Sunday, March 8, 2015

Education: To boldly go

Excellent, Mr Heng is going to change direction with Education. I also notice Tharman's finger prints on this change in direction. This is about shifting from a meritocracy of paper qualifications to a meritocracy of skills. The idea is right and simple but making it happen is very difficult and politically risky. Finally seeing some good old fashioned political courage.

Throughout my kids' education we have had to sacrifice grades for real learning than exam smart only. One of the costliest price was in EL. In primary school, I insist they must write in short sentences when the school was doing the opposite. I told them to avoid big words and use simple everyday ones. They were disadvantaged but I thought it was worth it. By the time the elder child got the the A levels, her PW written report was used as a model for her juniors. Needless to say, in university the professors are always telling them to put aside their GP essay writing habits.

A meritocracy of skills will refocus every student aim from looking good with As to skills that will contribute to tangible outcomes. The biggest problem is when the smarter and correctly trained young eventually knock heads with the product of the old system in the work place who unfortunately as bosses call the shots. The easiest and most practical solution would wherever possible promote the young quickly. Older bosses and workers should read the writing on the wall or get "killed" like King Belshazzar was.

Update: March 9 8:05 am

The billion dollar tuition industry will not go away. It will adapt and be transformed. Families will always be seeking for ways to give their children an edge over others. This is relentless. I do that too but because my view of the future differs from most, I do it differently. Never imagine because my kids are not in the rat race, we aren't in the race at all. But many things in life are more important than the race. Winning is not everything, but compete we do.


  1. I often thought the PAP does themselves favors by going through such a meticulous selection process but getting such duds into parliament . I understand now they want people to rubber stamp government proposals without looking like lackeys. They also want MPs to sell government policies to their constituents. You are right , we cannot expect much from PAP MPs now or in the future. I think the NMP scheme was a ploy to convince us we could get real alternative voices into parliament without endangering the PAP majority. The problem of course is who chooses the NMPs. There were some sterling NMPs. But the rest saw it as mainly a good career move. Something for the resume. The Singapore system is sad. Careerism happens everywhere, the US and UK included. But at least over there the ideals are clear. In the end this is the mean towards which everything reverts. Our mean is money and profits.

    1. I share these sentiments too but not 100% I assume you also feel the same too.