First of all, my heart goes out to the students and alumni of the JCs which got merged. Years of history were flushed down the drain when the authorities decided to make it happen. What made me particularly furious is that non-elite JC students were made to memorise answers from top JC students because educators do not have the confidence that they can come up with arguments and ideas of their own. This was unheard of during my time.
The unPC reason for this merger is that the JCs were not elite enough. As much as we hate to hear this, this is a good answer.
JCs were merged because they were not elite enough. End of Story.
Here are some of my other thoughts on this matter :
a) Instead of blaming Eunoia JC, you should blame the Polytechnics instead
Certain quarters of the Web had their ire targeted at Eunoia JC and asked why Eunoia was not terminated instead. Let's get real - Eunoia is an elite JC with a specific targeted audience of IP students. It is an elite JC, why should it be shut down ?
I believe that the merger of JCs largely occurred because the recent policy is to include Polytechnic students in local universities in numbers that is lot more generous than in the past. This creates the illusion of inclusivity in our society. As such, the elite O level cohort, that in the past has almost exclusively gone into JCs, has redistributed themselves in a 1:4 ratio across Polytechnics:JCs, this dampens the quality of intake of a non-elite JC if the total JC intake maintains its current size.
b) You need to understand the concept of the Golden Road in Singapore education
I came up with the metaphor of the Golden Road to see if things can be explained in a better way. The Golden Road is part of the education system that puts a person into a local university from primary school.
The Golden Road during my time was simply Primary School, Secondary School, JC and then University. These days the road has many splits and forks and for some really elite folks, it can now look like : Primary School, IP Program, University. The government clearly wants to build another Golden Road based on Primary School, Secondary School, Polytechnic and University.
Staying on the Golden road is crucial because it virtually guarantees a middle class existence. For most folks who succeed, it means $3,600 starting pay and a much easier time finding a spouse.
But the Golden Road has limitations. The width of the road must be kept small so that the middle class will continue to be prosperous. The government currently wants to widen the Golden Road to cover 40% of the primary school intake but widening it too much will result in an overeducated but underemployed population much like that of Japan and Europe.
So there are physical limits to the Golden Road. Personally, I doubt the Golden road can accommodate 40% of the population, I speculate that the final policy effect is that SUTD, SUSS and SIT will become second tier degree programs that will have incomes about 10% below the other universities. Let's see whether I am right in this regard.
c) The Golden Road is a Road of immense angst and unhappiness
Given the pressure to stay on the Golden Road, the pressure will be immense. On the Golden Road, emphasis will never be on education and learning.
The emphasis is on scoring and passing exams of increasing difficulty. Learning occurs as an incidental effect because of the emphasis on scoring well for exams. Teachers will be benchmarked primarily on scoring of their students. The Golden Road emphases on signalling and weighing students against one another, so don't expect to learn skills that are immediately practical in the real world.
And there will be cases of depression and suicide.
Ultimately, the brutal truth for non-elite JC students is this :
The Golden Road is brutal and inhumane. You can step off the Golden Road and attend a Polytechnic where even the top students there actually want a harder curriculum, but you obviously chose this road because you want a guaranteed middle class existence.
d) The Golden Road is a public-private sector collaboration
Why do I have so much conviction on this idea of the Golden Road ?
Professional Service Firms are starting to realise that the best path to profitably comes not from skills but from insecurity of their human capital, this pushes people to work 100 hour weeks. Year after year, thousands of students graduate into law, accounting and management consulting firms which have mastered the ability to turn this form of personal insecurity into company profits. Professionals and kept on their toes because the hours billed are benchmarked against each other.
You can work yourself literally to death, divorce or insanity under this system !
Our education system has decided to collude with this industrial complex to make Insecurity Singapore's greatest human capital export. Insecurity makes Singapore a great nation that is the envy of the International community.
I think there is a way to beat this system : Read our financial blogs and we will show you how you can be free from all this bullshit.