Last Updated on 2016-05-18 , 4:18 pm
Singapore’s education system has been touted as one of the best in the world, with many foreigners looking to settle down and have a family here so that can they enrol their children into a local school. But just like any ‘perfect’ education system, it has its flaws and it is not (and will never be) a one-size-fits-all kind of system.
It is not flexible
I am sure most of you have seen examples of how inflexible the education system is, both online and off. A student can be marked down for their creativity when answering questions in their homework as long as their answers is not exactly the same as what is stated in the answer sheet.
Syllabuses can be outdated
Whatever we study in school is based on either the GCE ‘O’ Levels and GCE ‘A’ Levels syllabus. Sometimes you get told that the syllabus will be updated, effectively adding or removing certain parts of information from the different subjects you study.
If you are unlucky enough and get to be the batch before the one that gets the newer syllabus, you will pretty much be forced to study and absorb outdated information.
Teachers have quotas to hit
Surprise, surprise! Teachers actually have a quota to meet and they are all based on their students’ grades. Teachers are graded every few months and will receive a result from A to E – with A being the best and E being the worse – that will affect their pay. Those who scored a D may end up being monitored by the school while those who scored an E may end up having their pay suspended for the next 3 months until they improve.
This is why teachers focus so much on their students’ grades, apart from genuinely wanting them to do well in class.
Too much focus on results
When teachers and the school focus this much on individual student’s results, it can stress them out. Although some students do well in times of stress, most of them don’t. At the end of the day, it seems like being a good student means that all you have to do is get good grades by memorising and regurgitating answers out onto the question sheet. Students’ morals and creativity end up having to take a back seat.
Students and their parents can also end up becoming extremely competitive being in a results-oriented education system. More and more parents are enrolling their children as young as 3-year-old in school and kids in primary school have their weekly schedules packed with classes and tuition. This teaches children that only results are the only thing that matters in school and perhaps in life.
While many schools overseas allow their students to study and take exams in various subjects that they are interested in from core subjects, like mathematics and science to arts-related subjects, like music and design, while the students in the majority of reputable schools (apart from arts-focused schools) in Singapore are limited to English, Mother Tongue, Science, and Maths.
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