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Policy Recommendation

This tag is associated with 379 posts

Focus On Access – Not Just Affordability – And Broaden Definitions Of Success

Absent from the recent efforts to increase the diversity of students at Singapore’s independent schools – through which students from low- or middle-income families will enjoy fee subsidies and could qualify for a scholarship for out-of-pocket expenses (ST, Dec. 29) – is a focus on access as well as broadened definitions of success. Put otherwise: In addition to improving the affordability of these schools for academically gifted students from low- or middle-income families, there are outstanding questions on the proportion of students who gain access to these schools in the first place, and on students from these families who may not demonstrate the same scholastic aptitudes, and yet have other talents or abilities which ought to be nurtured. Continue reading

Education, Employers, And Singapore’s Workaholic Culture

An understanding of Singapore’s workaholic culture – given that “Singapore residents in 2015 worked the second longest week in developed cities around the world” (TODAY, Dec. 22) – is not complete without examining the influence of a competitive education system and the role of older employers in perpetuating the need for long work hours, reflected in instances when calls for a better work-life balance is ridiculed as younger workers being demanding or mollycoddled. And because has been established that the long work hours in Singapore compare poorly to the hours of workers from other countries and that blue-collar Singaporean workers still work the longest hours, attempts to improve the status quo ought to focus on the root of these problems. Continue reading

Ground Engagement Should Be The Norm For Politicians And Civil Servants

The recent focus on ground engagement among politicians and civil servants – to “go out and engage stakeholders and Singaporeans” (ST, Nov. 22) and to develop and nurture “a consultative relationship between the government and citizens” (ST, Nov. 22) – is odd not because of its importance in the context of increasingly complex governance demands, but because it might have been assumed that it should be or that it is already the norm. Central to policymaking is an understanding of the problems and how they are perceived by the individuals affected by them, and these interactions with constituents are especially important if the politicians and civil servants hail from different demographic or socio-economic backgrounds, and therefore have dissimilar perspectives and life experiences. Continue reading

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