Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ASPIRE committee: What's the idea to me

The Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) is out but I haven't look at it very closely. I see it as a good thing but I am not completely in touch with the detailed recommendations. Most of us leave such things to the government. We only worry about where this is taking us and what roles do we play.

Conceptually it is just four things.

If you course through life uneducated you are likely to have no security, money, power or status. If you are among the earliest post independence graduates from the then University of Singapore, on the strength of your degree alone and that you can speak English, you would quite soon have security, money, power and status.

If you obtain a university degree today which no employer is interested to hire you especially when compared to a poly or ITE graduate, you get no security and money forget about power and status. The government is gently trying to steer people away from this.

Don't put the cart before the horse, status should come after security and money. Good Christians like Lim Siong Guan don't care for status but had it forced upon them. These guys live by, "He must increase and I must decrease". Not difficult to persuade such good people to opt for the Poly or ITE route if they do not qualify for a good university. Fact of life is such types are too few to matter to policy makers. Practically everyone is a status seeker and getting that university degree is the first goal. A very tall order to dissuade them from wanting that degree, so in yesterday ST they made a point to include two signature success stories without university degrees.

A few weeks ago, I had to attend a niece's wedding dinner. At the table wifey's brother asked his teenage son to seat with me. To cut a long story short, the father rue to me that every cousin is a graduate except his two kids. His boy is in final year ITE doing his industrial attachment. I spent most of the evening talking and learning from him and trying to avoid his two graduate cousins at the same table. I didn't want to tell his dad like everyone would have that it is OK not be make it to university. I also thought it was unrealistic except for the 0.1% to have the success of the curry puff maker Rolina,  much less the Michelin Starred sushi chef. The right thing to do that evening was just honour his son by giving him as much attention as I could. That evening wifey and I offered some advice to two young graduates but I was a student to the ITE trainee, the sort who would have to take directions from young graduate bosses out there.

We have to close the circle. At the work place the top bosses who day to day do not work side by side with the workers should listen to the workers even as those middle managers have to take directions from the top bosses, and the workers obey the instructions of these managers.

Respect those at the bottom and learn to honour them. In this way you credit some of your status to their account and enable them to grow. Narrow the status divide and eventually the income gap will also narrow.

1 comment:

  1. Na.. my bet Singapore will fail on this

    it simply not in the gene