Nanyang Technological University (NTU) held a career fair which exclusively targets students with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.75 out of 5. It drew criticism from the students, as well as the public, for checking resumes and GPAs at the door of the event and not giving a fair chance to all students to seek employability at the fair.
They have since made the statement to change the format of the following career fair. In the new format, all students would be able to submit their resumes and potential employers taking part in the fair could draw up a shortlist of students to invite.
Read the full article on The Straits Times: NTU ‘regrets’ holding career fair targeted at top students
The university’s actions to use grades as a gatekeeper to a career fair received fair criticism from the public. Its role as an education institution is to provide opportunities for its students to seek employment opportunities, regardless of their performance based on grades.
While it is natural for potential employers to have the intention to sieve out the cream of the crop, grades are just one of the many indicators of talent. Employers would have a better understanding of what traits and factors they value in a hire, such as past internship experiences, or specific skill sets, which may not be reflective in grades alone. Ideally, employers should have the say in making the first cut, not the university.
The message it sends out to the students was controversial because national conversations are moving towards less emphasis on grades. In the midst of calls for employers and institutions to diversify their metrics of assessment in a candidate’s employability, this gatekeeping method was not put in good light.
Questions for personal analysis:
- What do you think were the original intentions of the university in this case?
- Do you think it was justifiable for NTU to restrict entry to the career fair based on grades?
- ‘proxy’: something that can be used to represent the value of another
- ‘slate’: a range or a list on offer