While the Stratis Times chose the headline “Nearly half of PSC awards to heartlanders” (ST, July 26, 2008), I prefer to highlight the still rather big and obvious gap when you compare the proportion of heartlander scholarship holders (47.0%) to the proportion of the general heartlander population (77.8%).
As mentioned in a previous Salary.sg post, 77.8% of all residential dwelling units are HDB flats, while 14.3% are condominiums and private flats, and the remaining 6.2% are private houses, according to Singapore 2007, Statistical Highlights (link).
47.0% is a far cry from 77.8%. We all can tell.
With that in mind, let’s see what Straits Times said:
“(Public Service) Commission says its figures show no discrimination based on family background…”
While I do not dispute the claim that PSC shows no discrimination, we can’t simply imply that from the figures. The numbers do not prove or disprove the existence of discrimination.
The gap between 47.0% and 77.8% is too big!
That said, let’s see what A*Star’s ex-chief Philip Yeo said, paraphrased by ST:
“… if two applicants have equally exceptional grades, (Philip Yeo) would award a scholarship to the one from a humbler household…”
Compare that with what PSC said:
“If they are equally deserving and both meet the PSC’s high standards, PSC will offer an award to both applicants.”
Assuming rich kids do better, do you prefer Philip Yeo’s style or PSC’s?