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What can Singapore do to encourage their scholars who obtained PhDs from Western universities to return to take up faculty positions?

This is a much more complicated question than it looks. What follows below is what comes to mind, is unlikely to be well written / formatted / arranged, and will contain quite a fair bit of opinion. Hopefully, with edits, it will get better.First posted: Somewhere in March or April 2015.Last edit: 20160301.Latest changes: MOE now has plans in place to fund post-docs overseas for Singaporean PhDs, and, perhaps more importantly, has committed to allowing the local universities to fund the PhD studies of Singaporeans who are currently in PhD programs abroad and are interested in returning to Singapore as faculty. This may still not be the ideal or best solution efficiency and allocation wise, but I view this as a decent plan towards increasing the number of local faculty in the local universities without overly compromising the research mission of the local universities. However, the selection process must be fair - it remains to be seen if the local universities are biased or have biases in their selection. From what I hear it has been a mixed bag for this year.As such, some parts of the text below may no longer apply and seem out of place when reading the entire text.OVERVIEWI will first try to explain some intricacies of academia and PhDs - without which discussion of any scheme will be lacking, since the problem is not a simple single-faceted one. Then - I look at the local scholarship options, of which there now exist basically two types: one administered by MOE from the undergraduate level and up, and the other by the local universities. I try to explain why these schemes are not optimal. Next, I put forward the argument that there are good Singaporean faculty and graduate students in top universities overseas, and that perhaps we should be looking towards hiring them back. I then discuss the viability of a Singaporean faculty quota and why it is also not optimal. Finally, I discuss other reasons for the decline in Singaporean faculty, and why it is not necessarily that the local universities actively avoid hiring Singaporeans.Again - please note that this note is very disjointed.WHAT IS ACADEMIA?So. Let's begin.First, what do universities do? Most Singaporeans think of universities as educational centers, and perhaps to be more blunt, vocational centers, but to be honest, that is practically the secondary role of most universities now. The main mission of universities in our current age / epoch / (insert other appropriate word here) is, perhaps sadly, academic research, not teaching. As such, when universities commit resources to hiring an assistant professor, who invariably has a PhD, they seek to hire the best researcher they can get, and not necessarily the best teacher. Teaching can be made up by dedicated teaching faculty (lecturers) - or at least, that is how many university administrators view teaching.Second, what do professors do? When a university hires an assistant professor, he / she is given a 6-8 year window in which he / she has to build a body of work that would stand scrutiny among his / her peers - such that a well-respected professor in his / her field would look at his / her body of research work and say, yes, that person is worthy of tenure. Tenure, simply put, is a job for life (though in Singapore that ends when the academic turns 65 or whatever the retirement age is or will be...), and is what most research faculty work towards. One thing to also be aware of is that the local university systems are somewhat still in the transition process from a teaching focus to a research focus. Still - one point is important here: when we talk about faculty, academia mainly thinks of research faculty, not teaching faculty, and this is the main focus of my answer. Research faculty is also generally the first priority for the local universities hiring-wise.As such - the local university system is somewhat muddled in that when the general populace think of faculty, they think mainly of the teaching aspect. Viewed in that lens, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it is reasonable to apply a local quota. I will discuss this later on.A SHORT NOTE ON WHAT A PHD IS...One common misconception among Singaporeans is that a PhD is just another degree. That might be true in some departments and schools (I'm looking at degree mills such as Ashland University, Preston University, Wisconsin International University), but generally the PhD involves taking high level classes for the first couple of years, after which the student has to demonstrate proficiency in the field by passing an examination (or two) that covers part (or most) of the field that their PhD is in. For example, my experience in a Finance doctoral program: at the end of my first year I would have to take a general exam on Microeconomics and Econometrics - basically two 3.5 hour exams in one day, fully open ended; at the end of my second year, I would have to take another general exam on Corporate Finance and Asset Pricing - a sample question might be to flesh out a summary and timeline of all major existing research on Capital Structure Theory, which means that I would have to remember all the major papers on that - that would only be one question out of 10 or so! After these exams, the student must demonstrate research ability by completing at least one original piece of research that advances knowledge of their field. This is the type of PhD that is usually a pre-requisite for a local faculty position in one of our local universities.Also, another common misconception: in general, most reputable PhD programs provide funding to their admitted students. The funding generally covers school fees, and usually a stipend for living expenses that is dependent on the student taking on research or teaching assistant work. Some programs are however not as well funded and may only be able to provide a lower level of funding. Other programs may also choose to admit some students with full funding, and offer unfunded admissions to other candidates that they do not feel that strongly attracted to. On the other hand, quite a few UK and European PhD programs are fully fee-based, and you have to pay in order to attend. That brings up the issue of the general differences between American and European PhDs that I would rather not go into at the moment given the question being answered here.WHY HIRE LOCAL? HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE UNIVERSITY?Now, with all that in mind, does it make sense for any university to commit to hiring people of a certain type with no consideration for how that might impact their mission? For example, if NUS announced that they would commit to hiring only left-handed faculty members, would that make sense? This may be a logical extreme, but I think it is somewhat indicative of the issue.Whether or not it makes sense boils down to the question of what we want from our local universities. Do we want them to be world-class universities like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and the like, where their research is indeed world class, or something else? Most would say yes please to a world class university, but then also argue for a strong Singaporean presence within the university. Unfortunately, however, these two aims are not necessarily congruent! As another answer has mentioned, we simply do not have the population mass to reasonably meet both aims.So - research. Since universities seek to hire the best research faculty they can get, then it also stands to reason that research faculty will also seek to get the best job package they can get. If there is a well-qualified Singaporean PhD (SPhD) who can get a job at a school like the University of Texas or the University of North Carolina (you will be surprised how many Singaporeans have never heard of these schools and therefore think of them as questionable schools), it does not make sense for him or her to move to one of the Singaporean universities, all things considered, unless he / she has a severe preference for returning to Singapore. As another commenter mentioned, it is well-known that Singaporean faculty in the local universities (at least, NUS) have a smaller compensation package compared to their foreign counterparts, primarily on the child education support and housing portions of the compensation package. As such, the local faculty position becomes less attractive on the compensation metric to Singaporeans - don't forget we do have a rather high cost of living as well!The local universities also suffer from being far away from many other universities and major conferences, among other disadvantages, which could limit the research network of their faculty. This is a major consideration for faculty since research output is currency in academia. Additionally, it also makes more sense for a fresh SPhD to get a job in the USA, build up a research CV, and then go back to Singapore, if he / she wants to. As I will discuss shortly, there are also many schools that are viewed of as being better research schools than those in Singapore, despite what the rankings usually trotted out by the local universities say - and the people making the hiring decisions in the local universities (which are usually the other faculty members) know what's what. So - with a firmed up CV, track record, as well as potentially prior employment at an esteemed institution, he / she can get better offers and have leverage if he / she wants to return, and don't forget that by doing so he / she can extend the tenure clock somewhat! Hence, there is usually little reason for a SPhD to come back to Singapore immediately after his / her PhD, and if the SPhD does well, he / she might choose to never come back at all.Still, it is important to note that there are not many Singaporeans in PhD programs overseas in the first place! For example, in my field (Finance), I do not yet know of any other Singaporean PhD student in a top 50 Finance department in a Business School, though there are apparently a couple that focus on Financial Economics in Economics departments. Other fields might be more populated with Singaporeans, of course - like in Economics and Psychology, as well as the sciences, given how A*Star have had PhD scholarship programs for a while. And what about our local PhD programs? Now, let's take out those who are on government scholarships for PhD programs such as experienced MOE teachers or people on A*Star scholarships... there aren't that many left!Now - why might Singaporeans not be interested in an academic career? Basically, most young Singaporeans might have no interest in doing a PhD for various reasons, such as:One, most Singaporeans have no interest in studying any more after their bachelors degree - I suppose it's a kind of lethargy, which is / has been possibly exacerbated by how our education system is heavily dependent on rote learning.Two, a PhD takes on average about six years, depending on field, which means a significant period of low earnings, which may or may not be made up with future earnings post-PhD, again depending on field...Three, the outcome after a PhD is very uncertain, considering how competitive the job market is and how scarce tenure-track positions are. Heck, quite a few of my classmates who went to the finance industry after graduating with me from SMU undergrad make close to or about 6 figures a year. In comparison, a Singaporean post-doc I met here in Seattle recently told me that if he went back to NUS / NTU, he would make about 80 to 90k SGD a year. In the eyes of most Singaporeans, that is extremely bo-hua (not worth it).Fourth, many Singaporeans are under the somewhat false impression that they have to PAY for the PhD, when in fact the truth is that most reputable PhD programs provide both a tuition waiver and a stipend in return for teaching / research assistant duties. That said, some PhD programs do not come with funding - for example, quite a few of those in the UK and Europe.Fifth, the PhD is not that easily attainable - passing your exams is not sufficient, you need to come up with an original piece of research that passes muster, which is much harder than what it looks like! This is contrary to much of how our education system works, and might be a major stumbling block (as it is for me at the moment with my struggles with my dissertation).So - there is a relatively low supply of SPhDs. Then add the fact that universities have to hire for specific departments and in specific research areas. If Bayern Munich already has 20 midfielders, then does it make sense to buy an 21st, even if the 21st midfielder is German? It is not clear that this is the case. The universities will seek to have the best available talent fit join their departments. It is also entirely possible that the reason why the universities aren't considering any particular SPhD for a position is because that SPhD just isn't good enough or does not have the potential - like how that 21st midfielder, even though he is German, isn't good enough because he is playing badly for a 3.Bundesliga team, or even in one of the amateur leagues.Of course, there might be an argument for having local expertise in our universities. That could certainly make sense, but I dare say that is only for some fields such as law, or Singaporean history. Most of the other fields are more international in outlook - economics, psychology, finance, engineering, and so on, where a Singaporean perspective simply does not add any or adds very little value research wise. Do we want to be world class in only those fields that need local knowledge, or just simply world class per se? In many fields this much vaunted local knowledge is not necessary for impactful research. This is why I feel that some of the comments by local faculty interviewed in Wanted: Local talent in varsities over-sell the value of this vaunted Singaporean perspective. I find this local knowledge argument unsatisfying, to be honest. How has it stopped academics who are not of a certain type from becoming experts in other types? If we were we take it to logical extremes: Jack Horner (who actually did not even complete his Bachelor's degree) and dinosaurs; Jane Goodall and chimpanzees; Dian Fossey and gorillas; and perhaps more closely Ernest Satow and Japan. Do we need to be a cook in order to be able to taste?Still, we could want more locals in local academic positions, but let's also at least realise that there are potential downfalls that discourage local academics from returning home. For example, if a tenure-track faculty at one of our local universities does not get tenure, how likely is it that he / she can get another similar job at another school? Most of the departments in the three local universities are similarly ranked. If the person did not get tenure at one place, it is unlikely that he / she will be able to get a similar position at the other two main local universities, and in Singapore there is still very much a stigma associated with failure that makes it even harder. In contrast, the job market in America for PhDs is much larger, with a larger and wider distribution of schools, so even if he / she does not make he / she can still be reasonably certain of alternative employment as long as he / she has some papers. The likely outcome is for faculty members in Singapore who do not get tenure is that the faculty member has to find a job elsewhere overseas (which is very hard to do!), in a polytechnic, or become a non-tenure track faculty member. In contrast, fall back options in the States are likely to be more numerous - more lower ranked schools, a larger industry demand, and less focus on degree specificity.Also note that the job market in Singapore for PhDs is not large - there is a misconception that a PhD makes you immensely desirable employment wise following the whole paper makes you better idea, but honestly, in Singapore, it usually just marks the person out as over-qualified, especially for non-academic jobs. There is significant job risk for PhDs in Singapore, to be honest, but not many understand this.One question that I hear relatively often: why do the local universities not hire their own PhDs? The main reason is to avoid what some faculty call academic inbreeding - they want their faculty to bring along with them a new perspective to their departments, and bringing in their own PhDs rarely provides this since they have trained in the perspective that their departments already have. Another reason is that in general, schools will try to hire fresh PhD graduates from schools ranked above them, so as to improve the "quality" and network of their faculty and research - hiring from their own PhD programs does not make sense then since that would just double down on what they already have. And even if our universities are ranked highly on some ranking, it does not mean that our PhD degrees have the same level of prestige as PhDs are also highly dependent on the advisor.Another related point of contention that has popped up previously is why the local universities give so many places in their PhD programs to foreigners. The usual theory being offered that there is some conspiracy