Through the five polytechnics, the Singapore Government has just introduced a new course called the Enhanced Post-Diploma Certificate, which aims to give refresher course training for polytechnic graduates who wish to re-enter the industry of their diploma taken more than 2 years ago. The course is said to be more intensive and will be as short as one or two months. 10 courses will be offered two times a year, in July and October.

However, it remains to be seen if this 2 month course will be any useful to polytechnic graduates because this certificate is not recognized. Recognized post-diploma advancement certifications are still Advanced Diplomas or bachelor degrees. Having an Enhanced Post-Diploma Certificate effectively render one no advantage over a fresh diploma graduate. Also, it is very likely those who have gone obtained this certification, may still be discounted for the lack of working experience and be offered a fresh diploma graduate’s salary.

According to an exposed diplomatic exchange between Singapore and the United States revealed by WikiLeaks, the Singapore Government does not want more Singaporeans to get their degrees:

“Education System Not Helping

¶9. (C) Singapore boasts a highly competitive and
well-regarded primary and secondary education system, but the
number of Singaporeans completing a tertiary education is
relatively low. Only 23 percent of Singaporean students
entering primary school complete a degree at a local
four-year university. In other knowledge-economies such as
Japan’s, around 50 percent of students complete a university
degree. However, according to Cheryl Chan, Assistant
Director of the Planning Division at the Ministry of
Education (MOE), the government does not plan to encourage
more students to get a higher education. The university
enrollment rate will continue to be maintained at 20-25
percent because the Singaporean labor market does not need
everyone to get a four-year degree, she asserted.”

It is hence no surprise why the Singapore Government is today telling Singapore diploma graduates to get an unaccredited post-diploma certificate in the market, and not building more universities or giving subsidies to Singaporeans to upgrade and get their degrees.

In his last National Day Rally speech in 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that there is don’t need to get a degree to live in Singapore:

“They may not have degrees, but they are working hard and trying to improve themselves. So long as you work hard, you can always hope for a brighter future here in Singapore.”

The PAP Minister of National Development who is currently embroiled in the Town Council funding dispute with the Opposition wards, Khaw Boon Wan also said:

“You own a degree, but so what? That you can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless”

Despite so, the number of foreign degree holders given S and E pass was increased by 77% over the past 5 years.

Photo Credit: Alex Tan

With the influx of cheap foreign degree holders working at the statutory Minimum of $2200, do you think Singapore diploma graduates can have “a good life and a good job”?