IIf we looked back in time, looking at Singapore in 1965 from a small plane, we only found a piece of land measuring barely 600 km2 including muddy swamps infested with mosquitoes, poor people of origins, colors. and of different races, from non-religious Chinese to Hindus and Malay Muslims living on this land.
After a little over half a century, we look out the window of another plane to find that the size of the island has increased a little to over 700 km2, and the swamps have turned into a town. modern, advanced and very clean. State with unparalleled health, justice and education system, strong economy and highest individual income in the world, thanks to a magic wand used in a unique way called ‘education’ and zero corruption.
Despite the poverty of the small country because it did not have a single drop of oil, nor a gram of minerals, nor natural resources, nothing other than a strong will, integrity and a will to create a new state out of “nowhere” and almost in a few years, according to the trusted “Davos Index”, Singapore has held the world’s number one spot for many years, followed by developed Western countries and light years away from the top levels. education of the Arab world.
Singapore founder prominent lawyer Lee Kuan Yew believed that it was not important for our children to bequeath huge industrial, trading and investment companies, but rather to arm them with knowledge so that they could manage and maintain these companies and factories, and their expansion and progress would continue, and this could not be achieved without bequeathing them a good education.
Many children have inherited the wealth and businesses of their families, but most of them have failed, for those who founded them did not give their children a distinguished and serious education, and so these enterprises are collapsed over time.
The same has happened with most of the countries in the region, which have made huge fortunes from oil extraction, but they have not given the utmost importance to education. As soon as oil revenues declined, everyone discovered the weakness of our human potential, the low skill level of our children, and our apparent inability to create alternative sources of income.
This is the reverse of what happened with a country like Norway for example, which became an oil-producing country a quarter of a century after Kuwait, and the idea of withholding part of the oil was withdrawn from it. Its oil revenues are in investment funds, and also a quarter of a century after us, and today the difference between us and Norway is clear, and all thanks to the attention it has paid to the education and integrity, which we haven’t done.
For example, we have spent over three billion dollars on our fellow citizens for their “treatment abroad” in less than two years. Money was siphoned from the pockets of some and as bill payments to Western hospitals and no one was held accountable for what was spent, often to gain the loyalty of MPs.
As soon as the treatment budget ran out, these MPs turned their backs on the government, and voted against it in every decision, suggestion and opinion.
It was not surprising to see the fierce attack I was subjected to after my last interview with Al-Arabiya Channel when I described high school graduates who got high rates thanks to absurd online tests. and were sent on this basis to complete their university studies abroad. , that some are not able to work even as a building janitor.
Whoever attacked me knows that neither he nor his son deserves the honor of a scholarship, and their anger can be justified by 1%, for the extraordinary conditions of the crown, but these and others are incomes again, including bearded MPs claiming “fear of God” asking the government to cancel paper exams for high school students this year and hold them online.
We did not fall into the abyss of ignorance, but we did not come out of it.
By Ahmad alsarraf