against Singaporeans (basically a continuation of the rather favourable scholarship program for foreign talents at the undergrad level), but in my experience this is not true at the PhD level. What I have seen is that the local PhD programs are usually inundated with applications from abroad because Singapore is still considered an upgrade over many countries, and, perhaps more importantly, the Singaporeans who seek to do a PhD and are good candidates for it already know that their best option is to do it abroad, where most of the good programs are, rather than stay in Singapore. Then the problem reduces to a simpler one for the local PhD programs: after taking the good local applicants (as limited in number as they are), should they go for the good foreign PhD students or, to be honest, relatively lacking remaining local PhD students? Some will say to not take in the foreigners at all, but faculty do find it very helpful to have research and teaching assistants, and research is harder than it looks - many hands make it easier.So, in short - why are there so few Singaporean faculty members in the local universities? Basically, there are too few SPhDs to begin with, and then when you consider the number of those who are interested in staying in academia and willing to come back... it gets really small. Then add in the requirements of the universities and the other intricacies of academia... it does not get any easier!Regardless - let's at least recognise that the problem is not as simple as what some of the other responses to this question here thus far treat it to be.PHD SCHOLARSHIP OPTIONS - MOE-AUNow, with regards to scholarship schemes, especially the ones mentioned in response to other answers. In particular, I would like to discuss the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship and the Senior Tutor and Faculty Development Schemes in place or were in place at some combination of NUS and SMU.One anonymous commenter lauded the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship, claiming that the situation for local faculty in the local universities has gotten so terrible that MOE has had to step in. I do not agree, and as for why...Let's start with looking at the scholarship. From what I understand, the MOE-AU scholarship basically works like this: first, MOE selects a scholar who has just completed their A levels, sends him / her for undergrad, and then the scholar has to apply for a scholarship from the local universities to go do a PhD.To me, this does not make sense. Why is MOE selecting the scholar, instead of the university? Does MOE have some magic ability to pick such scholars from their administration of other government scholarships? One would think that the universities may have a better idea of traits and skills that they want, so I hope that the universities are given some space to give feedback on the choice of scholar, and from what I have heard, this is usually the case. However, aptitude at the A levels does not necessarily translate to aptitude at the PhD level - Professor Shih Choon Fong, former president of NUS was a graduate of Singapore Poly, for what it’s worth - so there is still that issue with how this scheme may shape our local faculty to be of a similar background, though I suppose that isn't something we are unaccustomed to seeing.Further, the local universities already do not use their local talent development schemes - the Education Minister stated in parliament that only 17 and 3 people have been sponsored by NUS and SMU for PhD students overseas since 2008 (see Wanted: Local talent in varsities - note: surely this contradicts the comments on another answer that the NUS overseas scholarship scheme was abolished in the mid-2000s). This means that the pool of qualified and willing-to-be-bonded (very important distinction here, as I bring up the adverse selection issue later on) candidates that the local universities will consider is small - so it is reasonable for MOE to think they can increase it by 10-15 scholars a year with this scheme from the undergraduate level? The data shows 20 in total from 2008 to 2014, which is an average of about 3-4 a year - so, unless MOE is thinking of getting a 20-30% PhD program placement success rate, the implicit goals of the scholarship seems unrealistic. Further, given that most PhD programs provide full financial aid, I don't think financial needs are the main obstacle for aspiring PhDs - so why commit students to a scheme that does not necessarily need a PhD scholarship from the very beginning?Additionally, the academic career is vastly different from the typical job (I have some years to look back on - so I think I could at least speak with some authority on this) that I cannot fathom of a 18 to 21 year old knowing for sure that he or she wants to be an academic without proper research exposure. In Singapore, undergrads rarely get such exposure, and pre-university students, even less so! I had no idea until halfway through my undergraduate career, and that was even with a very encouraging faculty member who supported my endeavours. Most of my classmates had no interest or exposure whatsoever. Two Singaporean academics have also argued against this scholarship on these lines - see "Five reasons to rethink MOE-AU scholarship" for a more eloquent treatment of this line of argument.Also - even current PhD students, whom we can reasonably assume have a better idea of their quality and motivation for working towards a PhD than these pre-university graduates and university undergraduates, struggle with their PhD studies. This was highlighted in a letter to the ST forum ("Invest in current PhD students"): "one-fifth of PhD students quit their programmes within the first four years ... Only slightly less than half complete their PhD within seven years." This data is from the Council of Graduate Schools' Ph.D. Completion project (CGS Ph.D. Completion Project Quantitative Data). Given this, how do we expect that these scholars, who hardly have any exposure to academic research, understand what they are getting into? Or will they end up having to complete the PhD because they have to, rather than because they are suited to or want to do so? What happens if they do not?Furthermore, this scholarship is expensive - 9 years of school fees and allowances, which I estimate will be nearly half a million nominal, non-time adjusted USD at 55K USD per year. Specifically, let's say 30K for school fees, given that the scholar will be a foreigner at their PhD institution, 25K for living expenses and the like, at an exchange rate of 1.35 SGD to 1 USD, which results in 74K SGD a year - committed upfront just to have a Singaporean faculty member that may end up to be an unsuccessful academic researcher. There are also other costs to keep in mind, and the estimate for the school fees is likely to be on the low side. Note that I am implicitly assuming here that the taxpayer is responsible for both scholarships, undergrad and PhD - even though the local universities are paying only half of the cost of the PhD according to the MOE press release for the scholarship ("Helping Young Singaporeans Jumpstart into a Career in Academia").If we instead assume that the cost covered by the local universities is not ultimately paid by taxpayers, the cost to MOE and hence the taxpayers is still 4 years of undergrad + 2.5 years of the PhD assuming that the PhD program takes on average 5 years to complete - basically, a total cost of about 357.5K USD for MOE and 137.5K for the local university, or about 482K SGD and 186K SGD respectively at the 1.35 exchange rate used above. Admittedly, this ignores the time value of money, but these are still significant sums!In contrast, the universities can hire a qualified research faculty member, or at least someone that we have a better idea about the true quality of, off the job market with ZERO upfront cost, so the university is spending money it did not need to spend - which is particularly more questionable given the recent news about how the MOE has had problems administering their loan schemes. Also, recall that most PhD programs provide funding to the people they admit, so we are getting the local universities and MOE to pay for 5 years of school fees and scholarships costs that they did not actually have to pay in the first place. How is that a responsible use of tax-payer money, if what we want is qualified SPhDs in our universities, or if we take the aim of the MOE-AU scholarship at its word - better supporting young Singaporeans interested in an academic career? It feels like throwing money at a problem and hoping it gets solved, or like bringing a sword to a gunfight - basically a case of using the wrong tool for the job...As such - it seems unlikely to me that the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship as designed at this point in time makes sense. As has been said before in one of the letters to the local newspapers about the scheme: the efficacy of the scholarship is extremely questionable ("Invest in current PhD students"). Unless MOE has some magic formula or algorithm that allows them to beat the market from such an early stage, where the market consists of university department faculty and administrators who are experienced in building an academic department, the undergraduate scholarship looks like a bad initiative.PHD SCHOLARSHIPS FROM THE LOCAL UNIVERISITIESLet's now talk about the PhD scholarship schemes at NUS and / or SMU, since these will arguably form the basis for the PhD scholarship in the MOE-AU scholarship.First, let's talk about the Senior Tutor scheme, which was also mentioned in several other comments: the scheme did indeed serve as a source of local faculty, based on my conversations with some older faculty, except that in that time period the focus was on teaching rather than research. Now, the period where Prof. Shih was in charge of NUS was characterised by a switch from a focus on teaching to research instead, if I am not wrong. Academia, and Singapore academia as a whole, has moved on from the old days of pure instruction. To reiterate: teaching is not exactly a main aim of any top university in our current time, which will generally have a stronger focus on research, and faculty hiring is largely focused on research faculty rather than teaching faculty. The anonymous commenter looks upon it as a source of local faculty, without, I think, considering the full picture. If our aim is to increase the number of Singaporean faculty, then sure - but then will it be teaching or research faculty? Teaching faculty are not permanent, and can be easily replaced since a PhD is not a pre-requisite. Again - what do we want our universities to be? What is more important: world class universities, or simply having more Singaporean faculty? I would be more in favour for the former, not the latter.The rejoinder might be that our universities are already world class based on the rankings, but in this case a more critical eye on the ranking methodology is necessary, especially given the flaws in the past rankings. I would argue that an easier test of the true ranking would be one of revealed preference, whereby you would ask yourself: if you had a child and the child had a choice between a local university, say NUS or NTU (since they were ranked in the top 13 in the world this year by the QS World University Rankings), and a foreign university, and that everything else were equal (cost, homesickness, et cetera), where would you send your child to? Would NUS / NTU come ahead of Yale (QS 15th), Cornell (QS 17th), UPenn (QS 18th), Columbia (QS 22nd), Berkeley (QS 26th), Duke (QS 29th), Michigan (QS 30th), LSE (QS 35th), Carnegie Mellon (QS 62nd), and so on? I think most would rather send their children to these other schools… Revealed preference is a pretty strong indicator of what the true rank of our local universities are - let's cut out all the crap and what not about what some ranking system says. Note also that these are also schools that our government scholars often attend in place of staying in Singapore for their undergraduate studies, so even the government has revealed their preferences.To be specific as to how our rankings in the QS may not be accurate in terms of the quality of education or instruction or research, note that the QS rankings allocates 5% each of the final score to the ratio of international to domestic faculty, as well as the ratio of international to domestic students. Our local universities, as it should be clear, do very well on these two categories. Additionally, the QS ranking uses anonymous survey responses, which could be susceptible to bias. Also, if I remember correctly, in one particular year the QS rankings even treated two separate universities as the same university (UW-Seattle and WUSTL), so even the rankings can have major errors. The lesson here is to not take the rankings as is - recognise the factors that make up the rankings, recognise that the QS rankings can be questionable, and that our local universities do not have a similar level on other rankings, such as ARWU or the US News rankings. By Occam's razor, it would be easier to believe that the QS rankings are flawed.Now, as for the overseas scholarship - there are of course reasons why it is not used that often. Note that all of the following arguments were mentioned directly to me by a local faculty member who served as the chair of his department.First, the cost, as outlined above in the fiscal argument against the MOE-AU scholarship: why pay that huge sum for very little reason other than having a faculty member with a Singaporean passport, if that faculty member is not guaranteed to be able to advance the mission of the university? Remember that there are faculty available at much lower (close to zero or zero) upfront costs.Second, if there is a guarantee of a job after finishing the PhD, there might be less motivation for the scholar to work hard at research. The disciplining factor of the job market is lost - essentially, a moral hazard problem. It is possible that the PhD scholars may be sufficiently motivated by the tenure problem that comes after the PhD such that this problem is mitigated, but it is not clear if this is an acceptable level of risk for the universities.Third, and similarly, it could be argued that there is also an adverse selection problem, in that well-qualified prospective PhD students will not be willing to take up the scholarship (if they know they are good, why take a bond and limit their options, everything else being equal?). Hence, simplistically, the only people who are willing to take on the scholarship are people who are either at the same level as what the university could have hired originally without the scholarship, or worse (separating equilibria, anyone?). Remember that there probably is some form of information asymmetry - the student should have a better idea of his / her own true quality than the scholarship board. All in all, this basically leads to a manifestation of the lemons problem in second-hand car markets outlined in Akerlof (1970), in which the ultimate result is that only bad second-hand cars will be available, and good second-hand cars will not be included in the market by their owners. However, applying this model to the scholarship situation is admittedly purely hypothetical - after all, we might have applicants that have a strong preference to return, perhaps because of their significant others, family commitments, or that they just plain prefer to live in Singapore.Finally, by committing a position to a person who may not be of good quality ahead of time, the university is limiting itself hiring wise, thus potentially hampering their mission of research, research, research. This could have negative effects on the ranking of our local universities on some world university ranking systems, given how research is a considerable factor in many of those rankings. So - ask for more local faculty? Sure! But let's also be at least cognizant that there may be side / after effects. Let's not naively assume that we can just simply flip one switch and everything else will stay exactly as they are at the moment.That said, despite the issues of the scholarship, I would advocate modifying and expanding this scholarship if the aim is to have an expanded Singaporean faculty in our local universities, rather than implementing the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship. A degree of information asymmetry is avoided by giving scholarships to people who actually want to do a PhD and have a better idea of whether a PhD is for them, and even more so if these people have already passed their qualifying exams before applying for the scholarship. In short, a possible solution would be to have the local universities attract Singaporeans who are already in PhD programs to sign on to mid-term scholarships. This provides a level of filtering for ability, not only because of the qualifying exams, but also because it ensures that these people have gained admission to their PhD program because of their program's assessment of their abilities and not because they already have funding from an external source (in this case, the local universities). This also ensures that applicants have a better idea of what they are getting into. Another