Why do Malaysians choose Singapore for education instead?

By January 29, 2019Perspectives

TL;DR – It makes you feel like part of a family.

There is a thread on question-and-answer site Quora discussing why Malaysians choose to come to Singapore to study. Or specifically, the question was worded as such,

Why do Malaysians have such little faith in their own education system that they flock over to Singapore for Singaporean schools?

Out of seven responses to the question, this particular response by user Terence Mok, who is originally from Malaysia, stands out. It has since been viewed over 22,200 times and ‘upvoted’ 282 times.

Why do Malaysians have such little faith in their own education system that they flock over to Singapore for Singaporean schools?

Answer (1 of 8): I have to be frank to be of value. I am from JB. I left Malaysia to Singapore on an ASEAN scholarship after my UPSR exam. I attended the six-year IP at National Junior College. I then attended Columbia University in New York City, and then MIT.

Here are some of his points:

1)He begins by offering his views on the quality of an education system and how it is something that can be measured by outcomes – and not faith. As such he came to Singapore because to him, Malaysia’s education system is “objectively bad”.

2)He then touches on how Malaysians are being “forced to learn Malay” even though English is the “working-language”. He explains that the only domain in Malaysia that uses the Malay language is the civil service and law while in the private sector, most businesses have contracts prepared in English, have financial accounts reported in English, and meetings conducted in English.

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3)The Chinese community, however, have a choice between learning Malay or Chinese as a first language. He was hence sent to a top Chinese-medium primary school where he’d excelled in the exams “with very little effort. ” According to him, the curriculum is no where as difficult as Singapore’s PSLE curriculum.

4)When it came to secondary school, his parents were deciding between a private British boarding school and Singapore. The latter was eventually chosen because it’s nearer to his home in JB and he will not seem “misplaced in a white country”. He got into the six-year IP at National Junior College on an ASEAN scholarship and subsequently attended Columbia University, followed by MIT, citing that if he had stayed on in Malaysia, he will “not have made it to these schools”

5) The next paragraph probably summarises it all:

You know why some people value the Singapore education system? They make you feel like you have a role to play. They make you feel like there is someone looking out for you, looking out for your future. They make you feel like they need you, and will do whatever it takes to prepare you. They make you feel like they’re a father or a mother, and you, a son. They make you feel like you’re part of a family. That regardless of where you came from, regardless of how you look like, we’re all part of something huge, something potentially amazing. It may never be realised, we may never know what it is. But perhaps the ride itself is the reward. I’m okay with that.

The author is currently on a gap year and intends to return to Singapore after that, to help the country “continue to progress”.

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Author Zahra

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