Civil Service Perceives Private Degree Qualifications As Second Class

I share the sentiments in Mr Max Leong’s letter “Look beyond job applicants’ schools” (Nov 18) and agree with Mr Jeffrey Law in the letter “Use employment aptitude test to measure job suitability” (Nov 19).

I graduated from a foreign university via a tie-up programme with one of the largest private tertiary education institutions in Singapore. It was a three-year part-time degree programme.

But after working hard to obtain my degree while having to work full-time, I found that my graduate qualification was not well received by some employers. I had more than eight years of relevant working experience when I graduated and was registered with several professional specialist bodies. However, I still faced prejudice and discrimination for being a graduate of a private university here. I made multiple applications to relevant graduate postings for four years, but met no success.

Even my current employer, whom I have been working for over the past five years, was cold to my request when I asked to be placed on a graduate scheme after I obtained my degree. Instead, my employer has continued to put me on a diploma-holder scheme, citing reasons such as no available space under the degree-holder scheme, my degree’s lack of relevance to the job, my university not being among the world’s top 200 universities and so on.

As highlighted by Mr Leong and Mr Law, a good attitude, passion and working experience are important attributes that employers should look for in potential job applicants. The recognition of these attributes in our employment and human resource best practices, whether in the public or private sector, should be the way forward, rather than a preference for graduates from certain higher institutions.

I sincerely hope there will be a paradigm shift that will allow equal opportunity to all qualified graduates and I urge all stakeholders to work towards this goal.


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