benefit is that this potentially allows the taxpayer to save some money. On the other hand, however, these PhD students may also self-select based on what they think their level is, and the local universities could be looking at a pool of decent but not superstar faculty. Based on what I have heard, it seems that MOE has now allowed the local universities to explore this route, but care must be taken to ensure that the selection process is not subverted.EVALUATING THE SCHOLARSHIPSIn short - the scholarship schemes can be costly and risky, and as such, not necessarily a good use of taxpayer monies towards building a strong faculty. While the university level scholarships might still be relevant even after accounting for its shortcomings, the undergraduate scholarship is, in my view, rather questionable. Hence, my opinion is that rather than that MOE had to step in with the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship to solve a national embarrassment (which seriously, I don't think it is - that is some serious hyperbole!) as a comment on another answer suggested, my view is that the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship is going to be an additional source of problems rather than a solution.Also keep in mind that if the local universities manage to hold on to the decision making power to give out the scholarships for the PhD, and assuming that MOE does not interfere, they might very well decide not to give any scholarships to the undergraduate scholars for the reasons outlined above. In that case, will the local universities just take on scholars just to pre-empt pressure from MOE? Or will MOE have the ability to pressure the universities to give the scholarships? If so, will we end up with the situation where university departments argue among themselves to NOT have to commit to such scholars? It is not cleaHence, I am not sure that this top-down approach makes sense, given how the first line of hiring comes from the departments. The likely end result of this scheme, as one local faculty member put to me, is the very wasteful "sign and fire after six years" - denoting that they would just take them in, but ruthlessly fire after six years if they do not have a good enough profile after that. Remember, a tenure track / research faculty position only comes with a limited number of years for the person to prove him or herself. Why should we take a less informed bet if we can do better?Additionally, I think one possible source of data on whether such a scholarship like the MOE-AU scholarship could work is to look at A*Star PhD scholarship recipients, since that scholarship and the MOE-AU scholarship are very similar, and the A*Star PhD scholarship has been operating for quite some time. However, care must be taken to consider the fact that the A*Star scholarships are all science related, and may therefore not be generalisable to the many other fields that the MOE-AU scholars will decide on such as the social sciences, since the science fields generally require the completion of a Post-Doc position before the PhD can move on to a faculty position. The data questions should include the following:First, how many A*Star PhD scholars finish their PhDs, return to Singapore, and become full fledged productive academic researchers, rather than administrators or positions not directly involved in research? Keeping in mind that A*Star has several institutes to place their scholars in, compared to the relatively very limited number of tenure-track positions available at the local universities, there might also be a crowding out effect for the MOE-AU scholars that needs to be considered.Second, given how only about half of all PhD students complete their PhD within 7 years, how many A*Star scholars do not get through their PhD? More pointedly, how many of them graduated early due to A*Star's urging rather than their advisor's urging? This might understandably be a sensitive question.Third, how many would still take up the scholarship, given what they know now about a PhD, and why or why not (see the case of Eng Kai Er, for example)? How might the experiences of these scholars inform how and what information should be disseminated to potential scholars considering this scholarship? Will the information sessions include the other side of the coin rather than just a full roster of cheerleaders for the scholarship?I have admittedly only heard anecdotes regarding the A*Star undergraduate PhD scholarship (for example: why have scholars return to Singapore to work for a year after undergrad and before PhD? This has always been a rather baffling practice.) and consequent research productivity - mostly negative, unfortunately, which biases my view of the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship rather heavily. As such some actual data would be interesting to see, but given how "stingy" the Singaporean ministries and statutory boards are with somewhat sensitive performance type data, I doubt we will ever get to see that.Finally - I am disturbed by how unclear a lot of the procedures are for the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship, and how much risk the scholars bear given how incomplete the scholarship procedures are. MOE should consider tightening up the terms after asking existing local faculty for their opinion. Some specific examples or situations that I can foresee follow:First, the scholarship directs the scholar to complete their undergraduate and PhD studies in a total of 9 years, but ... given the data, not even half of all PhD students complete their PhDs within 7 years. The norm now is about 6 years. Further, some fields require a Masters degree in order to be competitive as an applicant, so another 1 or 2 years of that 9 years is taken up by that. Perhaps the scholar can simply quickly finish a thesis and PhD ASAP, with reduced concern for the research impact of the thesis, but then how likely is it that this scholar would be completely trained as a researcher? This would be not only detrimental to the scholar, but also for the local university that takes him / her in. I'm sorry - but this suggests to me that the people who designed this scholarship think of a PhD as just being another degree. The danger is that a PhD is usually done when the advisor says you are done, and that is usually when the student finds a job - but here, with a job already in place, the incentives are unclear!Second, it is not clear that the local university departments support such a scheme, based on the concerns I have listed previously. If so, then this scheme would simply be just another regular MOE scholarship, in that without the PhD scholarship, the scholar would ostensibly become just a regular MOE scholar - why is the scholar taking on the risk of the local universities not necessarily giving a scholarship? It is not clear that the scholar should be taking on this risk - even if the scholarship is designed poorly. On the other hand, if some departments do not wish to use the scheme, what are their reasons, and how can their concerns be addressed?Third, can the local universities guarantee the scholars a tenure track position? This is also important because it is not clear that there is leeway built to account for the possibility that the scholars wish to pursue an area that none of the universities are interested in hiring, or perhaps more likely, too many of them wish to pursue the same area. If a tenure track position is not available, will the scholars be pushed into lecturer positions instead, which pay even less, with a larger teaching load and less time for research - basically with little way back to tenure track? Again, this is a case of the scholar taking on a risk that he / she should not have to subject themselves to. I am not sure that the fine print states this clearly upfront either.Fourth - if there are PhD scholarships readily available from the universities that have PhD programs, should MOE not also include this piece of information to the potential scholars, instead of giving potential scholars the impression that the PhD has to be self-funded? I am not sure caveat emptor is the approach we want to take when offering scholarships, especially if one of the scholarships is targeted at 19 year olds.Finally - MOE sells the scholarship by stating that a unique benefit of the scholarship is the linking of scholars to local faculty mentors. I would argue that this is NOT a unique benefit, since any aspiring PhD student should connect to faculty, so as to get research experience as well as recommendation letters for PhD programs. All they do is to codify it - and look, any serious pursuer of a PhD should already be pursuing this line of action! Additionally, if the scholar is doing their undergraduate studies overseas, a recommendation letter from a local university faculty member may not be persuasive since it is less credible that the student will have worked with the faculty member directly.That said, I do think there is a place for the scholarship for people who have completed their undergraduate degrees and are already in a PhD program, especially for fields where hiring might be more difficult, or the research more niche / specific. Further, this route seems to be more sensible for expanding the local faculty than (what seems to me) a heavy handed approach with the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship.THOUGHTS ON SINGAPOREANS, PHDS, AND HOW THAT AFFECTS THE MOE-AU SCHOLARSHIPAnother cultural / societal point to keep in mind: I feel that many pre-university students view government scholarships as a fail-safe option - which many scholarships might very well be - but I believe this scholarship is an exception. Remember, the outcome of this scholarship is a job with one of the universities, not the government - and therefore the risks are very different!Personally, the intricacies of the scholarship and the specific aims of the scholarship are also not presented clearly to the applicants. Further, applicants are, in a way, being misinformed or uninformed about the difference between the desired outcome and the various possible outcomes for the scholarship. While this “misinformation” may not be on purpose, I think there is a duty on MOE to provide that information, which I think it has not fulfilled. As such, I find the information asymmetry between the scholarship and the potential scholar to be excessively large, and would not recommend any pre-university student to take on the scholarship without first turning over all the stones, becoming aware of all the issues, and re-evaluating it based on the fullest set of information possible. There are just too many moving parts that have to move just so for the scholarship to work out as designed.Additionally, given my past experience as a graduate student in Singapore, I find it hard to not conclude that MOE treats the PhD as a degree rather than as an accreditation of research. I base this conclusion on several changes in policy that I have witnessed and heard about since I left for my PhD in the United States. For example: strict no funding and restriction on outside or additional funding for local PhD students beyond the fourth or fifth year, pressure from MOE to universities and faculty to have their PhD students graduate ASAP (within 4 years if possible). Put simply, MOE seems to want to have more PhDs in Singapore because it would show, as a KPI, that the populace is becoming more educated, and that the education system is succeeding at educating people. What matters to them is the number of graduates - not whether those very same graduates have a job or a position post-PhD, and it is still unclear whether Singapore really needs that many PhDs.So - this focus on graduating is in stark contrast to what PhD programs generally are, which is an accreditation of a research journey / ability to do research, or even as a means of supporting research! In other words, quantity is good enough - quality is secondary. So far, this feels to me to be exactly the same approach they are taking with the MOE-AU scholarship, in that they view it as a simplistic problem of: Singapore universities do not have a lot of Singaporean faculty and most of the Singaporean faculty are close to retirement; faculty need PhDs, preferably from good schools; solution is therefore to send more Singaporeans to PhD programs in good schools with scholarships - without fully considering all of the other complications. This would go a long way in explaining their initial responses, and should also point any potential scholar to seriously reconsider the undergraduate scholarship, if only because this shows that the design, implications, and outcomes of the scholarship are not well thought out. If they do not understand the situation that the scholars are going to be placed in, it is very hard to believe that the scholarship has been designed with care.Given the above, I think the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship is likely to be a bane, rather than a boon for Singapore academia - at least, as it is currently designed. As is, I have serious doubts on its design to accomplish its stated and advertised aims to bring pre-university students towards becoming academics.SOLUTIONS?So, what can be done? MOE's initial responses (like their response to an earlier Today letter on the MOE-AU scheme - see "MOE-AU scholarship for students with clear passion for academic career") made it hard to conclude that MOE had plans to look at giving current SPhD students direct support. That letter also made it difficult to believe that MOE would be "better supporting young Singaporeans interested in an academic career" - which is the stated aim of the MOE-AU scholarship. It looked like they were not interested in young Singaporeans who are interested in an academic career, but instead more interested in the typical pre-university scholar aspirant and placing them on a pathway to be academics at our local universities.Now, why focus on current SPhD students? First off - these are people who are exactly the people MOE claims that they want to support - "young Singaporeans interested in an academic career"! They have already acted on their interest, so why not focus on them? My view is that more can be done to reach out to this group of existing Singaporean students - people that I think the funds for the MOE-AU undergraduate scheme could have been put to better use to. These people are the easiest target group - they have been vetted by university departments overseas as qualified PhD students, had the interest to apply, and had the appropriate CV to induce the departments to offer them a place in a PhD program. Also, if they have already passed their qualifying exams, then there is another filter for quality in place. Finally, since most PhD programs provide funding, the taxpayer can save on some risky funding if MOE and the local universities target these people who are halfway through their PhD.From what I am told, MOE initially resisted and rejected this change (which was counter proposed by one of the local universities), and they strongly preferred to only have the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship scheme as is. Their initial stance was perhaps because existing SPhDs are likely to already have funding, and are hence unlikely to take on the scholarship - in my view, this illustrates why the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship and the university PhD scholarships are flawed (to different degrees, as discussed above).The latest news, however, is that MOE is pushing the universities to explore using the scholarship option on existing SPhD students as well (see how the SMU Overseas PhD Scholarship also now allows mid-term applicants). This may still be sub-optimal in terms of economic efficiency and allocation, but will help the local universities to increase their ranks of local faculty, and is at the very least a more realistic solution and compromise between quality and quantity. If anything, this approach is more likely to help aspiring Singaporean academics and expand the core of local academics than the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship.This is in tandem with offering post-doc scholarships for SPhDs as announced in their official press release. The post-doc scholarship is a step in the right direction, especially for fields where post-doc positions are scarce and competition for those positions are fierce - free of financial constraints, the SPhDs are more likely to obtain a better post-doc position, which should help their subsequent research career. Remember, research publications are currency for the academic.That said, even if current SPhD students may already have funding and have no interest in committing to a bonded scholarship, MOE can still provide other initiatives to support Singaporeans who are interested in an academic career, such as providing additional research funding to SPhD students (like Taiwan does), and building initiatives to link these SPhD students with local academia, perhaps by encouraging joint research projects and the like, or annual meetings or get-togethers in Singapore. In particular, MOE could perhaps keep track of Singaporeans who are enrolled in good PhD programs abroad and start a dialogue between them and