I saw this pop up on my Facebook feed today:
Mr Julian Low wanted to renew his application to be an instructor with MOE, presumably to teach something related to music in schools in Singapore. It appears that Mr Low has a bachelor degree from NUS. He submitted that as his “highest professional music qualifications”. But it seems that MOE rejected that. As a result, his whole form was rejected.
But MOE is far friendlier than ICA. At least when MOE rejects your application, they tell you the reason and how you can remedy the situation. It would seem that MOE wanted Mr Low to prove that he at least has a ABRSM Grade 5 music theory qualification.
ABRSM is the is an examinations board and registered charity based in London, UK, which provides examinations in music at centres around the world. There are 8 grades, the higher the grade means the better you supposedly are. After getting grade 8, you can go for the diploma that ABRSM offers.
So it seems that MOE doesn’t recognise Bachelor degree in music from NUS. Instead, it appears that MOE thinks that a person with ABRSM grade 5 in music theory knows more about music and is thus more qualified to teach music than someone who has a bachelor degree in music from NUS.
So perhaps MOE isn’t being hypocritical. Degrees really aren’t important. It’s more important to have some qualifications given out by an ang moh organisation. Even if it’s a low level qualification from that organisation that kids no older than 12 could have gotten.
I think this is another classic example of how our civil servants just apply rules unthinkingly, again demonstrating that many of them are nothing more than red tape generating robots. Why else would anyone in MOE reject an application to be a music instructor just because he attached his Bachelor Degree in music from NUS instead of his ABRSM certificate (which I’m sure he has)? What good reasons can there be?
I wonder why this happens. Do we need to spell out every single rule, every single action to be taken in every single case before our civil servants can function properly? What do we need to do before our civil servants are able and willing to work from first principles and inject some amount of empathy and compassion in executing government policies?
I don’t know. I hope someone figures that out soon enough.