Considering underpaid, unemployed local graduates EP and S-Pass should be better calibrated

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By: Frank Doe

It is deeply disconcerting to read the deplorable state of job market for Singaporeans -consecutively for two days in The Straits Times.

One report said that 70,000 Singaporeans pursuing degrees and diplomas through the private education sector here, many of them lagged far behind their peers from the public universities of NUS, NTU & SMU in the job market in terms of low placement rate and lower median starting pay.

Many remain unemployed or doing part-time jobs or contract work upon graduation.

Mr Ong Ye Kung, the Acting Minister for Education, implored that graduates from our private tertiary institutions “need to know these pragmatic but important facts” of a dim employment prospect compared with their peers from the public universities.

Certainly Mr Ong ought to know that this is an inappropriate comparison in the given circumstances.

A more appropriate comparison would be with that of the thousands of imported graduates with foreign third world university degrees working here.

That should be a more meaningful comparison to take the right course of actions to address the concerns of our local jobless graduates.

Off the cuff, a systematic and calibrated reduction of Employment Passes and S-Passes from these foreign PMETs would free up the much needed positions for our under-employed and unemployed.