Spending more than one and a half decade in a competitive education system like that of Singapore is pretty much enough to give me a good sense of what is wrong with it. It's a really good demonstration of how competition have been exploited way too far to attain an arbitrarily defined sort of excellence that has caused us to lose sight of the original intent of the competition itself. And perhaps this article discussing the state of NUS Lectures provides us with good insights on the effects of the 'Singapore Student Mentality'.
In a competitive set up of our education system, we want students to develop good character, work ethics, working knowledge of their field and an ability to motivate themselves to work hard. The design of our assessment and curriculum will have to match that in order to achieve the objectives of this competitive set up. Lectures and typical lessons should preferably not become 'exam-preps' as they probably are now. And while student feedback on course content and teaching style is good, it should be ignored when trying to drive lessons towards the direction of mind-numbing exam-preparation. At the end of the day, we want students who could go out there in life and perform.
A friend recently commented that bright Singaporean students sometimes face problems with getting in US schools because the top schools there are really not interested in an alumni who simply gets a good job, works hard and be recognized by his boss. These universities are interested in producing students who would be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg (sorry I'm only thinking about more tech related companies for now). They are not interested in people who can top their cohort with their GPAs, they want people who top their cohort with ideas that the markets applaud, visions that talents would follow and products consumers demand, or influence the economic policies. This makes them bolder when it comes to admitting students who may not have the scores but the great stories about their exploits on trips to exotic places, initiation of eccentric projects, failed entrepreneurship attempts.
If our economy is to transit to greater heights, and human capital is the most important thing to a tiny economy like Singapore then modifying education, and not migration policy is going to be priority.