Survey may not be accurate reflection, say private education players

A survey released yesterday found that employment rates of graduates from private schools compared poorly to those from public universities.

But this may not be an accurate reflection of the scene, industry players said. Established private education players said private schools have varying standards and should not be lumped together.

Kaplan Singapore president Leon Choong said private education institutions "have a myriad of differences in their programme offerings, conditions in which a school operates and delivers on its programmes, the standing of their university partners and, to a large extent, the... student profiles and their success stories".

Schools said the survey results may be skewed, as it garnered only a 32 per cent response rate from those polled. Similar surveys for autonomous universities and polytechnics usually have a rate of about 70 per cent.

Management Development Institute of Singapore secretary-general R. Theyvendran said employability statistics for different private schools and public universities would differ as methodologies and response rates vary. "The sample size is definitely not a good representation of the whole private education landscape," he added.

Observers said employers still have a perception that public university degree programmes are more rigorous. There is also a stigma that private school students are weaker in academics.

Mr Paul Heng, managing director of NeXT Career Consulting Group, said hiring managers may think that "private schools are a secondary choice for students and, thus, less attractive".

Despite the less-than-stellar survey findings, experts believe that it is up to graduates to prove themselves in the job market.

Ms Linda Teo, country manager at ManpowerGroup Singapore, said alumni play a role in paving the way for their juniors. "They have to demonstrate through their work performance that private schools' graduates are as capable as, if not more so than, graduates from public universities."

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'Survey may not be accurate reflection, say private education players'. Print Edition | Subscribe