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S'pore scores poorly in new subjects

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  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    264,488 posts since Dec '99
    • For six years running, Singapore was ranked the second-most competitive economy in the world by the World Economic Forum (WEF), right behind Switzerland.

      But the Republic has fallen in a new report released today that measures how inclusive and equal countries' economic performance is.

      Switzerland fell to third place behind Norway and Luxembourg among 30 advanced economies.

      While the traditional rankings prized performance in categories that Singapore gets top marks in - such as higher education and training - the new index has indicators that measure how well economic performance translates into social inclusion, such as asset building and entrepreneurship, employment and labour compensation, and fiscal transfers.

      The new yardsticks come a day before world leaders converge in Davos for the annual meeting, and they are part of the WEF's call to governments to shift economic policy priorities to respond more effectively to the insecurity and inequality that accompany technological change and globalisation.

      This means countries that prioritise widespread enjoyment of the fruits of economic growth rank higher than under the old GDP-prioritising model.

      Rounding out the top five are Iceland and Denmark, which were ranked 27th and 12th respectively in the old model.

      Singapore did not get an overall rank because of missing data, said the WEF, although average scores put it around eighth.

      It topped two of the 15 categories judged: health services and infrastructure, and how easy it is for businesses to raise capital.

      But it scored near the bottom in access to education and skills, how concentrated wealth is and social welfare.

      Singapore scored poorly relative to other advanced economies in the average number of years of schooling that Singaporeans get.

      Its score was equally dismal in how many are enrolled in technical and vocational schools.

      The issues are interrelated, said National University of Singapore (NUS) sociologist Paulin Straughan, who noted that aspirations and test scores have risen faster than the number of university places here.

      Historical reasons have also led to a large gap in salary between white- and blue-collar jobs that push people away from becoming plumbers and carpenters, she added.

      "Our society has developed a hierarchy of jobs and of pay, where we underpay the skills-oriented kind of vocation and overpay the others," she said.

      Singapore also lagged behind in a category that measures how far a country is from becoming a rentier society, through yardsticks such as the Gini coefficient, competitiveness of local markets and whether there is a banking monopoly.

      In this area, Singapore ranked 22 out of the 30 advanced economies. But a low ranking here is not necessarily trouble, as what matters is that SMEs can survive and wage earners can make a decent living, said fellow NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser.

      He said: "There is a need to ensure social justice, without harming the incentive for work and doing business."

      The WEF also proposed a set of key performance indicators it said gives "a more complete picture of national economic performance" than from GDP alone, particularly if the ultimate goal of development is sustained and well-rounded advancement of living standards.

      In this Inclusive Development Index, a country's GDP per capita is just one of 12 indicators. Countries that scored better on this index include Cambodia, the Czech Republic and Vietnam. Those that fared badly include the United States and Japan, as well as Brazil, Ireland and Mexico.

       

      TNP

  • iveco's Avatar
    17,088 posts since Mar '04
    • Haha, America the so-called free world, could lose to Communist Vietnam in terms of inclusiveness. If only MLK had become POTUS instead of being shot by an alt-rightard who wanted to seek asylum in British-ruled Rhodesia (now the independent republic of Zimbabwe).

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    •  


      SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s official visit to China and its many positive outcomes are a welcomed assurance that Singapore-China bilateral ties are again making headway.

      Singapore, which will take over as ASEAN chair next year, will promote stronger cooperation between the association and China. The leaders of both countries also discussed the potential of new and existing collaborations, including Singapore’s multiple roles in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

      The numerous possibilities for mutual cooperation between the two countries reaffirm the importance of nurturing Singaporeans who can, in their respective fields, tap into these opportunities and serve as bridges between Singapore and China.

      It is in this spirit that the Singapore Government has long recognised the value of an education in China studies.

      One of its key initiatives was the introduction of China studies as a subject at the pre-university level from 2007. The programme seeks to give students a strong understanding of China’s economic, socio-political and geopolitical development.

      This timely move, according to the Ministry of Education, was in response “to a need for Singaporeans to acquire a good understanding of China and the Chinese mindset, and to develop a deep appreciation of Chinese culture” in the context of China’s rise as a regional and global power.

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      Today, some may question the value of an education in China studies given the deluge of information about China freely available on the Internet.