local faculty, as well as encourage them to think about coming back. Increased exposure will limit information asymmetry.Additionally, more can also be done to engage local university students to consider an academic career - since the majority of Singaporeans stay in Singapore for their undergraduate career, under reasonable assumptions it should be that most of the Singaporeans who might be interested in an academic career should be graduates of the local universities. Given that most of the press releases and the like have been focused on sending pre-university graduates overseas or existing PhD graduates moving on to post-docs, there isn't much being done now to sell the PhD scholarships to current Singaporean undergraduates as far as I can tell. If we want to expand the Singaporean core, we cannot just rely on pure self-selection: more should be done to encourage people to consider this route. Regardless, any "selling" has to be transparent and honest - which is, in my opinion, what the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship has not been.Overall, in my view, there are currently unexplored options that will be cheaper, and potentially more effective than just relying on scholarships, and even better - they can act as complements to those scholarships!Finally, another point is that given the priorities of most Singaporeans, the route towards a PhD is immensely unattractive, especially financially. Part of the issue may very well be the relatively high cost of living in Singapore on a local academic salary. For academia to become a more attractive option, the government and the universities have to show the arguably more realistic Singaporean student that it is an attractive job path for them. I think this is a very difficult task, given the relatively low chances of success and high costs, pecuniary and non-pecuniary, even though the local universities generally already pay rather well on a global level. It may very well be necessary to provide some safety valve for locals who take on academic positions in Singapore, but that is a Pandora's box for another day.OTHER SOLUTIONS AND TO-DOSAnother thought - if we concede that pre-university graduates do not have a good idea of what academia is like, and keeping in mind that PhD programs generally come with funding, why have the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship? Perhaps a better idea would be to allow all government scholars to have the option to do a PhD and delay their bond after their funded undergraduate studies if they get into a program with funding, and then allow them to transfer their bond to the local universities if the local universities find them suitable for a tenure track position. Given that the number of scholars is relatively numerous, surely it cannot be that the transfer of the bond is an issue of concern. This has happened before - see Prof. Melvyn Teo at SMU for a recent success story that comes to mind - so why not explicitly make this an option for all government scholars, and encourage all government scholars to consider it? Open up the option to more scholars - and make this option explicitly available for them rather than hiding it in plain sight. Also, this solves the problem of having a scholar commit to this scheme and then discovering that they actually have no wish to be an academic.One other possible, very feasible initiative that MOE can look into that will help Singaporeans who are interested in academia is to return and expand MOE funding for research type Masters programs in our local universities. These programs once existed, but were, based on what I understand, cancelled and closed in favour of funding PhD programs instead. Disclaimer: I am actually a beneficiary of one of these Masters programs myself. These programs are very helpful for Singaporeans who are exploring the academic route for the following reasons:First, it is after all a funded option which gives these people a better idea of what they are getting into, since there is a strong research component rather than a focus on coursework. From what I remember, the course fees were covered by a graduate subsidy that MOE offers to all Singaporeans for certain Masters programs, while MOE also provided an additional stipend for those who were enrolled. For fields where a Masters degree is almost a pre-requisite for PhD admissions, this also helps interested Singaporeans save on having to spend a substantial amount of money for a Masters degree, which are generally not funded. As such, the financial barrier on the path towards a PhD and academia is mitigated further!Second, it also provides some training for the fields that they are interested in, since the coursework for these research Masters programs are usually the same as the PhD programs in our local universities. Believe me, I had an easier time with the coursework at my current program thanks to having taken classes at the same level before.Third, following the two previous points, these programs will help strengthen the CV of these potential academics for their applications to PhD programs, both in terms of paper qualifications and research experience. These will turn help them get placed in even better PhD programs - not forgetting that in certain fields having a Masters prior to applying is basically the norm. Of course, applicants might have a strong enough CV to get in without a Masters degrees, but that does not mean that these programs are worthless.Fourth, such programs also make it easier for these students to get working with existing local faculty on research, which gives them a head-start on their academic career, and would also strengthen the Singaporean academic research core!Fifth, this program would also allow MOE to identify people who are interested in an academic career by virtue of their applying for such programs, beyond those that applied after their pre-university education. Remember, one of the key issues is to identify interested persons!Sixth, the local universities will also have the opportunity to basically evaluate possible scholarship applicants and recipients up close, thereby reducing any information asymmetry and reduce scholarship risks.One crazy idea might be to ask the local universities to insert a requirement for their undergraduate students to work as research assistants for faculty like some of the local universities do with social work and volunteerism. This would be rather heavy handed in my opinion, though, and more thought must be put into this. In the USA, faculty regularly get requests from undergraduates to work as research assistants - quite often for no compensation, or to fulfill some work requirement for their scholarship grants. If designed properly, and, more importantly, if the faculty do not abuse this program and provide good research exposure and guidance to the undergraduates, it might encourage undergraduates to pursue an academic career and provide faculty with an opportunity to share what the life of an academic entails.Further, I would like to see MOE build on the survey of Singaporean PhD students overseas by Chia and Kang (2014): "Where Are My Country(wo)men? The Lack of Singaporean Academics in Singapore’s Universities". We need a bigger, more comprehensive survey of this type to figure out exactly why and what can be done. That said, we also need to figure out if there is any bias within the hiring system in the local universities as well - we cannot just look at one side. Furthermore, there should be a study on how plainly increasing the proportion of Singaporean faculty may affect the universities - let's at least explore the benefits and costs rather than just blindly thinking an increase is best!Additionally, Tan and Guo, in their letter to Today (which I referred to earlier) argue that more should be done to attract Singaporeans who hold faculty positions overseas to move back to Singapore. One letter to the Today paper extolling the benefits of the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarship attempted to downplay the Tan and Guo argument by claiming that encouraging the local universities to hire local who hold academic positions abroad is interfering with the hiring decisions of the local universities - if this is a problem, how are the MOE-AU undergraduate scholarships not potentially even worse?Now - why existing Singaporean faculty abroad? Remember - these people have been vetted multiple times on the basis of research ability on an international level. They have finished their PhD, managed to obtain a tenure track job - and some have even managed to be obtain tenure at very reputable academic institutions! If we want a Singaporean core, why should we be ignoring these people? Unfortunately, I think hiring back established Singapore faculty is even more difficult than reaching out to current SPhDs, but I certainly would like to see people like Tracey Ho and Wang Changhuei (Caltech), Rahul Kapoor (Penn - Wharton) and Wong Chee-Wei (Columbia), among other very well-qualified Singaporean faculty overseas, in Singaporean universities. The question is - why are they not? The simple answer is of course that they think their current positions are better. If so, what could the local education system do to attract them back? The solution there, truth be told, is to ask them directly, and then work from there. What is there to fear from asking?That said - apparently there is a "Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme" which was started in 2013 by the National Research Foundation, explicitly for the purpose of attracting local academics home with sizable research grants. Ho Teck Hua is returning to Singapore to join NUS with the help of this scheme - for those who do not know, Ho Teck Hua is an extremely well known marketing and decision science professor who was previously a Full Professor at the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley, where he was drawing a salary of about 550K USD (in 2013). So there is hope!FACULTY QUOTAS?Now - what about a Singaporean faculty quota? Maintaining a Singaporean quota does not make total sense in terms of the wider mission of the local universities. If what I have experienced and observed thus far in Singapore is any indication, a Singaporean quota is more likely to drive away qualified research faculty, both Singaporean and non-Singaporean, thus again compromising the mission of our local universities.On a related note (and an explanation), I am not sure that limiting the recruiting committees makes sense - most of the local research active faculty members I know are strict believers in hiring the best available talent, if only because they know talent and research ability is currency in academia. I suppose if you wanted more Singaporeans at the expense of everything else, this could work, but at what cost? Of course, the foreign faculty members might very well also be discriminatory in their hiring preferences - but as always, we need more exact data to show this, and at least let's be honest and accept that locals may very well do the same! The solution for this problem is unclear, unfortunately, but I think it is foolish to think that a one size fits all solution exists - refer to the first line of Anna Karenina, if you know what I mean.While it may be argued that other sectors already have nationality based hiring, the thing to keep in mind is that that is true for government agencies, where this could be acceptable. I am not willing to accept that the universities should be the same - if only because universities should be able to be a place of discussion and presentation of differing views, and differing nationalities is an excellent way of preserving that. Additionally, economically, why should we implement quotas, when it is not clear that the quota actually improves the status quo? In general, in economics, quotas are welfare-reducing. If we should have a quota, it should be a quota implemented because it increases our welfare. However, this again depends on what we define welfare to be. If we just want Singaporean faculty regardless of their ability and take that as our preferred measure of welfare - then yes, I suppose this quota could work, but I think softer approaches are more appropriate given that the supply of SPhDs is low to begin with, and an artificial inflation of SPhDs and faculty brings along serious shortcomings. If the supply does not change we could be basically hiring faculty of lower quality just because they are Singaporean. Hence, I think it is clear that just simply enforcing a simple quota is not optimal for the universities, as well as higher education and research in Singapore.Academia is not an isolated field. If we want to have more local academics in our universities, these academics had better be able to compete on an international level, or at least close to it. That means top tier journal publications, conference presentations at esteemed conferences, and the like. We should not simply offer an academic a job because of his or her passport, but because the academic brings something to the university. If there is a balance that needs to be struck, we must first solve the problem of figuring out what we want the universities to be!On the other hand, one thing that can be more easily done is to ensure that the local teaching faculty (the lecturers and the like) are largely local in composition, to offset the likely larger number of foreigners in the research ranks. Keep in mind, however, that these positions do not pay as well, and for some SPhDs, they might very well be able to get a tenure track position elsewhere and prefer to take that, try their luck for a while, then come back to Singapore if necessary than to return to Singapore to be a teaching track faculty member immediately. Keeping options open, as always.All in all - if the emphasis / aim is to increase the proportion of local faculty, aiming for a Singaporean teaching faculty would be a more realistic route to take, at least in the beginning where the supply of research-active Singaporean faculty is limited - probably in tandem with focusing any scholarship programs on existing SPhD students. However, the financials and other considerations must be taken into account, and care must be taken to ensure that the universities are protected. For example, can the local universities still replace or fire under-performing faculty even if they are Singaporean? What I am thinking of is that if a hard floor for the proportion of Singaporean faculty is implemented, the local universities may end up being unable to fire someone who should be fired. On the other hand, having such a floor would still make it harder to fire a Singaporean, which may not be ideal or efficient, allocation wise. If a faculty member is bad, the university should have the freedom to replace him or her as long as they have the grounds to do so - without fear of being reported to MOE for discrimination or the like and then being subject to investigations. Alternatively, universities must also be able to resist having to hire unqualified Singaporeans for faculty positions just to have a Singaporean presence on the faculty - for example, should our local universities be put in the position that they feel that they have to hire a person with no PhD and outdated relevant industry experience for a senior faculty position just because they do not have a sizable Singapore faculty contingent? I think the answer is clearly no - protectionism of this level is counter-productive.ARE THE LOCAL UNIVERSITIES DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SINGAPOREAN PHDS?As for the falling number of Singaporean faculty over the years... I think that concluding from those numbers that the local universities aren't keen to encourage Singaporeans to take up positions is very one sided. If that is what you conclude from that piece of data, I think you haven't thought about it deeply, if at all, or have read the data very selectively. That conclusion might make sense if we are looking at a world where all SPhDs seek to return to Singapore, but look - this is obviously not necessarily true! Again, this point was also brought up in the Wanted: Local talent in varsities article by a local faculty member, but I note that the point made about foreign faculty members not sinking roots in Singapore was not accompanied by any data - it was an unchallenged assertion. Let's have some numbers to back up these assertions, please.So - back to the point. Let's think simply: for example, if the supply of qualified SPhDs is lower than before, or if the quality of SPhDs has shifted higher such that the demand for them from other more esteemed institutions is correspondingly higher - these could very well explain why we have less Singaporean faculty in the local universities now, no? I have already discussed the low number of existing SPhDs, and all in all, hiring faculty is a matching problem - it is not clear that such a sinister agenda is in place. As one of my faculty likes to say when a student makes a huge logical leap on an homework / exam question and pass it off as obvious: "It may be clear to you but it is not clear to me!"Another potential explanation for the decrease is that there are many older Singaporean faculty retiring. This makes sense considering how many of