Degree can benefit some students

Mr Lee Teck Chuan has cautioned school-leavers on having airy-fairy expectations in acquiring a university degree ("Be realistic about what a degree can offer"; Sept 28).

Be that as it may, in some professions such as business, professional sports or restaurant management, a degree is not a requirement for finding a job.

Many technical writers lack degrees. However, those with degrees are viewed as being more versatile as they are trained in writing in a variety of genres and for online audiences.

Many who go to university have not decided on their future career, but pursuing a degree gives you more time to make up your mind.

The spectre of successful college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs weighs on young people making the decision on whether or not to go to college.

In Singapore, law, medicine, business and IT are tops in a recent Graduate Employment Survey.

At the bottom of the table are industrial design, art design and media, applied sciences, arts and science.

At a recent talk in Melbourne, Mr Eddie Teo, chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), said that if our young imbibe everything they are taught uncritically, it means that they are not thinking for themselves and have closed minds.

Mr Teo said that many PSC scholarship applicants have poor knowledge of Singapore's history, are not particularly interested in current and foreign affairs, are too risk-averse and lack imagination and creativity.

Perhaps the school system has to bear part of the blame.

Our top students will still go to university to acquire a degree to fulfil their ambitions.

But there are other paths too - polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education, where students can equip themselves for jobs that suit their interests and find rewarding careers thereafter.

Heng Cho Choon