Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kids respond to PSLE. The PM's response

First time I am embedding a video from Facebook. Wonder when they provided this feature. This is from Talking Point by ChannelNewsAsia

No student interviewed was aiming for RGS or RI. I thought they were managing their expectations pretty well. It would be much worse if they were that ambitious. I think there would be more disappointments among the top and GEP classes when the PSLE results is released. It is the parents of students from such classes that make the most noise.

On the darker side, the kids and going by their testimonies the parents were clearly under stress. Should we continue to let our kids live this way? Until many of them even lose the interest to play and laugh? The trend is not helpful. When are we going to say enough is enough? We will get there and if the leaders have any foresight, they better be thinking about this since yesterday. By the way, it would be terribly helpful to be less fear mongering and inject more positive energy.

And I just come across the PM's response to PSLE pressure. I thought he had within our box answered well. Thinking outside that box, I think we should scrap the PSLE and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We should allow for more experimentation and diversity such that there would no longer be a standard PSLE but different versions which cannot be compared with each other to be ranked superior or inferior but tailored for a better fit to a child's strengths. This will reduce competition but paradoxically also raise standards. E.g., I imagine some will take heavy maths and science paths leading to NUS High. Yes, scrap the GEP. Some will focus on something else e.g, music and end up at SOTA or some other secondary school which is extraordinarily strong in music. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Different secondary schools will accept or prefer some versions of the new PSLE. We want to create happy learners, not "I am better than you" learner. Everyone wins in their own way. There is no more a single idea to success: the T-score which you can rank the entire cohort. A child will only be ranked within his or her special PSLE.

Now if trying to place the kids out to secondary school from 13 years old is too soon, then we do it later. Don't be a stick in the mud. Be flexible. Do what's best for the kids. Cater to their unique combination of strengths.

I agree with the PM that the importance of the PSLE to a child's eventual success is over rated but I think too many people will learn that he is right the hard way. There is just too much fear in our society. The stress that arise from a positive energy is healthy. Any stress that comes from the fear of losing should be discouraged.

We will need an entrepreneurial mindset across many types of careers tomorrow. A childhood immersed in negative energy cannot produce the shrewd risk taking habit.

I want to see a future where the street cleaner is a Singaporean who is highly educated and well paid. He does his job like it cannot be done elsewhere. The skill, knowledge and technology he uses is of a very high order. You find no reason to look down on him. How do we make this happen? It has everything to do with the strategies and environment which we educate him today. It is very important that we show our kids there there are many forms of success from a very early age before they are too set on these things.

Well if I have my way, I would scrap the PSLE altogether but breaking up the PSLE into different packages is better than what we have now.

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