the old guard faculty are Singaporean. Of course, then the counter question is why did we have so many back then and so little now? I could think of several reasons.Firstly, in that time period when these soon-to-retire faculty were hired, faculty were mainly hired to teach, rather than do research. Take a look at the CVs of the older generations of SPhDs and count the number of top-tier journal article publications (NOT just any publications). Compare that with the more recent hires and make your own conclusions…As an example, let's take a look at the Arizona State University Ranking of Finance departments, which is based on publications in the top 4 finance journals from 1990 to 2014 (select view all schools at ASU Finance Rankings). Let's look at the three major local universities. SMU is 76th, even though it was only established in 2000 - but it was established with research as a main aim from the get go. NUS should be ranked 89th, since the ranking has two NUS entries - but notice how many more papers were published after 2000, after SMU came on the scene. NTU is 97th (but should be 98th with the NUS modification), and also notice that it had basically no top tier publications before 2000. That's 10 years of no "A" tier research output, and in relatively recent times! So local academia as a whole HAS changed. Correspondingly, the local academic is no longer what it used to be, so we must at least recognise that - the required skill set is different, and the available supply of faculty and the Singapore subset of that is therefore very different as well!It is far easier to hire teaching faculty than research - the acceptable pool is much larger, given that people with vast prior experience in the area and no PhD could also be excellent in the classroom at imparting course-specific skills. So if teaching faculty are the people leaving, and the universities now want to hire research active faculty (as explained previously), then surely these are two different faculty types, and it would be unreasonable to assume that the supply of these two types are the same! Asserting that the local universities actively do not hire locals based on the downward trend is intellectually dishonest in my view, if you do not consider the less scandalous possible explanations seriously.Secondly, I suspect that in those days faculty members did not see much benefit in staying abroad, and had a stronger preference to return home. Academia now is much, much more competitive than it was then, and based on anecdotal evidence from conversations with faculty, salaries were more similar across countries in the past, so there was at least one less compelling reason to not return back to Singapore.Third, it is possible that the existence of scholarship programs like the Colombo Scholar program, or the Senior Tutor programs, in tandem with the teaching faculty issue, caused an artificially large presence in local faculty then. If the supply was artificially increased and there were less reasons to stay overseas, the smaller number of local faculty now compared to the past may not be a reduction done on purpose by the local universities, but an actual correction of the actual market for local academics to the true level, free of these market distortions. There might still be a place for such scholarships to increase the supply of SPhDs, but matching that with demand is complicated, as discussed previously.TO CONCLUDE...In sum - difficult question. More can be done. I do not believe that the local universities are faultless, but I certainly do not believe that they are primarily at fault like some of the other answers claim. The problem / question is a multi-facted one. There are policies that can be implemented, but care must be taken. The MOE must in particular seek more varied views - not just at the top with the university administrators, but the faculty chairs, existing SPhDs, and undergraduates to figure out a total package, and be willing to modify their initiatives. In the short run, focusing efforts on supporting existing SPhD students is likely to be more effective, but in the long run, Singapore needs to encourage more people towards academia, especially if research academia is the aim rather than teaching.REFERENCESBelow, I include some links to items I referenced, explanations to some references I made, and some newspaper forum letters about the MOE-AU scholarship over the past couple of months.References:Wanted: Local Talent in Varsities (ST): Wanted: Local talent in varsitiesMOE press release for the MOE-AU scholarship: Helping Young Singaporeans Jumpstart into a Career in AcademiaMOE FAQ for the MOE-AU scholarship: MOE-AU Scholarship: Frequently Asked QuestionsChia and Kang (2014) survey of SPhDs: Where Are My Country(wo)men? The Lack of Singaporean Academics in Singapore’s UniversitiesCouncil of Graduate Schools Ph.D. Completion Project: CGS Ph.D. Completion Project Quantitative DataThe first line in Anna Karenina: 'All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'Wikipedia article for Akerlof's 1970 paper, "The Market for Lemons": The Market for LemonsNo Star Arts Grant, Eng Kai Er: No Star Arts Grant: WhyHo Teck Hua returning to Singapore: S'pore scientist Ho Teck Hua leaves Berkeley to head research at NUSArizona State University Finance department Rankings: ASU Finance RankingsThe answer to life, the universe, and everything: 42The air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow: What do you mean? An African or European swallow?MOE press release for first batch of MOE-AU Scholars: 18 2015, Today Online, Sum Siew Kee: Research and academic careers being fixed too earlyMarch 6 2015, Today Online, John Lim from MOE, reply to the Sum Siew Kee letter: MOE-AU scholarship for students with clear passion for academic careerMarch 13 2015, Today Online, Vincent Tan and Guo Huili, disputing the John Lim letter: Five reasons to rethink MOE-AU scholarshipMarch 17 2015, Today Online, Sanjay Perera, disputing the Vincent Tan and Guo Huili letter: Why MOE-AU scholarship is a good idea - this letter, to be honest, is written by a person who has no clue about this issue or, at the very most, has a very biased and selective reading of it. He basically advocates the scholarship to support all aspiring academics cost / suitability be damned, and claims that arguments to push our local universities to try to attract Singaporean faculty back is tantamount to forcing universities to hire one type of faculty - not realizing that the same MOE-AU scholarship he supports does the same exact thing if it works as designed.March 21 2015, Today Online, Han Ming Guang, disputing the Sanjay Perera letter, and supporting the Tan and Guo letter: MOE-AU scholarship: Not wise to target pre-university studentsMarch 21 2015, ST Forum, Elvin Ong - disclaimer here - I was part of the private discussion that led to the writing and submission of this letter: Invest in current PhD students

If a cell of terrorists got heavily armed through legal gun show purchases and then committed a record-breaking mass shooting, would that be enough to finally close the gun show loophole for background checks?

Please tell me which gun show will allow me to avoid a background check because of the gun show loophole. I will be first in line to buy some of those guns the government cannot trace back to me. I have been to several gun shows and the ones I have been to have not allowed me to use the gun show loophole to buy without a background check.I did stop going to gun shows a few years ago. I made the mistake of taking my tech savvy son with me. He brought this high tech device called a smart phone. Every time he saw a knife he was interested in (he collects knives which are common at gun shows) he pulled out his phone, tapped on it a few times then put it away and said dad, forget it.I was confused because he knows his dad is an old softy and he is my only child. I have told him many times, if I cannot spoil him from time to time, then why do I have a son? He certainly has caused me more than a few sleepless nights and a few heart stopping scares (like waking up in the morning on vacation in the middle of nowhere to him having a seizure—his mother and I were scared shitless and he did not remember a thing. We had to drive him 10 miles on a 4wd road to a ranger station then wait 30 minutes for an EMT and then he and his mother went for a 2 hour ambulance ride while I went back, got what was needed, locked up, then took off after the ambulance). It is moments like those that scare the hell out of parents and kids just come to and say what happened just as the ambulance gets to the hospital. When nothing can be found he said, well I got you, you should treat me better. He had two more on the 4 hour drive home only to discover that the neurologist cannot figure out why. At college it happened one more time and we get called in the middle of the night to inform us he is in the hospital so we drive like hell for two hours and stay for two days and again nobody knows why.Parents understand this. My son is smart. He knows how much I was willing to spend and he was going to maximize his returns. He learned everything that was supposed to be cheaper at the gun show, was not. He could get it cheaper off the Internet. He also learned some of the stuff being sold were cheap knockoffs. He had fun informing the show promotors and showing them how he knew and then watching the booths get shut down and items confiscated.I wanted to show him what I knew about guns and started pointing out good deals. I was wrong, cheaper and better on the Internet.He was right, why pay for parking, entrance, overpriced food and drinks to buy overpriced goods that might be fakes. We decided it was better to use that time at the gun range.So, I had heard about the Internet loophole, buying guns without background checks. So I finally found a few guns at really great prices and went through the process to buy them. Damn, foiled again, background check time. It was all and good, I pass background checks because I actually have a super clean background and when I worked as a science researcher I had top secret clearance, not because I was working on a top secret project, but because I worked in a building where top secret projects were being worked on at the University I worked at and I needed it to gain access to use the equipment needed for my mundane research project. The building had a small nuclear reactor in it and nobody could go it with out top secret clearance because the people in charge of those decisions thought it was a good idea.Why is the gun show loophole a myth? First, the GCA of 1968 only applies to people who buy guns from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). These are people in the business of selling firearms. With the passage of the Brady act and the mandatory background checks (NICS or national instant criminal check system) all gun sales through a FFL requires a background check. The Federal law does not apply to sales between private parties. So, I have a used gun that I no longer want and I decide to sell it and find a buyer willing to buy it for an agreed on price, he gives me the money and I give him the gun. Under Federal law that is legalUnderstand, the Feds really cannot mandate that the states do much of anything. Federal power is limited. So how does the Federal government get states to go along? Money!!Now, the Feds control the Federal licensing system for firearms dealers because they can involve themselves in anything that is involved in Interstate commerce, even if it does not actually get sold across state lines. It just has to have the potential to be sold or eventually be moved across state lines. People buy guns and then decide later to move to a different state and take their guns with them. That is Interstate commerce. So the can control how FFLs conduct business and require them to do background checks.The feds cannot mandate that private parties conduct background checks. They are not licensed and by definition not in the firearms business. People also cannot be prevented from selling a legal item they own at a later time if they decide for what ever reason they no longer wish to own it. As long as they do not do it regularly enough to meet the definition of being in the business of selling firearms, the feds cannot interfere.Now, the states have the power to mandate their own laws, as long as they are not unconstitutional. So states can mandate background checks for private party sales. Some states do.I live in CA which has mandated this for probably over 20 years (a long time and I am not going to look up the date). So, if I want to sell a gun to another private party, we both have to go to a FFL. The buyer pays a fee mandated by the state and the state conducts the background check. CA does things differently because, well they are CA and just have to complicate matters. This is the state where laws rarely make sense and anyone who tries to make any sense of them will go crazy.CA does not trust the Federal NICS check. I also think they do not trust the FFLs. So the FFLs cannot run the background check like they do in the rest of the country. Nope, they collect all the information and send it to the CA DOJ so their people can run the background checks. CA does not want to share their information with the Feds either, which creates another problem (I will explain later). So CA runs the NICS check, and then searches all of their databases. I once knew how many, but I have since forgotten. It is more than one. The CA database are very incomplete because the county court systems rarely enter the information the DOJ requires, they are underfunded and barely have enough money to keep the courts running at a minimal level. So if you have been arrested, you will not be approved because if no charges were filed, nothing else was entered. The DOJ though demands a disposition be entered, they want to know what happened, were charges dismissed, did it go to trial, what was the result etc. They want to make sure nobody falls through the cracks.So when that happens, the buy has to spend about a year and a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to hunt down everything, get all the records in order, and often this means someone has to personally walk the paperwork to each person who needs to sign off. A lawyer does it much faster but it is costlier.Try to get this done for an arrest 40 years ago when records were not computerized and stored in the courthouse basement.You are guilty until you prove you are innocent. Have the same name as criminal, you will get delayed every time even if you go through the process to get a unique ID number to differentiate yourself from the criminal. With that ID number sometimes you are approved, sometimes delayed, and sometimes denied. You have a better chance of just reapplying again than going through the paperwork and effort to fix it. The odds are better you will get approved faster this way than trying to clear it up again. It always seems the DOJ loses the paperwork or forgets to enter it in their computer system. Keep copies of everything. If you use an attorney the first time, it is faster, a call from the attorney often speeds things up to light speed because at that point their is a real threat with the real documents to back up legal action resulting in a fine and the attorney being compensated by the state rather than by his client. Attorneys cost but it is money worth spending if you need to repeat the same script with the state.Under federal law, only FFLs can use the NICS system. Bloomberg’s group learned the hard way when they pushed Question 1 on Nevada which was to include background checks for private parties. It passed but it could not be implemented and was tossed by the NV Supreme court because it was an impossible regulation. Question 1 required private parties to go to a FFL to conduct the NICS. It was the only way to get enough voters to buy into it. If the state had to set up a system, it would be too costly and require taxpayer money which was a deal killer.The problem was the feds made it clear, FFLs could not access the system for non-FFLs. I believe it was due to privacy issues, accessing personal information about another person. The two private parties might get personal information about each other that could be used for criminal purposes (ID theft) in the future. If a background check is to be conducted for private sales, it has to be done by the state or one of its agencies. I believe for Oregon, it is done through the State Police.As for the weakness with CA, they do not share their information with the Feds. So if someone from CA moves out of state they just might be able to pass a NICS background check because CA withheld information about a conviction for a felony, a DV situation, or even a mental health involuntary hold. Us gun people in CA call these people CA prohibited people. They just have to move to another state and they can legally buy guns because CA will not share their information. CA also has some laws that disqualify people from owning guns that other states do not have. So again if you want a gun and this applies, move to another state. There are many reasons to move and people in this position usually are at the point of screw CA I’m