5 reasons not to put your kid through the Singapore education system


Last Updated on 2016-05-18 , 3:56 pm

Singaporean students rank high on math and science scores; its education system topped the charts in the global education rankings – third in 2014 and first in 2015. But how much of the “educating” that schools do are actually effectively allowing kids to learn? Do you know what your kid is growing up to be? Will your kid know what he or she wants in life?

1. Must be good, better than good

“You are Asian, you must be smart”, “you’re Singaporean, cannot lose face okay?!”, “Ah boy why you don’t want study hard next time no future you know!!!”

How many of these have we heard around in the tiny hot island we call home? We are pressured to perform, our faces are attached to the grades we get in school and how many points we can get deducted off our O’ Level results or A’ Level results due to the CCA activities or other leadership involvements.

We run the race, the rat race, in primary school.

We run harder in secondary school, pushed to be all rounded by taking enrichment classes.

We run even harder after that, sped through tuition classes and outside of school involvements, because the fear of not being able to get into a good school is always there, pressing, suffocating, killing.


Singapore prides itself on meritocracy, that everyone gets a chance if they can prove themselves. But admit it, not everyone is made the same, not everyone is equally good in Math and Science. The Singapore dream is not lim kopi, kua TV. It is Lamborghini and CBD.

But at the end of the day, your kids, are they happy?

2. Your kid can never be DIFFERENT

Primary school, secondary school, JC/ Poly/ ITE, then university. Year in year out, scores of kids go through this system, emerging as a mould cut out of a cookie cutter machine. “Ah boy ah, morning play game afternoon play game at night play game, you play some more confiscate your laptop then you know!” “Ah girl ah, you draw very well ah, but artists in Singapore no future you know?” Differences in talents and sometimes personalities, are not encouraged in the rigid and structured education system here, let alone celebrated. Creative thinking and writing have to be taught in the classrooms, even at university level, whereby the little bit of creative spark is attempted to be fused back into the freshies.

3. NAPFA test

Who have not been through the grueling 1.6km runs (or 2.4km during secondary school times), painful sit ups, sit and reach and what nots? Some of us know all too well how it feels like being one of the last few to hit the finishing line and call it a day, or have your teacher calling out after you to make you run faster…

Some might have learnt the art of feigning illnesses or breaking out of school grounds just to skip the stresses of tests, including fitness ones.

4. Uni why you no accept me?!?!

Surviving past PSLE, O’ Levels and A’ Levels, the stresses of university applications looms. Although there are more universities and options for future path to choose from, there is always the period of panic attacks when none of your course choices worked out or not a single offer came from any university. What now???

5. Stereotypes, stereotypes, and more stereotypes

Those who can make it successfully to university still are unable to take a chill pill. Once matriculated, during freshmen camps, which JC or poly you came from matters because you will be associated with the stereotype or impression that people have of your school. Kids from school A must be damn rich, kids from school B have really poor Chinese, kids from school C are damn stuck up, and such.

Do not think out of the box, think like there is no box. But when the system draws boxes within boxes to put you in, when are you truly free?

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