Responding to questions why is there still not a single PAP Minister without a degree qualification, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung retorted in Singlish:
“You wait lah, we are at 4G only. Things will evolve. One day, not too far off in the future, Singapore can have a prime minister who does not have a university degree. A minister’s job is so multi-faceted. For policy development, you do need a certain level of cognitive ability that may be associated with having a degree. But that doesn’t mean that those who don’t take the degree route do not have such ability. Certain people may decide to take a vocational route.”
The Singapore government has in recent years discouraging Singaporeans to go for degree qualifications. However the public has been sceptical about the government’s claims because the civil service and private sector remains fixated on paper qualifications when hiring.
When questioned by the state media reporter why are there so many PAP Ministers coming from the same schools, specifically Raffles Junior College, Minister Ong Ye Kung denied there has been cronyism in the government:
“I don’t think I can explain that. Perhaps the RJC we went to took in people from many different backgrounds too. But what is most important is that they are good ministers, in my opinion.”
The Education Minister also defended himself and his former partner Education Minister Ng Chee Meng’s lack of progress for 2½ years at the Education Ministry:
“Don’t look down on incremental steps. It all adds up to a significant transformation over time. Such as, one day, having a non-graduate as prime minister of Singapore.”