Read my first post (here). This was intended as a writing exercise, but I thought I’d just publish it.
The Ministry of Education’s move to reduce pressures faced by schools in the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) competition is a largely cosmetic one. These half-hearted changes are likely to please nobody.
Take the “new” awards for instance. The Certificates of Distinction, Accomplishment, and Commendation bear an uncanny resemblance to the Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards of the past. Students would still be banded.
Competition will only persist, because incentives for schools to outperform each other remain in place. If the MOE wishes to focus solely upon interest and enjoyment, then any ranking, grading, or benchmarking should be removed.
Still, why has competition received such a bad rep? Detractors claim that arts and culture can only be appreciated, not judged. But in reality, performances and productions are reviewed in comparison to one another.
Students need to learn to deal with these disappointments, if they are not up to par. Telling them otherwise would be to continue a destructive culture of mollycoddling our students.