leaving. They do and when they get to the border they take a selfie at the welcome to CA sign flipping the bird or mooning the state. I knew a few who stood on the other side and threw a few high capacity magazines back into the state in front of CA Highway Patrol officers just for laughs and then drove off. They were not in CA and the state was not going to waste the time and effort to arrest them. The CHP officers usually do not even collect the magazines, someone else picks them up.I have attended gun shows in NV. What I have found, every show requires every buyer to go through a NICS background check, even if it is between two private parties. Why? Because every gun show close to CA has undercover ATF agents, undercover CA DOJ agents that have been federally deputized so they can make arrests out of state and are free to conduct investigations out of state and do not need to inform the locals about their presence. They rarely make arrests, they wait for the CA resident to return to CA, it avoids the whole state extradition process. Besides, if they are violating federal law, they take the evidence and hand it over to the ATF agent at the show. The federal penalty for a CA resident buying out of state is 10 years, while the best CA can do it a couple of years for illegally importing guns without going through a CA FFL first.CA will sue the gun show promoter if they find any cause to do so, and have done so even with very little cause. The CA government has the taxpayer money backing them and will go all out because really, it is not their money. The promoter cannot afford to fight so caves quickly. The promotor could be 100% in the right, but it will cost him a few million up front to take that gamble and after a multi-year fight and the long appeals process the state will force if they lose, he might win and might get some attorneys fees but will be out of business and bankrupt. So he settles fast. One settles and most all the others institute the same policies to avoid the same legal battles, it is not worth it.Every sale goes through a background check, mostly to ensure no sales to CA residents. Many promotors require ID to buy larger than 10 round mags. They do not want to have any DA or the DOJ claiming they sell large capacity magazines to CA residents that will end up back in CA. This is BS, because the sales are legal in NV, it is importation into CA that is illegal. Many of us have friends and family in NV. Many who compete in the various gun competitions have storage places or do training in NV part of the year to store the CA banned items that they can legally own, just not possess in CA. So ID is at times required. Some sellers will not sell, others have you sign a paper to acknowledge importing into CA is illegal. Others just pretend to look at the ID and sell anyway.I forgot to mention, we have our own tattle tale in CA, Dr. Garen Wintemute. He teaches at the UC Med Center in Sacramento. He perfected using student interns to secretly videotape Californians buying illegal to own in CA or even illegally buying guns in NV and AZ gun shows. He has his own state funded research center now, The Violence Prevention Research Center Welcome to the Violence Prevention Research ProgramHe is so well known that his picture is posted at every gun show in NV as a person that is not allowed in. He will be forcibly ejected for trespassing. He had himself filmed while this was happening a few times to use for propaganda. The Gun show people got smart and started swarming his camera crew and separated him from them. They had restraining orders against him so brought him to the back and out of camera view he would have some accidents. When handed over to the police, he would have a few more accidents on the way to jail. He decided the pain from the accidents was not worth the publicity and the cops and judges were not sympathetic to him. He walked onto private property in a state that allowed reasonable force to be used to stop a trespasser and evict him after he had been served a restraining order. Every person in his camera crew was served restraining orders which went onto their records and messed up their ability to get scholarships and federal money. A few had some federally banned drugs on them so that just added to their problems, loss of all federal college aid money.Now, I want to point out a misdirection in the CSGV “fact sheet” that is in the link provided under the question.Part way down is this tidbit, “The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires anyone engaged in the business of selling guns to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and keep a record of their sales. However, this law does not cover all gun sellers. If a supplier is selling from his or her private collection and the principal objective is not to make a profit, the seller is not “engaged in the business” and is not required to have a license. Because they are unlicensed, these sellers are not required to keep records of sales and are not required to perform background checks on potential buyers, even those prohibited from purchasing guns by the Gun Control Act. The gun show loophole refers to the fact that prohibited purchasers can avoid required background checks by seeking out these unlicensed sellers at gun shows.”The part I bolded is the misdirection. I do have a FFL03 otherwise known as a C&R. This is often referred to as the gun collectors license. People who have these are not true FFLs, they are not in the business of buying and selling guns for a profit. They are the gun collectors. The C&R stands for curio and relics. These are defined as guns that are 50 years or older as well as other that have value as collectors pieces and are listed as such by the ATF. So there are guns newer than 50 years old that are C&R, but they are determined on a case by case basis by the ATF. These are not standard guns people buy at the gun stores and many of these are rather expensive. These are not the ones criminals are out to buy.What is nice about the FFL03, is I can by a C&R gun out of state. It is illegal for me to buy a modern gun outside of my state of residence unless I have that gun sent to a FFL in my state and then go through the background check. Since it has to go through an FFL under federal law, a background check has to be done. If I find a gun on the Internet from an out-of-state private seller, to be legal, the seller has to send it to an FFL in my state. This is done quite a bit these days. The majority of these private sellers are unwilling to sell the gun illegally and if asked to do so, even for a few hundred dollars more will turn you down and likely report you to the admin of the gun selling forum. They do not want to end up with a 10 year federal prison sentence. The ATF does monitor and does have undercover people offer to buy for extra money if the background check can be skipped. It is not worth it. Also, any buyer willing to sell without going through proper channels is either a scammer that will disappear with your money and not deliver the gun, an ATF undercover operation, or a bad guy that wants to meet in a dark ally where you will lose your money and much more and be lucky to leave with your life. This is not worth it.So this part “selling from his or her private collection and the principal objective is not to make a profit, the seller is not “engaged in the business” “ is the exact wording to describe how the AFT determines if a FFL03 needs to get a real FFL (FFL01) license to sell guns from his or her collection or can do it with just their FFL03. There comes a time when age catches up to us and it is time to sell the collection. Several years ago a bunch of old guys in FL were busted because they each had their own FFL03 but were working together as a group to buy and sell C&R guns out of a warehouse and were making a decent profit from it to supplement their SS income. When I mean decent enough, they were making more money than they had at their jobs before retirement and claimed since it was not a business they also did not have to pay taxes. They lost so many ways and ended up spending the rest of their retirement years in a Club Fed resort.I obtained my FFL03 around this time and I got the letter from the ATF making it very clear, I could buy and sell but only for the purposes of the collection and not to engage in a business. So if they discovered I was buying and selling a couple hundred of guns a month for several months, they will take a much closer look, otherwise, enjoy your new hobby.When someone got ahold of a copy of my FFL03 and tried to use it illegally to buy, the ATF agents actually did not treat me as a criminal. They looked over my books, realized I could not have done the buying as I had a job and was present at the job while the guns were being bought 1500 miles away. They helped me get a new license with a new number and all was good. It was determined that the copy was stolen from the records of the last FFL I had purchased from just before he had a heart attack. He specialized in restoring and repairing WWII rifles and then selling them. Someone broke into shop because the local police had not secured it as instructed by the local FBI. They were using various FFL03 they had found to buy C&R guns because the ATF does not have a system to instantly verify them like they do FFL01. He used the guys credit from hacking into his computer system.I can go to a gun show and buy a C&R gun without a background check because I have a federal license that allows me to do so. I can do this in any state. Because of my state’s laws, when I return, I have to register them with the state. I also have to record the guns I acquire using my FFL03 into my own bound book and record when I dispose of them and to whom just like a regular FFL01.So, on many of the undercover gun shows buys of buying without a background check, some of them are because the buyer has a federal license that allows them to buy without a background check and that is just overlooked because it does not sell the narrative.Other times, it is just Joe Blow selling a few guns he has because he no longer needs them or he has unexpected expenses he needs to pay and needs the money. It is legal, it is between two private parties. Many times these same sales happen in the parking lot of Walmarts because they are everywhere and they have cameras so if anything goes wrong, there will be a video for the police. I know of guys in free states that conduct the transaction at the local police station parking lots and nobody gives it a second though, including the police officers that are present.Criminals do not go to gun shows to buy their guns. That is where the ATF is, the police are, anti-gun people are filming everything. That is a lie perpetuated by the MSN and anti-gun groups.Criminals have someone who is not prohibited buy their guns, the straw purchaser. The person selling rarely knows this is the case. How can I know the person buying, who is legally able to buy, will go home and hand the gun over to a relative, friend, or whoever that is prohibited. I am not a mind reader. You might say, well, if a couple comes in and the guy does all the talking and they women buys and does the background check, it is a straw purchase. Go to a local gun range. At mine, on any given day it is very close to 50/50% women and men. I have teen girls who compete in local shooting competitions and they are good. I have shot with them at my local gun range and they put my skills to shame. I can hit what I aim for, I am confident enough for SD but these young ladies come extremely close to 10 bullets in one ragged hole with either a pistol or rifle.Some women take their husbands or BF with them to avoid the still male centric world of gun buying. Some men insist on buying for their women. I wish they would not. I know of many women who are very capable of buying their own guns.Criminals do not buy their guns at gun shows, at least the smart ones. It is only the stupid people that try. I have watched a few dumb people try. People from CA trying to buy at a NV gun show or even a NV gun shop and then getting upset because they can legally buy guns, WTF does being from CA have to do with anything. Their only crime is being stupid.So if you can find a gun show where I can use the loophole to buy a bunch of guns to stash away incase the government goes full retard and wants to take my guns. I could offer up the ones they know about and still rest peacefully knowing I have my guns and am no longer on their hit list. I can now join the resistance as a double agent. The feds think I am clean while at the same time I am working against them. That would be so cool, a real double agent fighting for gun rights. This is the thing that gives the progressive-liberals nightmares because the politicians do know, they can do their best to ban all guns and gun crime will not drop, it will increase. They just use that mantra to get reelected and keep the donations rolling in from those that are scared about guns. The problem is, the gun control crowd support is a mile wide and an inch deep. They do not put up their own money, they have two very rich supporters backing them. If that money dried up overnight, their activist groups would fall apart in days because they would have no money to keep up the fight.Us gun people though, we vote at the ballot box at a much higher percentage than the non-gun people do and we support our cause with our own money.Most do not realize that a large portion of money collected for buying land for wildlife and other conservation activities comes from a federal tax on guns, ammo, and other outdoor equipment and supplies bought by gun people, hunters, fishermen, boaters, and such. This was a self-imposed tax at our request decades ago to preserve wild and open spaces for recreation. If our money was not available for this, these lands would not be available today.In CA, this past year, a budget report noted that the sales of hunting and fishing licenses have sharply declined over the past 10 years. The new background checks for ammo purchases will greatly cut into the money available for conservation efforts because gun and ammo sales are expected to drop sharply. They know people will buy out of state and import back illegally and the state cannot stop that. It is an infraction if caught and to enforce it, a LEO has to personally witness the purchase out of state, then follow the person back to CA before a citation can be issued and it is legally equivalent to a speeding ticket. It is not happening. The law was written with so many exceptions to allow for non-residents to bring ammo into the state legally because the law would be struck down if these were not there. The feds can only control interstate transportation. They did such a terrible job of it that by reading the letter of the law, if my wife and I were out of state, and I bought ammo and then gave it to her, she could legally bring it back into the state without having to bring it to a FFL for a background check.Family members can send ammo to relatives into the state (only certain relationships) without background checks. The rules for significant others is so loose, we have to be politically correct in this state, that you could easily have a partner send you the ammo into the state legally. So, hey, you can be my intimate partner today, and I will get a new one tomorrow. Nobody is going to check the bedroom and besides relationships are whatever we define them to be.You know who is starting to get upset over this realization, the progressive liberals, especially the LGBT because it is exploiting their cause for violence. The more conservatives do not care, what ever you want fine, we will play your game and still get our ammo. We also win because now we do not have to pay sales tax to this state and we get to help starve the beast.I get to use the FFL03 loophole. I can bring ammo into the state without a background check because the law allows it. The ATF has seen a huge spike recently in the number of FFL03 applications from CA. So sell the reasonable gun control laws fiction, FFL03 who also pass a state yearly background check and get something called a COE are exempt from several gun laws because we are the law abiding gun owners.Our previous Attorney General and now US Senator, camel toe harris did not like this several years ago and tried to reinterpret the meaning of the law and said it did not mean what it said. The CA Supreme Court just ruled that was an illegal interpretation and the laws mean exactly what they say. The legislature is very capable of writing laws to mean what they say and if they can’t do that, it is their problem, that is their job and they have the Attorney General and hundreds of attorneys working for the state to assist with that.So, all of us law abiding gun owners can now go through 2 more background checks that will again prove that no matter how many background checks we go through in a day, 1 or 100, we are still not criminals so just leave us alone and go after the real criminals that you keep releasing from prison because you waste money fighting against the rights of the law abiding citizens that could be used to actually take the real criminals off the streets and do something that will reduce violence.

