Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Primary School Education

I agree with the views expressed by this writer in Today paper. 

Two facts primary schools cannot ignore
From Henry Tan Seng Lee
I refer to the excellent news feature, "Why are Finland's schools successful?" (Nov 3). Singapore's primary school system is designed oppositely: Trying to catch gifted talents early and increasing resources to nurture them under the Gifted Education Programme.

It continues to ignore two facts. First, gifted talents are obvious at early ages in only a few fields, such as music and mathematics, and there is no need to categorise them through mass testing. Slower developers are the ones who need more help.

Second, pupils are at a great age to interact, to experience and learn a wide range of living skills and to develop values and good behaviour.

Unfortunately, we emphasise a narrower range of learning and create unhealthy stresses at a tender age by putting them through much competitive testing and grading, which is more appropriate when they are mature.

Our system has given us too many people who over-invested their time preparing for examinations at the expense of character-building and a more rounded life. They are good at content but not so at connecting the dots.

They are less self-confident and less certain in real-life situations than their counterparts elsewhere. Those who do better do so despite, not because of, our system. We need bold steps to change our primary school education.

In particular, we must de-emphasise its competitive, stressful aspects and reallocate resources to help slower developers. This would benefit children, parents and, in the longer term, our society.

1 comment:

Terence Soon said...

Many of the successful business people out there are not gifted in math or science. You don't have to be the best of the best; you just have to be better than the rest in your field :)

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