Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Three changes to the education system

I wish to give three suggestions to the minister of education, Ong Ye Kung.

It is a good goal to reduce stress for students.

But reducing the examination in the early years is not the solution. If the schools do not conduct the examinations, many parents will send their children to tuition centers for the exams. This is already predicted by many observant citizens.

The first suggestion will take several years to implement and goes beyond the scope of the education minister.

We have to provide adequate salaries to non office jobs, so that the young are happy to take up jobs, such as teaching, nursing, police officers, security, technical, service, hospitality, retail.

Many people are needed for these jobs. We should give them to locals first, before looking for foreigners. Locals will be willing to do these jobs, if the pay is adequate.

We have to change the pay structure. The govt can take the lead for the private sector to follow.

The second suggestion can be implemented quite early. We have to reduce the content that a student has to learn in each year. We should not press them with a heavy work load.

I remembered, when I was in school, that I learned the concept of ratios in secondary one. Today, it is learned in primary four (I stand corrected). There is no need to teach too much at an early age to the children. We can take the time.

If the content is reduced, many students can pass the exam in each year, without too much stress. There is no need for parents to send them to tuition centers to catch up.

The third suggestion concerns giving the top prize - a prestigious scholarship, to the best students. We have already observed over the past decades that top academic results do not lead to top performance in business or government. We need a broader set of skills and experience.

Instead of giving expensive scholarships to a select and privileged few, it is better to use the budget to reduce the cost of education for the many.

How do we identify the future leaders in government and business? Let them prove themselves when they start their work. There is plenty of time for the real leaders to emerge.

Tan Kin Lian

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