      While it may be true that Singaporeans know more about China today than compared with a decade ago, their knowledge, gleaned from disparate online sources and acquired out-of-context, is often shallow and detached from geopolitical complexities.

      This is evident from how many Singaporeans responded to the Terrex incident by suggesting that our leaders should not have voiced out in the South China Sea territorial disputes considering that Singapore is not a claimant state. As their reasoning goes, Singapore is a small country whereas China is big and hence we should not have offended China.

       

      image: data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

      Nine Terrex armoured vehicles, which belong to Singapore, were impounded at a cargo terminal in Hong Kong, China earlier in 2017. (Photo: REUTERS: Bobby Yip)

       

      This view betrays a woeful ignorance about how upholding a rules-based international order and the freedom of navigation in international sea lanes is of paramount importance to Singapore’s interests.

      Amid the fast-changing geopolitical landscape, it is perhaps time to rethink how we may best educate Singaporeans about China.

      CHINA STUDIES WITH SINGAPORE CHARACTERISTICS

      A student originating from China once remarked in class that my explanation of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” ­departed from how it was understood in China. ­I had pointed out that “Chinese characteristics” is essentially a catch-all phrase to rationalise the inclusion of non-socialist elements in the ideology.

      And that is precisely how China studies taught in Singapore should be understood: China studies with Singapore characteristics, grounded in the broader context of regional geopolitics from a Singapore perspective.

      There are three reasons why the teaching of China studies with Singapore characteristics is so crucial, in view of the rising power’s growing reach in Asia.

      First, it serves to forestall or guard against a disturbing trend that, hopefully, has not arrived in Singapore.

      In her New York Times op-ed, Merriden Varrall, Director of the East Asia Programme at Australia’s Lowy Institute, raised concerns about Chinese students’ objection to any critical view of China in the Australian classroom and their proclivity to align themselves with the Chinese Communist Party’s official stance.

      Varrall’s account was corroborated by a recent spate of incidents in which lecturers in Australian universities were pressured by Chinese students into apologising for comments or using materials these students see as inimical to China’s interests and therefore are “offensive.”

      In Singapore, Chinese students should be made aware that our China studies syllabus is not designed to toe any other country’s line.

      Under no circumstances should educators of China studies in Singapore be cowed into apologising for teaching, for example, our nation’s official stance on the South China Sea disputes.

       

      image: data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

      An ABC report in June 2017 also highlighted that business leaders “allied to Beijing” were using donations to major political parties in Australia to “buy access and influence, and in some cases to push policies that may be contrary to Australia’s national interest”. (Photo: AFP/Lukas Coch)

       

      Second, a China studies programme that incorporates, for instance, the evolution of Singapore-China relations, will foster an understanding of Singapore’s consistent and pragmatic approach to foreign policy that has underpinned its survival as a small state.

      In this era of fake news and fabricated social media posts, arming Singaporeans with such knowledge would make them more discerning of what they read.

      This is in line with former Senior Minister S Jayakumar’s comments earlier this year on the importance of Singaporeans understanding our foreign policy, so that we do not fall prey to external influences and become an unwitting pawn in their stratagem to harm our own national interests.

      Last, while Singapore and Singaporeans continue to ride on China’s rise and tap into the opportunities afforded by its growing economic might, there is a need to ensure that Singaporeans do not lose sight of our nation’s interests.

      To guard against the alarming prospect of Finlandisation, which refers to how a smaller state has to bend its policies to satisfy the demands of a larger neighbour, we have to nurture Singaporeans - which will include our future leaders, policymakers, diplomats and intellectuals - ­who understand the complexities of engaging China, as well as the opportunities and risks that come along with it.

      A China studies programme with a Singapore perspective will allow students to see China’s development from our position, as a small but nonetheless sovereign state in Asia.

      In short, we need Singaporeans with not only a deep knowledge of China, but also a keen awareness of Singapore’s interests and vulnerabilities.

      And herein lies the value of an education in China studies, with Singapore characteristics.

      Dr Yew Chiew Ping is head of the Contemporary China Studies Minor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.


      Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/commentary-the-growing-importance-of-china-studies-with-9238956

      Edited by Kkman223322 24 Sep `17, 12:49PM
  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    264,488 posts since Dec '99
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