Monday, February 21, 2022

Making new friends from SIT


A long-time reader contacted me a few weeks ago and invited me to speak in SIT in an event conducted by a breakaway public speaking club that splintered off the Toastmasters movement. We spent some time trying to make the event a reality until SIT bureaucrats wrote to me seeking acknowledgement on three sets of rules that I had to follow during the event. 

One rule which I cannot abide by was that I am not allowed to disparage SIT as an institution during my talk. 

I felt that this rule infringed on my freedom to express candid points which, if I'd executed the talk, would ultimately do SIT students a lot more good than ill. It is also unfair that a tenured professor can flout this rule without threatening his career.   

So let me give you an idea of the speech I intended to give :

  • I hoped to open with a comparison of salary and employment data on the latest graduate employment survey. Although the data is not in yet, I believe that there is a salary gap between NUS and SIT if current trends from last year persist. 
  • I will also review the apprenticeship results and compare that with papers written by government economists to build up my case further. If what I read is correct, apprenticeship numbers are too low to move the needle at the moment to even justify sending my own kids to a polytechnic.
  • What I will attempt to draw from my data is to support the conclusion that an SIT graduate would need more than just their degree paper to compete against the Big 3 Universities. Life is unfair.
  • I will propose "qualifications laundering" to resolve the issue - SIT graduates can trawl through Coursera to "graduate" with Ivy League or MIT credentials based on topics of their interest. This is a signal that they are truly passionate about their career.
  • They should also supplement their resume with a CCA leadership record.
  • Finally they will search for jobs that they only a rare few would enjoy. ( Eg. Embalmer )

In my planned structure, there will be multiple points where I can be seen as disparaging not just SIT but also some government policies. Even if my reader would enjoy my presentation, I doubt he can guarantee that I would not hurt the feelings of some of his classmates. The likely outcome may be getting cancelled like Jordan Peterson. 

So I made the decision to cancel the talk.

 If I'm going to acknowledge a set of rules, I should sincerely abide by them. In this case, I know I can't.

I think both myself and the students have worked hard but could not come up with a program and there was wasted effort on both sides, so I got them out and bought them some coffee. I also suggested a few names who can replace my speaking slot.

SIT students turned out to be great ambassadors who spent time explaining to me their coursework. I was informed of many misconceptions I have about SIT - there are actually A level students in the program. 

It was also a great learning opportunity for me. The valuable ideas I got from them is how young people look at their personal finances and it's very DeFi and crypto-centric, I promised that what I learnt from them would influence the training I am about to conduct. 

Overall what is my impression of SIT? Actually, it's always been positive because Dr Wealth sales staff are products of the program and I am a beneficiary of their excellent work ethic. 

But I did make a disclaimer - I have been super candid about polytechnic graduates and private degree holders on this blog, given what I read I doubt I'd even spare NUS Science grads in a future article - so it would not be fair to talk glowingly about SIT simply because I really like their graduates. 

I would like to review the graduate survey numbers before I set out a concluding article on SIT. 

The NUS and NTU survey numbers are out, I'm still waiting for SUTD, SUSS and SIT.


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