Why doesn’t the military teach members a trade so when they go to civilian life they will have a better chance at getting a better job?

Another civilian clueless as to what the U.S. military does.Take a look at the some of job offers just for the Navy. Granted not all military jobs will cross to a civilian job.InsigniaGeneral ratingAbbreviationService ratingAbbreviationAviation boatswain's mateAB[I](Launching & Recovery)(Fuels)(Aircraft Handling)ABEABFABHAviation Boatswain's Mates are responsible for aircraft catapults, arresting gear and barricades. They operate fuel and lube oil transfer systems, as well as direct aircraft on the flight deck and in hangar bays before launch and after recovery. They use tow tractors to position planes and operate support equipment used to start aircraft.[15]Air traffic controllerACAir traffic controllers assist with the speedy flow of air traffic by directing and controlling aircraft. They operate field lighting systems and communicate with aircraft. They furnish pilots with information regarding traffic, navigation, and weather conditions, as well as operate and adjust ground-controlled approach (GCA) systems and interpret targets on radar screens and plot aircraft positions.[15]Air traffic controllerACAir traffic controllers assist with the speedy flow of air traffic by directing and controlling aircraft. They operate field lighting systems and communicate with aircraft. They furnish pilots with information regarding traffic, navigation, and weather conditions, as well as operate and adjust ground-controlled approach (GCA) systems and interpret targets on radar screens and plot aircraft positions.[15]Aviation machinist's mateAD[II]Aviation machinist's mates are usually assigned to billets concerned with the maintenance of turbo-jet aircraft engines and associated equipment. They are responsible for the maintenance and replacement of aircraft engines and accessories, as well as performing the duties of flight engineers.[15]Aviation Electrician's MateAE[III]Aviation Electrician's Mates are responsible for aircraft electrical power generating and converting systems. They maintain lighting, control, and indicating systems and can install as well as maintain flight and engine instrument systems.[15]Aerographer's mateAGAerographer's mates are the U.S. Navy's weather forecasters. They are trained in meteorology and the use of aerological instruments that monitor air pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed, and direction. They prepare weather maps and forecasts and can analyze atmospheric conditions to determine the best flight levels for aircraft. An AG can measure wind and air density to aid the accuracy of anti-aircraft firing, shore bombardment and delivery of weapons by aircraft.[15]Aviation structural mechanicAM[II](Safety Equipment)(Hydraulics and Structures)AMEAMAviation structural mechanics are responsible for the maintenance of many aircraft parts such as wings, fuselage, tail, control surfaces, landing gear, and hydraulic systems. AME's maintain and repair oxygen, cockpit and cabin pressurization, and ejection seat systems.[15]Aviation ordnancemanAOAviation ordnancemen operate and handle aviation ordnance equipment. They are responsible for the maintenance of guns, bombs, torpedoes, rockets, and missiles. Their duties include the stowing, issuing, and loading of munitions and small arms.[15]Aviation support equipment technicianASAviation support equipment technicians perform intermediate maintenance on aviation accessory equipment at naval air stations and aboard aircraft carriers. They maintain gasoline and diesel engines, gas turbine compressor units and electrical systems.[15]Aviation electronics technicianAT[III]Aviation electronics technicians are responsible for the maintenance of radars, avionics, and navigation systems at all times. They do checks on equipment, and calibration of many aviation electronics systems on a regular basis.[15]Naval aircrewmanAW(Operator)(Mechanical)(Avionics)(Helicopter)(Tactical Helicopter)AWOAWFAWVAWSAWRNaval aircrewman operate airborne radar and electronic equipment used in detecting, locating, and tracking submarines. They provide information for aircraft and surface navigation and act as helicopter-rescue crewmen, and function as part of the flight crew on long-range and intermediate-range aircraft. Beginning in 2009, other enlisted aviation ratings that perform flight engineer or loadmaster duties in Navy aircraft will convert to the AW rating.[15]Aviation maintenance administrationmanAZAviation maintenance administrationmen perform clerical, administrative, and managerial duties necessary to keep aircraft maintenance activities running smoothly. They schedule and coordinated the maintenance workload, including inspections and modifications to aircraft and equipment.[15]Aircrew survival equipmentmanPRAircrew survival equipmentmen are responsible for the packing and care of parachutes. They maintain flight clothing, rubber life rafts, life jackets, oxygen-breathing apparatus, protective clothing, and air-sea rescue equipment.[15]The abbreviation comes from the former official title (still used informally) of parachute rigger.[16]Notes[edit]I^ : ABE, ABF, and ABH combine at paygrade E-9 to the rate of Master chief aviation boatswain's mate (ABCM).[17]II^ : AM, AME, and AD combine at paygrade E-9 to the rate of Master chief aircraft maintenanceman (AFCM).III^ : AE and AT combine at paygrade E-9 to the rate of Master chief avionics technician (AVCM).IV^ : 2009 AW rating merged with all other aircrew NEC's and changed their title from aviation warfare system operators to naval aircrewman.Construction ratings[edit]InsigniaGeneral ratingAbbreviationService ratingAbbreviationBuilderBU[I]Navy builders are like civilian construction workers. They are skilled carpenters, plasterers, roofers, cement finishers, asphalt workers, masons, and painters. They build and repair all types of structures including: piers, bridges, towers, schools, offices, houses, and other buildings.[15]Construction electricianCE[II]Construction electricians are responsible for the power production and electrical work required to build and operate airfields, roads, barracks, and hospitals. The work of a CE is equivalent to civilian construction electricians, telephone and electrical repairmen, lineman, and others.[15]Construction mechanicCM[III]Construction mechanics maintain many types of construction machinery including; buses, dump trucks, bulldozers, rollers, cranes, backhoes, and pile drivers. They work on gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions. They also repair electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic and steering systems.[15]Engineering aideEA[I]Engineering aides provide construction engineers with information needed to develop final construction plans. They conduct surveys for roads, airfields, buildings, etc. They perform soil tests, prepare topographic and hydrographic maps. They also survey for sewers, water lines, drainage systems and underwater excavations.[15]Equipment operatorEO[III]Equipment operators work with heavy machinery such as bulldozers, power shovels, pile drivers, etc. They use this machinery to dig ditches, excavate for building foundations, break up old concrete or asphalt paving and pour new paving. They grade and remove debris from construction sites, raise girders, and move and set in place other pieces of equipment or materials needed for the job.[15]SteelworkerSW[I]Steelworkers rig and operate all special equipment used to move or hoist structural steel, structural shapes and similar material. They erect and dismantle steel bridges, piers, buildings, storage tanks, etc. They work with steel shapes, plates and built-up sections used in the construction of overseas facilities. They are skilled in arc welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, and gas welding.[15]UtilitiesmanUT[II]Utilitiesmen supervise and perform tasks involved in the installation and maintenance of plumbing, steam, compressed air and fuel storage and distribution systems. They maintain air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, as well as sewage collecting and disposal facilities.[15]Notes[edit]I^ : BU, EA, and SW combine, as follows:at paygrade E-8 to the rating of Senior chief constructionman (CUCS)at paygrade E-9 to the rating of Master chief constructionman (CUCM).[18]II^ : CE and UT combine at paygrade E-9 to the rating of Master chief utilitiesman (UCCM).[18]III^ : CM and EO combine at paygrade E-9 to the rating of Master chief equipmentman (EQCM).[18]Medical[edit]InsigniaGeneral ratingAbbreviationService ratingAbbreviationHospital corpsmanHMHospital corpsmen are medical professionals who provide health care to service people and their families. They serve as pharmacy technicians, medical technicians, nurse's aides, physician's or dentist's assistants, battlefield medics, and more. All work falls into several categories: first aid and minor surgery, patient transportation, patient care, prescriptions and laboratory work, food service inspections, and clerical duties.[15]Administration, deck, technical, and weapons specialty ratings[edit]InsigniaGeneral ratingAbbreviationService ratingAbbreviationBoatswain's mateBMBoatswain's mates train and supervise personnel in all activities relating to marlinspike, deck, and boat seamanship, and oversee the maintenance of the ship's external structure and deck equipment. They act as petty officers in charge of small craft and may perform duties as master-at-arms, serve in or take charge of gun crews, and damage control parties.Boatswain's mates are also responsible for the "deck side" watch. In port, three of the crew are on deck watch 24/7 (in hazardous areas such as war zones there are more than three, depending on ship's size). They are the Officer of the Deck, Boatswain's Mate of the watch, and Messenger of the Watch (usually a Seaman or Seaman Apprentice). They are stationed very close to the gangway and monitor all the comings and goings of persons to and from the ship. At sea the boatswain's mate of the watch is within ear shot of the conning officer (on the bridge). The boatswain's mate of the watch supervises the rest of the enlisted watch standers on deck. They include helmsman, messenger of the watch, and all the look outs. In port or at sea the boatswain's mate of the watch is charged with the responsibility of making all announcements to the crew; everything from chow call to general quarters (battle stations).[15]Culinary specialistCS(Surface)(Subsurface)CSCSSCulinary specialists prepare menus and order food items. They operate galley and dining facilities, manage large facilities, keep records for food supplies and financial budgets, and can even serve as flight attendant aircrewmen. They can also serve as a personal food service specialist, household/estate manager or chef for an admiral, the First Family, President of the United States at Camp David and the White House, to the Vice President at Number One Observatory Circle or for a commanding officer aboard ship or at shore bases. Ashore, Culinary Specialists often manage and maintain clubs, TAD hotels and Permanent Party naval barracks.[19]Cryptologic technicianCT[I](Interpretive)(Maintenance)(Networks)(Collection)(Technical)CTICTMCTNCTRCTTCryptologic technicians control the flow of messages and information and also conduct electronic warfare. Their work depends on their specific branch: CTAs or administration cryptologic technicians (as of 01 OCT 07 CTA merged with the YN rating) perform administrative and clerical duties that control access to classified material. CTIs or interpretive cryptologic technicians handle radiotelephone communications and foreign language translation. CTMs or maintenance cryptologic technicians maintain electronic and electromechanical equipment. CTNs or networking cryptologic technicians handle computer communication. CTRs or collection cryptologic technicians handle all Morse code communications and operate radio direction-finding equipment. Finally, CTTs or technical cryptologic technicians deal with electronic warfare. CTTs are the first line of defense against inbound threats and anti-ship missiles. They also collect, analyze, and provide electronic intelligence support to commands throughout the world.[15]Explosive ordnance disposalEODExplosive ordnance disposal technicians locate, identify, render safe and dispose of all forms of ordnance (conventional, nuclear, chemical, biological, military, and improvised) both U.S. and foreign made. Parachute or Helicopter insertion and deep-sea diving capabilities are sometimes necessary to perform this mission. In addition to working closely with other military services, EOD technicians occasionally assist civilian law enforcement agencies.[20]Electronics technicianETSurfaceNuclear PowerSubmarine, NavigationSubmarine, CommunicationsETETN[21]ETV[21]ETR[21]Electronics technicians are responsible for electronic equipment used to send and receive messages, detect enemy planes and ships, and determine target distances. They maintain, repair, and calibrate all electronic equipment used for communications, detection tracking, identification, and navigation. Specially qualified electronics technicians are employed onboard nuclear-powered ships to operate the nuclear reactor and maintain its control subsystems.[15]Fire controlmanFCConventionalNon-Conventional (Aegis)FCFCAFire controlmen (FC's) maintain the control mechanism used in weapons systems on combat ships. Complex electronic, electrical and hydraulic equipment is required to ensure the accuracy of Navy guided-missile and surface gunfire-control systems. They are responsible for the operation, routine care and repair of this equipment, which includes radars, computers, weapons direction equipment, target designation systems, gyroscopes and rangefinders.[15]Fire controlman - Aegis (FCA's) maintain the Aegis Combat System, an integrated naval weapons system on the Ticonderoga-class cruiser and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.Fire control technicianFTFire control technicians maintain the electronic equipment used in submarine weapons systems. They are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the complex electronic, electrical and mechanical equipment required to ensure the accuracy of Navy guided-missile systems and underwater weapons. They are responsible for ship safety by recognizing and analyzing data from several critical systems including sonar, radar, periscope, radio, and torpedo inputs.