Start with a dialogue: “Girl
ah! You must work hard and go to a university. Get a degree and you will have a
good life in the future.” These words are very commonly heard among Singaporean
kids. Every day, every week – we are constantly reminded to put studies as our
upmost priority. Well, have you ever thought as to why they might say that? To
me, it is no surprise when we are living in Singapore, to have a better future,
a degree would only be relevant.
Even though there were no
figures reported recently, a study done by Ministry of Manpower (MOM), reported
that every extra year of school, increases a worker’s earnings by 13.7%. A
diploma holder’s salary averaged to about $2000 for starters. While a degree
holder is $3000. The thousand-dollar gap only widens further as their working
life progresses. Therefore, in general, this means that degree holders have a
That brings me to my second
point. With the economy growing each year, living expenses in Singapore would
only rise as well.
For example, every year, train
and bus fares increases like there is no tomorrow. As you can see, Singstat has
reported an increase in receipts collected for transport services. From a
whopping 89,200 million dollars in 2010 to a rise of 112,251 million dollars
over five years (2015). That’s almost 21% of an increase! While compared to the
population of Singapore, there was only an increase of 8%. This shows that the
fares over the year have not only doubled, but tripled in price! If anything,
the prices of public transport should be rising steadily with Singapore’s
As the prices of train and
bus fare rises significantly over the years, COE prices had also went up by 9%!
Small percentage you might think, but multiply that with the price of a car
(point to the screen behind with price) – it’s a lot.
In addition, not only is transport
expenses in Singapore expensive, but other cost of living such as food, housing,
clothes, utility bills, medical bills – you name it, they are all pricey as
According to the survey done
by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EUI) just last November, Singapore has withheld
it’s titled for being the ‘most expensive country’ to live in, for the fourth
consecutive year – while Hong Kong came in second, and Zurich third.
Thus, with all these sky-scraping
expenses, a higher income would be beneficial when we’re paying for it.
Lastly, some might say that
a degree would not be as relevant to a diploma because of its’ lack of skills
learning. However, that is untrue! While polytechnics like RP have problem-based
learning (PBL), universities like SMU also have a similar teaching approach called
‘project-based learning’. With project-based learning, students gain knowledge
and skills while investigating about a real-world problem.
Therefore, with skills and
degree, universities graduates are able to put on a real fight against diploma
In conclusion, sure, having
a degree isn’t the only solution to having a good future but optimally – a
degree still does provide a higher baseline as compared to non-degree holders. With
that, I end my speech reiterating that a degree would still be relevant in future
economy. Thank you.