Foolish to think that the old ways of planning education… “It would be foolish to think that the old ways of planning education will continue to be effective” says the education minister Ong Ye Kung. Foolish to think that the old ways of planning education will continue to be effective? Well of course he will say that since the ministry places a hard cap on university admissions. What he is trying to do is to dissuade people from attaining a university degree. But he is not one of the hopefuls trying to gain admissions into a local university. Neither is he one of the IP students who only have a PSLE certificate to show if they don’t do well in A levels. For these students, grades are everything. Because that’s the first thing that local universities consider for admissions. Just look at the indicative grade profiles of students who successfully gain admissions. Even a very decent BBB for the H2 subjects, will mean more than half of the courses offered by the university to be out of reach. Limited Choices for those who cannot gain admissions into a local university That is terrifying for a JC student. Because career options are few and far between for the A level holder. Whilst the JC student studies very hard, the subject coverage are mostly not technical in nature. A level graduates do not gain technical skills unlike the polytechnic counter parts. Of course there are other options available. Frequently this involves the plethora of private university options. The most notable is SIM. These institutions frequently run courses for other universities. Let me do a cost comparison for you between the same course run by SIM for a University of London program: Then an equivalent in SMU. As you can see, private university options do not receive any MOE training subsidies. Consequently, the fees are much more expensive. Unfortunately, this may be another bottleneck for someone who comes from an average middle class family and who cannot qualify for the local university. And that is also considering that not all courses are available for students in such institutions. Frequently, the courses that are not available are also those that directly qualify students into the profession. Courses such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Architecture etc. Foolish to think that the old ways of planning education will NOT be effective! So the old ways of education planning is not foolish but effective. Unless the university starts changing their admissions rules. What I think the education minister really meant is that gaining a university degree does not mean one may find a job after graduation. But he does not want to say that outright, because that places the burden on the government. To create enough jobs to hire all the graduates afterwards. And this task is getting harder by the day. It is easier to say, ‘look you chose the university route and this is your plight now. Your choice, your fault, not mine’. How do JC students navigate the education landscape in this backdrop? Foolish to think that the old ways of planning education can be changed If you want to get ahead, you got to take control of your academic future. You gotta design and maximize your own learning journey. For many, relying solely on school is insufficient. Which is why many seek out tutors with exceptional experience to guiding them to academic success. However, time is of essence so the JC student have to pick great tutors with care. This checklist I created may be helpful. In addition, look for opportunities to allow you to gain skills that will differentiate you from your compatriots come university admissions time. Unfortunately, many JC students think that these skills can be acquired through CCAs, I think that is unwise and lay out my thoughts and recommendations here. All the best for your JC life and I hope that you will achieve your desired grades as well as qualify for your course in the future.