Even if we have enough to pay for education in Singapore... Our certificates will never be enough to compete with foreign ones. Somehow foreign degrees are gold while local ones are trash. It doesn't even make sense as I'm pretty sure our curriculum is a lot more comprehensive, intensive and competitive.
Plus I really do "like" how when students apply for local universities, they don't get what they want. Everyone seems to have stellar grades nowadays and there really is an issue of grade inflation. Often, a potential candidate is missed out simply because of "limited spaces". The candidates that are chosen are based on the shallow criteria of having good grades rather than passion. "Good" grades nowadays are nothing less than perfection. Schools are definitely sending out the message that "If you aren't perfect, don't bother applying."
Is that seriously how our education system is going to move forward? It kind of disgusts me as I was taught in kindergarten that education is knowledge meant to be applied. It is also a form of joy to be able to learn and there shouldn't be any barriers for doing so. However, as you grow older, you realize that this is not what's happening and you start laughing at the hypocrisy of your teachers.
The barriers in 21st century Singapore will be the entire economy and education system/ culture itself. Also, what we are trained to do is not to think. Rather, to be mechanical drones that memorize and regurgitate the entire textbook on test days. Don't forget to "suck thumb" as well when things go bad as thinking is definitely not encouraged in Singapore.
So let's recap. Firstly, students can't pay for education. School is also hard to get into without "good grades" aka perfection. Gone are the days when schools accept willing students whereby it is now a case of schools picking students rather than eager students picking the school and subjects to study.
Even after getting into school, the courses available will most likely not be their first choice. Once a degree is obtained, it is of little weight when compared to foreign degrees, whether genuine or not, and jobs with salaries that match to to the cost of living are ridiculously hard to find. I'm sure that at least 50% of the population turns out to be either unhappy or dissatisfied or even uninspired by time they reach 40.
So what happens when you lump a whole bunch of grouchy people that went to university doing their second choice courses together?
You finally realize that there is a rising trend with hordes of people doing career switches and going back to school.
There's also the problem of schools being overly selective and turning away potential students for courses that will lead to jobs that are lacking in fresh blood. Eg. Medicine, Law, Dentistry etc.
Let's take law for example. How many students honestly go into family or criminal law upon graduation? And how many more stay on for long term because they are truly passionate? Hmm.... A mere handful. So what does it mean? Everyone is not only trained how to be a drone, but ends up becoming money minded! Why? Because the cost of living is so high and if you do not have money, you simply cannot afford anything. Not even food, housing or education and that brings us back to the topic of education being unaffordable for the average joe.