This tag is associated with 11 posts

Challenge Utility Of National Examinations

While I agree with the general observation that Singapore is “shifting away from what has been a pressure-cooker system fixated on academic achievement instead of holistic development” (ST, Aug. 3), the responsibility of reducing the disproportionate emphasis on examinations should not fall on parents alone, not to exacerbate “the educational arms race with scholastic slavery”. Central to this discourse, in fact, is the very role of examinations and assumptions of their utility; assumptions which oftentimes go unchallenged, given our longstanding reliance upon them. Therefore, if the intent is to reduce stress, competition, and the unhealthy obsession with them, then the role of examinations – the national, high-stakes ones, in particular – must be examined. Continue reading

For Greater Innovation, Challenge Reliance On Examinations

As encouraging as it may be for Acting Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng to stress the importance of innovation as well as the need to possess “the instincts and ability to be value-creators” (TODAY, Dec. 30) – even if his predecessors have made similar remarks in the past – the reliance on traditional, national examinations as the primary mode of assessment remains a roadblock. As a consequence the likely continuation of rote memorisation and regurgitation practices, themselves persisting features of the education system in Singapore, will crowd out endeavours to foster innovation or creativity. And mind-sets of the perceived superiority of the academic pathway will remain entrenched. Continue reading

An Education System Which Embraces Risk

Two insightful pieces in TODAY – the first on the need for the Singapore education system to embrace risk and the second on making examinations in the country more flexible – present constructive calls for change, but comfort with the status quo implies knee-jerk resistance to these perspectives. Oftentimes when there are similar proposals, proponents point to a history of success purportedly undergirded by meritocracy (even if this political philosophy has been threatened by growing inequality), arguing against these recommendations with evidence of high scores at the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (even if it is but one indicator for the success of an education system). Continue reading

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