Welcome repeal

THE agonising wait is finally over and thousands of unskilled Asian expatriates who form a large chunk of the country’s foreign workforce can now finally heave a sigh of relief. The scrapping of the high school certificate requirement will be widely welcomed by both the labourers and the firms that need them to run their companies.


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Published: Wed 25 May 2005, 11:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:31 PM

The school law, introduced in May 2003, may have been done for all the right reasons, but the effect of it was it brought out all the wrongs. The controversial rule only served to open the floodgates to corruption and forgery with many desperate workers paying through their nose to get a certificate that would help land them a job here.

In this region, and elsewhere, the Asian certificate has always been suspect given that forged certificates —school or otherwise — can be had for a price even though one had not stepped into the corridors of any school or university. The usual suspects, who mint money forging varsity certificates, suddenly had a whole new killing field and quickly moved in to make a killing selling school certificates to labourers and from firms wanting to hire cheap labour but who could not do so because most labourers did not even have the basic elementary qualifications, let alone a high school certificate.

The high school certificate, even the genuine ones, in no way helps unskilled workers or the companies that hire them. It does not take a school education to iron clothes, lay bricks, string wires, screw nuts and bolts. lay stones or clean pavements. All it takes is good health, some muscles that can be flexed for 8-10 hours a day and the willingness to sweat it out doing hard labour.

The cabinet decision to scrap this minimum qualification requirement can only prove beneficial to everybody concerned.

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