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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Honest Men in Government

We have honest men/women in government who listen and respond with hard data and numbers. I am referring to Ng Eng Hen's revelations about the PSLE scores of those from lower socioeconomic groups. Children who score in the top 30% in the PSLE do come from lower socio-economic classes. I do have still have some concerns that these scores are lag indicators however, and that the inertia in social movement via education won't translate into numbers till a few years later. But at least the government has heard, and has responded... and I am confident, will continue to track the numbers describing social mobility.

We have intelligent men/women in government who know how to make sense of the streams of internet invective sloshed all over public internet forums and in blogosphere. There's been so much poison dripping all over the internet about foreign talent, lack of work-life balance, concerns about childcare. Many of these issues are related and people have had a field day slinging acid word bombs at the government. However, recently, there have been measures to up productivity, force the employment of low-skilled locals, push for work-life strategies. I do have some concerns about whether work-life strategies will take hold in organisations, but I think it is a good start because the Singaporean workforce (without the pressures of cheap foreign labour) would now be in a better position to negotiate better work lives from their employers... and doing so will benefit the family unit. Even without the implementation of paternity leave.

We have men/women of courage and integrity who aren't afraid to admit they've been wrong... after all, there has been a tacit admission that there was a lack of co-ordination between the various government initiatives with the creation of a new post in the PM's office (just to look into co-ordination issues).

It just needed a bit of dialogue, is all... and mutual understanding. Instead of telling us we're lazy and uncompetitive, there really has been an attempt to listen and understand. That's a good thing. Not many governments are like that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The challenge in looking at numbers such as these is that measurements are naturally 'outcomes', while education as a social leveller can only be expected to deliver equality in opportunities.

Add to the mix the fact that opportunities tend to be merit driven (and thus outcome) driven as well, and the whole thing gets very complicated.