Credential inflation of tertiary qualifications

Published Date: 06 July 2021 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Shahira Abdullah, Nominated Member of Parliament


To ask the Minister for Education in light of rising proportions of those aged 25 and above attaining tertiary education qualifications and increased job competition, what measures will be taken to prevent and manage the effects of "credential hyperinflation".


1. The "Census of Population 2020" report recently published by the Department of Statistics indicated that the education profile of Singapore residents has improved between 2010 and 2020. Among residents aged 25 years and over in 2020, 48% attained diplomas, degrees and professional qualifications, up from 37% in 2010. This includes diploma and degree graduates from ITE, Polytechnics, Autonomous Universities (AUs), Private Education Institutions (PEIs), and overseas universities. Even with higher education attainment levels, graduate employment rates have in fact remained stable over the past few years and starting wages have risen over time. 9 in 10 graduates from our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) who entered the labour force last year found jobs or traineeships within 6 months of graduation. The median gross monthly salary amongst full-time permanent employed AU graduates has risen from $3,300 in 2015 to $3,700 in 2020.

2. To ensure that our tertiary courses provide young Singaporeans with the skills needed to access good employment opportunities, MOE works closely with economic agencies to plan the supply of diploma and degree places in our IHLs for Singaporeans. This takes into account the national manpower demand across different economic sectors, the employment prospects of graduates from various disciplines, as well as student interest. The IHLs uphold admission standards, refresh their curriculum in tandem with industry needs, and closely monitor graduate outcomes as part of wider efforts to maintain quality.

3. It is important for Singaporeans to adopt a lifelong learning mindset, even after graduation. Ultimately it is skills that are a key determinant of wages and career prospects. As part of the SkillsFuture movement, we will continue to ensure that our educational pathways remain open and accessible to learners to help them reskill and upskill to seize new growth opportunities.

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