[15]Gunner's mateGMGunner's mates operate and maintain all gunnery equipment, guided-missile launching systems, rocket launchers, guns, turrets, and associated equipment. They repair electrical, electronic, hydraulic and mechanical systems, and make detailed casualty analysis. They test ammunition, missiles and their ordnance components. GMs train and supervise personnel in the handling and stowage of ammunition, missiles, and assigned ordnance equipment.[15]Intelligence specialistISIntelligence specialists are involved in collecting and interpreting intelligence especially secret information about enemies or potential enemies. They analyze photographs and prepare charts, maps, and reports that describe in detail the strategic situation all over the world.[15]Information systems technician (Surface)Information Systems Technician Submarines (Submarine)IT[II]ITSInformation systems technicians design, install, operate, and maintain state-of-the-art informations systems. This technology includes local and wide area networks, mainframe, mini and microcomputer systems and associated peripheral devices. They also write programs to handle the collection, manipulation and distribution of data for a wide variety of applications and requirements. They perform the functions of a computer system analyst, operate telecommunications systems including automated networks and the full spectrum of data links and circuits.[22]LegalmanLNLegalmen are the Navy's paralegals. They assist Staff Judge Advocates in the proper administration of military justice and administrative law, such as courts-martial, nonjudicial punishment, and administrative separation. They work in Region Legal Service Offices (RLSO), Defense Service Offices, aboard aircraft carriers and large amphibious ships, and at various independent duty locations. Legalmen assist service members, retirees, and their family members with powers of attorney, wills, tax returns, voter registration procedures, immigration and customs regulations, Social Security regulations, and veterans' benefits.[15]Logistics specialistLS(Surface)(Subsurface)LSLSSLogistics specialists manage inventories and issuance of repair parts/general supplies and specialized supplies (e.g., personal flight gear for naval aircrews or specialized combat equipment for Navy SEALs or Naval Military Construction Battalion "Seabees"), as well as distribute mail for naval ships, submarines, aviation squadrons, and shore-based activities. They procure, receive, store and issue material and repair selected components. They utilize financial accounting and database systems to perform inventory and financial management functions. Additionally, they sort and distribute all official and personal mail, manage money order and stamp inventories, and maintain financial and inventory reports.[15]Master-at-armsMAMasters-at-arms uphold law and order aboard ships, shore stations, control access to naval installations, and deploy overseas with expeditionary forces and squadrons performing antiterrorism/force protection (AT/FP) duties. The basic duty of an MA is to enforce rules and regulations, maintain good order and discipline, and protect life and property. Some other duties include conducting criminal investigations, personal protective services, take part in correctional and rehabilitative programs, military working dog (MWD) handlers, small arms instruction, lethal and non-lethal weapons training, and organize and train sailors assigned to shore patrol police duty. Their equivalents in the civilian world are detectives, security guards, and policemen.[15]Mass communication specialistMCMass communication specialists are public affairs and visual information experts. They present the U.S. Navy story to audiences in the Navy and to the rest of the world through a variety of media. Mass communication specialists write and produce print and broadcast journalism, news, and feature stories for military and civilian newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcast stations. They record still and video photography of military operations, exercises, and other Navy events.[15]MinemanMNMinemen test, maintain, and repair mines and their components. They are responsible for assembling, testing, and delivering mines to the planting agent. They maintain minehandling and minelaying equipment.[15]At sea, minemen primarily man Avenger Class mine countermeasures ships as well the new Independence Class littoral combat ships as a part of the MCM module. Their duties at sea include but are not limited to: operating mine hunting sonar, operating remote controlled submersibles in prosecuting mine-like contacts, rigging and deploying minesweeping gear as well as standing normal underway deck and combat information center watches.[23]Missile technicianMTMissile technicians operate and maintain the UGM-133 Trident II D5 missile Strategic Weapon System (SWS) carried aboard ballistic missile submarines and at strategic weapons facilities. Missile technicians operate and maintain electronic, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic strategic weapon subsystems, test and operate the MK98 fire-control system and MK 6 guidance system, perform classified targeting operations, and provide physical security to nuclear weapon systems.[15]MusicianMUMusicians play in official Navy bands and special groups such as jazz bands, dance bands and small ensembles. They give concerts and provide music for military ceremonies, religious services, parades, receptions and dances. Official unit bands usually do not include stringed instruments, but each musician must be able to play at least one brass, woodwind or percussion instrument. Sailors are selected for this rating through auditions.[15]Navy counselorNC(Career)(Recruiter)NC(C)NC(R)Navy counselors offer vocational guidance to Navy personnel — individually and in groups — aboard ships and at shore facilities. They assess the interests, aptitudes, abilities and personalities of individuals and assist them in reaching their full potential. They are responsible directly to the command triumvirate (CO, XO, CMC) and report on many items such as retention, attrition, advancement, testing and various other facets of the career development program. Additionally, it is their keen eye and attention to detail that ensure personnel throughout the command are updated on current Navy policies in regards to career management, off duty education and administrative procedures, among various other responsibilities.[15]Operations specialistOSOperations specialists operate radar, navigation and communications equipment in the shipboard combat information centers (CICs) or bridges. They detect and track ships, planes, and missiles. They operate and maintain identification friend or foe (IFF) systems, electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment and radio-telephones.[15]They control and assist aircraft.Personnel specialistPSPersonnel specialists provide enlisted personnel with information and counseling about Navy jobs, opportunities for general education and training, and promotion requirements. They assist enlisted members' families with legal aid or reassignments in hardship situations. Personnel Specialists keep records up to date, prepare reports, type letters and maintain files.[15]QuartermasterQM[III]Quartermasters assist the navigator and officer of the deck (OOD), steer the ship, take radar bearings and ranges, make depth soundings and celestial observations, plot courses and command small craft.[15]Religious program specialistRPReligious program specialists assist Navy chaplains with administrative and budgetary tasks. They serve as custodians of chapel funds, keep religious documents and stay in contact with religious and community agencies. They prepare devotional and religious educational materials, set up volunteer programs, operate shipboard libraries, supervise chaplains' offices and perform administrative, clerical and secretarial duties. They train personnel in religious programs and publicize religious activities.[15]Special warfare boat operatorSBSpecial warfare boat operators (SWCC - special warfare combatant-craft crewmen) drive fast speedboats down narrow, winding rivers, or the open ocean while performing high speed, medium range, or all weather insertion/extraction of special operations forces. They participate in maritime interdiction operations, tactical swimmer operations, intelligence collection, operation deception, and coastal patrol.[24]Retail Services SpecialistRSRetail Services Specialists manage barber shops, tailor shops, ships' uniform stores, laundries, dry cleaning plants and cobbler shops. They serve as clerks in exchanges, gas stations, warehouses, and commissary stores. Some RSs function as Navy club managers.[25][26]Special warfare operatorSOSpecial warfare operators are Navy SEALs, which are the Navy's primary unconventional warfare units that conduct warfare at SEa, in the Air, and on Land (SEAL). A SEAL's core skills consist of: sniper, breacher, communicator, maritime/engineering, close air support, corpsman, driver, navigator (rural/urban/protective security), heavy weapons operator, sensitive site exploitation, air operations (parachuting/helicopter insertion, etc.), climber, interrogator, technical surveillance, and advanced special operations. SEALs oversee ocean-borne mine disposal, carry out direct action raids against military targets, conduct reconnaissance, and secure beachheads for invading amphibious forces.[24]Sonar technicianST(Surface)(Subsurface)STGSTSSonar technicians are responsible for underwater surveillance. They assist in safe navigation and aid in search and rescue and attack operations. They operate and repair sonar equipment and jam enemy sonars. Sonar Technicians operate, maintain and repair sonar systems, antisubmarine warfare fire control equipment and other various equipment associated with underwater detection, counter-detection, warfare and communications.[15]YeomanYN(Surface)(Subsurface)YNYNSYeomen perform administrative and clerical work. They deal with visitors, coordinate worldwide travel, submit passport applications, telephone calls and incoming mail, and assist various ships, squadrons, staff commands, and special warfare teams around the world with administrative tasks. They write and type business and social letters, notices, directives, forms and reports.[15]Notes[edit]I^ : Cryptologic technician now includes former rating of electronic warfare technician (EW).[27]II^ : Information systems technician now includes former rating of cryptologic technician – communications (CTO).[27]III^ : Quartermaster QM now exists as electronics technician (navigation) ETV on submarines.[27]Engineering and hull ratings[edit]InsigniaGeneral ratingAbbreviationService ratingAbbreviationDamage controlmanDC[I]Damage controlmen perform the work necessary for damage control, ship stability, fire-fighting. They also prepare defenses against chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) warfare attacks. They instruct personnel in damage control and CBR defense and repair damage-control equipment and systems.[15]Electrician's mateEM(Nuclear)EMNElectrician's mates are responsible for the operation and repair of a ship's or station's electrical power plant and electrical equipment. They also maintain and repair power and lighting circuits, distribution switchboards, generators, motors and other electrical equipment. Specially qualified electrician's mates are employed onboard nuclear-powered ships to maintain the control subsystems in nuclear reactors.[15]EnginemanENEnginemen are responsible for internal diesel and gasoline engines. They also maintain refrigeration, air-conditioning, distilling-plant engines and compressors.[15]Gas turbine system technicianGS(Electrical)(Mechanical)GSEGSMGas turbine system technicians are responsible for all gas turbine engines. They maintain propulsion machinery, including gears, shafting and controllable pitch propellers, assigned auxiliary equipment propulsion control systems, electrical and electronic circuitry up to the printed circuit module, and alarm and warning circuitry. They handle administrative tasks related to gas turbine propulsion system operation and maintenance.[15]Hull maintenance technicianHT[I]Hull maintenance technicians are responsible for maintaining ships' hulls, fittings, piping systems and machinery. They install and maintain all shipboard and shore based plumbing and piping systems. They look after a vessel's safety and survival equipment and perform many tasks related to damage control.[15]Interior communications electricianIC[II]Interior communications electricians operate and repair electronic devices used in the ship's interior communications systems, SITE TV systems, 1MC (public address system), electronic megaphones and other announcing equipment. They are responsible for the gyrocompass systems.[15]Machinist's mateMM(Nuclear)submarine (Weapons)submarine (Auxiliary)MMNMMAMachinist's mates are responsible for the continuous operation of the many engines, compressors, gears, refrigeration, and air-conditioning equipment along with other types of machinery onboard ships and shore installations. They are responsible for the ship's steam propulsion and auxiliary equipment and the outside (deck) machinery. Specially trained and qualified machinist's mates are deployed onboard nuclear-powered ships to maintain the machinery and piping in nuclear reactors. Some nuclear machinists mates (engineering laboratory technicians) receive additional specialization in health physics and maintaining reactor chemistry.[15]Torpedoman's mateTMsubmarine (Weapons, not SLBMS)TMs are responsible for all phases of weapons loading, unloading and storage on all classes of submarines. This includes torpedoes, Tomahawk missiles and countermeasure devices. A TM works on high pressure air and hydraulic systems to maintain loading and launching capabilities for torpedo and vertical launch tubes.[28]Machinery repairmanMR[I]Machinery repairmen are skilled machine tool operators. They make replacement parts and repair or overhaul a ship's engine auxiliary equipment, such as evaporators, air compressors and pumps. They repair deck equipment, including winches, hoists, condensers, and heat exchange devices. Shipboard machinery repairmen frequently operate main propulsion machinery, besides performing machine shop and repair duties.Navy diverNDNavy divers are responsible for a wide variety of tasks like underwater ship maintenance, construction, and underwater rescue. They are assigned to Naval Special Warfare Units to provide diving technical expertise and supervisory support to all submersible operations.[29]

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