The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for the Punggol East by-election, Dr Koh Poh Koon, a bus driver’s son, is concerned that the less well-off cannot catch up with the better- off under the present education system. “Education was a social leveller in my time,” he said. But now, he added, “It seems if you don’t have the means to put your kids through tuition, you may not catch up.”
An attempt to level the field has just ended in a tragedy. Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz hanged himself in his New York home after being prosecuted for stealing millions of academic journals from JSTOR. He did not steal the articles to make any money from them. He wanted to give people free access to the articles. The 26-year-old computer genius, who helped create RSS – the live feed which every news site, WordPress and Blogger blog now has – wanted information to be free.