Foreigners & Singapore

Topics: Singapore, Singapore Press Holdings, Lee Hsien Loong Pages: 5 (1839 words) Published: October 12, 2011
Examine the impact that foreigners have on Singapore.

In Singapore, there has been a rise in the number of foreigners over the last few years. Foreigners, who include highly skilled professionals, lowly skilled workers, and even foreign students negative impact brought about by them. Foreigners are considered to be a double-edged sword by many Singaporeans. The impact that foreigners have on Singapore can be classified in terms of education, economic, social and political impact. Increasing the birth rates, increasing the quality of the local students, adding value to our economy are just a few of the many positive impact brought about by them. However, competition in the academic race and contradicting ways of living which lead to social problems are examples of negative impact that foreigners have on Singapore. In this essay, the significance of the various impact will be assessed.

Foreigners, in particular, foreign students have both positive and negative social impact on Singapore, in terms of education. Singapore has used the tagline "Singapore: The Global Schoolhouse," opening its doors to international students from countries like the People’s Republic of China, India and Malaysia. Many local students have expressed dissatisfaction about how foreign students are fierce competitors in the education race and deprive them of “shining” in the area of academia. However, the Singapore government has been trying its best to stress that locals should look at the positive side of the picture and examine how this fierce competition will actually help to increase the quality of the students. In the Straits Times, dated January 18 2010, it was reported that Singaporeans are outperforming their foreign counterparts when it comes to studies. Although the recent “Ordinary Level” examination results put the spotlight on the achievements of foreigners, principals and others contacted said that Singaporeans are still at the “top of the tree in this regard.” The Ministry of Education has mentioned that while no doubt foreign scholars are very motivated, local students aim high and have been equipped with their own mindsets. They develop the drive to work even harder to beat their foreign peers in the education race. Singaporean students need to achieve even more stellar results to fight for places in the universities. Such fierce competition will undoubtedly raise the standard of Singapore’s education system. However, it must be noted that these foreign scholars have done academically well in their homelands and have been awarded top scholarships to study in Singapore. Thus, it is inevitable to say that such students do pose a challenge to our local students as they are academically competitive. For example, when the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) Examination results were released last year, the country's leading Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao used the headline: Top O-Level student again a Malaysian”. Such issues stir debates about whether foreign students try to “dominate” the field of education in Singapore and leave our locals behind in the academic race. Singaporeans fear that when foreigners dominate the top scorers’ list in major examinations, they are provided with more opportunities, like being given priority for admission into the top-notch courses in the local universities, than a mediocre local student.

However, it is not entirely right for locals to express such dissatisfaction as the government says that priority is always given to locals. For example, in the Straits Times article, "Foreign students 'don't deprive locals of places'", dated 23 February 2000, the Ministry of Education reported that the foreigners enrolled in universities and polytechnics here do not deprive locals of places. So any increase in foreign students will not be at the expense of locals, Senior Minister of State (Education) Aline Wong also mentioned that all local students who...
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