A Bimbo, Re-Defined

...a princess's diary...

vendredi, mars 18, 2005

Our Education System

Last friday's dinner left me with a big question mark in my head.

One of the topics discussed is -- Our Education System

i start to wonder. Is there a problem with our education system.
All these while, I have no problem with our education system. In fact I feel that it IS doing a great job.

But from last friday's discussion, I started pondering. Is it because I am amongst those 'apples' of the eye of the government, thats why I am happy with the system. And maybe I wasnt exposed to the flaws of the system, as my friends are probably like me.

I spoke to 2 intelligent friends about it. And this is what I concluded from the great points that they pointed out.

So for all the days from last friday, my thoughts are on our education system.
As many of us know, our Education System went through many different phases, for Singapore is still a very young nation.

Point One:

Many people, are like my friend, Amicable, complaining about our education system, criticizing that they do not have a choice to pursue what they are like. For Amicable, it will be Art.

And havent you realised that, the people who are complaining are usually above a certain age?

I just realised after pondering for so long. I realised. People like Amicable, who are around their 30s, feel strongly about their lack of choices in fields of study and profession.

Lets scrutinise the situation Singapore was like when Amicable is born. Singapore just had her independence not long ago.

There are civil unrest in our small country. Threats from the communists. Racial disharmony as fights broke out between the Malays and the Chinese.

High unemployment rate. Poor living conditions.

It was so bad that even if we have economic potential, Malaysia did not want us.

In this time, a new government was set up, and they were faced with all these problems. What kind of Education System do you think will be most suitable for Singapore at this point of time?

The answer is obvious. We have to provide the education to the people so as to enable them to be employed after they graduate. This is to solve the high unemployment rate and social unrest. Not to forget that we have absolutely no natural resource (which a big country like France will have), so human is our only resource and we have to handle it well.

True, you might not have much choice at that point of time. But it is not really a matter of preference at that point of survival, the priority then is to fill up your stomach and feed your family. Am I not right?

And one proud Asian belief is that: You have to work hard for your own money.

So, unless you want to go into a profession that you cant earn your own living and has to depend on begging/getting money from the state, for example, an artist (at that point of time).

That is why our country who is not a welfare state, get to develop so fast from a third world to the first.

How will you feel if you have to work so hard, just to feed the people who are not working and pursuing their own interest, not having to care if it made them money?

How do you feel if, now you have to pay taxes that are 4-5 times the amount you are paying now?

That is the same question you could post to any foreigner who questioned about the lack of welfare, and the lack of flexibility of our Education System in the beginning.

Then the Education System evolved. Which brings me to point 2.

Point 2

Streaming. We have streaming for students to separate them into Normal, Express and Special streams.

The main arguement is that it is hard for the kids.

People will say: What will the kids think, if they were told to be stupid at a young age?

Also the same people will say: Look, grades doesnt mean everything. You cant judge a person is smart or not, just using the grades.

Look how people can contradict themselves.

First, students are streams into the different streams based on GRADES alone. so being in normal, just simply mean you did not score as well as the other. NO ONE said that they are stupid. Unless you are someone who judge people by the grades they get?=P see, how ironical?

Stream doesnt tell you whether you are a moron. It just seperates the "gifted" from the non gifted. Hence cultivating the best brains from a young age, so that there will be solid foundation for the leadership of the country in the future. And I am sure that everyone knows how important that is, as almost all of our neighbouring countries are looking at overtaking us. We need the talents and the wits to keep abreast.

Fact: one's IQ is more or less stagnant from the age of 5-7. And some are born with the gift of an high IQ.

It will really be a waste not to cultivate the talents, no?

Also, its the best way of stretching the academic potentials of the Singaporeans.

What about the normal stream people, you ask.

Maybe they just happen not to score well at the age of 12. However if they are able to score well, they could very well move up to express or special, as they like.

Also, different ways of teaching are designed to suit them better. People are encouraged to pursue something that they actually have interest in. Instead of forcing everyone to study English, Mother Tongue, Maths, Science, History, Literature, Geography, Arts, Music and Home economics/Technicam.

The government recognises that some people are just not interested in such things, and might be interested in other things like hair dressing, etc.
And many people from the normal stream blosomed from there! My friend was from the normal stream, and she might have dropped out from school if she was to be made to study the subjects she has no interest in. However, she was given a chance to have a go at learning makeup (proudly sponsored by our government). and look at her now, she is now a makeup artiste, who actually enjoys what she is doing.

That is the whole point of streaming.

The bad point that comes from streaming is the mentality of the parents. In US and UK, and in many other countries like China and Russia, streaming is also practised on the children. The difference is that in US, parents do not place emphasis on the grades that the child has, instead they placed emphasis on the profession that the child choose.

And in the highly competitive Singapore, parents associate the intelligence of the children to be parallel to their grades. which is not true to start with. This mentality is the main root to the many criticism of our Education System.

So far, we are a very young country, yet our Education System has produced a country of people who are able to work hard for their own survival.

Just to make a quick comparsion to the country I am in now. We boost low unemployment rate, low inflation rate. And we definitely have to be proud that our GDP is higher than a big country like France.

There are no beggars on our streets, as compared to the beggars on the streets of European countries. The reason is simple. The beggars on our streets are offered to be retrained and go through some education that enables them to be employed again.

With this, I am proud of our Education System.

Yes, you are right, that there are alot of room of improvement. And to allow diversity.

whether it will go on and evolve for the better. It is yet to be seen. =)