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05 Aug 2019
Ministry of Education
Suggestion View - 241
Reform the education system instead of tinkering with scoring

I am pessimistic about the new PSLE scoring system that is being introduced by the education minister. It will not solve the underlying problem about reducing the stress and competition in education. It will create more confusion and uncertainty.

What can be done to deal with the underlying problem?

Here are my suggestions.

a) We have to recognize that the economy needs people with various kinds of skills to do the real jobs in the economy. Many of these jobs are not based on academic results.

b) We have to introduce adequate wages for various kinds of jobs. These wages should be sufficient to cope with the cost of living and for people to raise a family.

c) We have to increase productivity for the workers in the low skill jobs. They have to increase their productivity through developing their knowledge and skills for these jobs. We have to adopt the apprenticeship system used in other countries to improve the skills and productivity.

d) We need to have examinations to ensure that the students meet the required standard that is needed for their future jobs, but these examinations should not be competitive in nature or stressful. Let the children enjoy their childhood while they learn at the same time. 

e) We can achieve the goal of "all schools are good schools" by making them produce well educated students, without the competition of producing the top students. The schools should identify the real interest of the students and put them on the path towards a career that most suit them.

f) We need different pay scales to encourage students to pursue the careers that are more demanding, but the differentials in the pay for various jobs should be moderate, and not excessive.

g) We should stop the practice of determining who are the leaders in society based on their academic results. The scholarship system should be discontinued.

This is the real reform that is needed in our education system. We should not be tinkering with the PSLE scoring system and continue the competition and stress to identify the top students and scholars who will enjoy the best prospects
in their future careers. 

Tan Kin Lian

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