzerland
9. Netherlands
10. Canada

The rankings are based on test score on 76 countries. The scores were based on knowledge of maths and science among 15 year olds.

Vietnam scored 12th, Thailand 47th and Indonesia 69th. Malaysia where most of the FTs in Singapore come from, scored 52nd. India, China, Philippines, Myanmar were not ranked.

Even countries like Australia, UK and US where some of the Caucasian FTs working in Singapore are hailed from, were ranked 14th, 20th and 28th.

“This is the first time we have a truly global scale of the quality of education,” said the OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher.

“The idea is to give more countries, rich and poor, access to comparing themselves against the world’s education leaders, to discover their relative strengths and weaknesses, and to see what the long-term economic gains from improved quality in schooling could be for them,” he said.

“The quality of schooling … is a powerful predictor of the wealth that countries will produce in the long run.”

The findings will be formally presented at the World Education Forum in South Korea next week, where the United Nations is to convene a conference on targets for raising global education by 2030.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, pleased with the findings, said, “We have to continue to think about the skills in the future (that) will matter greatly to our young people.”

Alright to have qualifications from degree mills

However, from the latest Parliamentary replies from the new Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, qualification doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

On Monday (11 May), in response to Parliamentary questions from NCMP Gerald Giam about foreign applicants with qualifications from degree mills applying for S-Pass and EP, Minister Lim said that MOM will disregard these qualifications (‘Lim: FTs from degree mills can still get EP or S-Pass‘).

But he added that these foreign applicants can still be issued a work pass based on “stringent criteria in terms of experience and salary in order to qualify for the EP or S Pass”.

In other words, foreign applicants who have submitted sub-standard qualifications from degree mills can still be admitted by MOM to work in Singapore. The minimum salary criteria for S-Pass holder is $2,200 while that of EP holder is $3,300.

It then begs the question – what’s the use if Singaporeans are the best educated in the world when MOM keeps opening the door for an avalanche of sub-standard FTs to compete with Singaporeans for jobs in Singapore?

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