Asked about government spending on scholarships and scholarships for foreign students, Education Minister Mr Ong Ye Kung said: "The main purpose of our education system is to serve the needs of Singaporeans and no Singaporean has ever been displaced by an institute of Higher Education (IHL) for international students. "
However, using the National University of Singapore (NUS) as an example, we can see that its website clearly indicates restricted freedom at the institute due to the facilities and student-teacher ratio for each academic year.
The website says:
"All undergraduate courses at NUS have limited job vacancies. This ensures that we have sufficient opportunities to support our students and maintain an optimal student-teacher ratio for effective teaching. "
The NUS website also provides a breakdown of the number of male and female undergraduate and postgraduate students for each academic year by course, but does not specify a breakdown of the ratio between international and local students.
But looking at the data on the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) website, QS notes that 7,645 of the 30,049 students at NUS are international students. Now, NUS does not dispute the data provided by QS, as the university spokesman was quoted in June as saying that the QS ranking indicates that the Institute's efforts in research and education are underlining.
However, when we look at the total number of students at NUS for the 2018/2019 academic year, it is slightly higher than that for QS, with about 39,923 students. In particular, NUS says they have 30,093 students and 1,0793 postgraduate students. Now, based on the slight difference in the total number of students marked by QS and NUS, we can estimate that the actual number of international students of NUS may be slightly larger than that of QS.
All this to say, there are a limited number of spots in NUS, with about 25% (calculated using figures from QS) going to international students. This ratio is similar to the ratio of international students to local students enrolled by QS at Nanyang Technological University and Singapore University of Management.
Considering that we know that there are a limited number of places in universities such as NUS due to limited opportunities, we can safely say that with every international student enrolled as a student, the local student is deprived of the chance to get a degree from local universities.
In the same session of Parliament, Mr Ong also noted that international students who hoped to study at Singapore universities were subjected to a higher standard of admission. He said: "In fact, the process is, if you are applying for university, you must meet a standard that is higher than that for locals."
But when we look at the NUS qualification standards for local and international students, we see that this is not always the case.
For a fair comparison, we will look at the requirements for admission of an international student with an A Level qualification compared to that of a Singaporean student with a Singapore-Cambridge GCE A Level. We compare them as Levels A are a recognized international qualification.
For international students applying for NUS, they need "a good pass in at least 3 subjects per level". In addition, they do not need SAT Subject Tests, English qualifications such as IELTS or university entrance exams.
On the other hand, local students need good results in three A-level subjects, a knowledge inquiry (KI) or a general ledger (GP), work on a A-level project and meet the mother tongue requirement (MTLL) ( minimum O score for MTLL paper).
As you can see, a Singaporean student has to jump more hoops to qualify for a NUS position than an international student. Not only do they compete for limited places with Singaporeans, they also have to do more to prove themselves at universities.
Therefore, how can the Minister say that Singaporean students are not deprived of their place at local universities by international students receiving scholarships or scholarships for training?