The Straits Times
Published on Dec 01, 2012

Why popular JCs likelier to produce medical, law undergrads


I WOULD expect articles in The Straits Times to be more logical as the writers should possess better critical-thinking skills than the man in the street to clarify misconceived ideas to enhance cohesiveness among the different groups.

Instead, the article ("Time to redefine academic success"; Thursday) has misconstrued the fact that selection of students for courses in the universities is based on the quality of the applicants, including their academic performance, through written tests, personal statements and interviews.

The article implies that not everyone is given an equal chance to opt for the more popular courses in the universities, like law and medicine, suggesting that favour is granted to students from the more popular junior colleges to the disadvantage of students from the lesser-known junior colleges and polytechnics.

This is untrue.

These popular courses are more demanding and thus the undergraduates pursuing the courses have to be more academically inclined, besides having the right attitude.

In medicine, for instance, we do not want to end up producing incompetent doctors practising in our hospitals.

So, candidates are likelier to be from the more popular junior colleges. It is difficult to find academically strong applicants from the lesser-known junior colleges or polytechnics.

In other words, everybody stands a chance to be a doctor but some fail to be admitted to the medical faculty because they are less suitable.

Articles on the topic should be written only after a careful study of everything, from the academic performance of students of the different institutions to how candidates for the undergraduate courses are selected. Otherwise, the already misinformed public will be led further astray, causing unhappiness.

Yeo Boon Eng (Ms)