Is it time for Singapore Education System to Reform?


Singapore ranks among the best in the Programme for International Student Assessment Rankings that allots ranks according to performance of 15 year olds. So what is wrong?

Why Singapore Education System Needs Reform?

The basic need of change arises from the fact that good exam results don’t always translate into desired outcome. Since Singapore in practical terms is much academic in nature, the process is feared to extinguish passion and creativity in children.

The current system defies the real meaning of imparting education, i.e. leveling unequals. But, what’s happening is that well educated families are able to transfer their knowledge to the kids, they are passing on advantage of tuitions because they can afford them, whereas not so well to do families have access to neither. This is once again giving increasing the gap between the haves and have not’s.

Moreover, it’s common to see teachers making the academically brighter students feel inferiors, which proves antithetical to learning and development of the weaker students.

How to Change This Reality?

It’s not just Singapore, but the world over, where capability of students is solely being measured in terms of academic performance.

The approach needs radical change – maybe even re-building from scratch.

The system has to evolve to be child-centric, and aim to achieve holistic learning. This should be seen in light of judging students against the child’s individual potential and not always comparing with other students.

Thankfully the government of Singapore has always been very supportive to students; the recent move to revise the fee structure comes as much relief to parents and students. But, the efforts can be made stronger, if student benefit from an individual’s point of view.

While Singapore has already experimented lab schools at the pre-school level, many agree that it is a more child-centric system. It will help eliminate the tension between incompatible goals of excellence and equity.

The system needs to accept creativity, collaboration and passions as more desirable qualities than simple academic performance. It’s about letting every child discover his/her own strengths, rather than discovering their weakness in comparison to others.

Also, the classrooms should not appear like teacher-dictated territories like we have in the present, but a place where peer learning is the presence of teachers.

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