Monday, June 20, 2011

Rethinking Education....the Great Equaliser...

 I want to show you a clip from a documentary called "Waiting for Superman".



You can watch the full documentary here  on YouTube : Link

On the surface, the American education system is nothing like ours. By many measures, their public school system is a omplete failure relative to that of other developed countries. However, because there are so many problems there, there is plenty of research work done on the system to figure what went wrong. 20 years ago it was widely believed that low income children failed to get to college because of their poor family background and less educated parents. This belief led to under-investment in neighborhoods schools and a decline in the quality of education for the lower income groups.  The lastest research completely dispels this common belief and shows that if children from lowest income families are put in a good education system from an early age, their chance of going to and succeeding in college is as good as children from high income families.  The evidence is overwhelming as 'charter schools' like Kipp Academy scale up and spread its success throughout America.

There is one hard truth that we must not believe...and if we believe will doom us to make the same mistakes as the Americans and allow the gap in their society to spread into the education system:

"People get educated, the bright ones rise, they marry equally well-educated spouses. The result is their children are smarter than those who are gardeners. Not that all the children of gardeners are duds. Occasionally 2 grey horses produce a white horse but very few . If you have 2 white horses, the chances are you breed white horses. It's seldom spoken publicly because those who are NOT white horses say, "You're degrading me". But its a fact of life. You get a good mare, you don't want a dud stallion to breed with your good mare. You get a poor foal.

Your mental capacity and your EQ and the rest of you, 70 to 80% is genetic. "

- MM Lee, Hard Truths interview.

If the children of rich successful parents are inherently smart and have success inbuilt in them, why do rich smart families try get to their children into the best primary schools by buying property within 1 km of these schools. They know the importance of going into a good school and high quality early education. It  was reported recently that some of our rich spend close to $20K-$30K  a year on pre-school while poor parents don't send their children for pre-school  or make do with $10 pre-school:
300 children from lower-income families get a feel of Primary One


by Kavitha Karum 05:55 AM Dec 18, 2010

Three hundred children, some of whom have never attended pre-school, graduated on Friday from a four-week course to help them prepare for Primary One next year.

The graduation ceremony for the K2-One Bridging Programme was held at Bottle Tree Park in Yishun.

Pre-school is not compulsory in Singapore, and some children, especially from lower-income families, may not get to enjoy this benefit.

Singapore's four community self-help groups have been jointly organising the programme since 2006 to help these children improve literacy, numeracy and social skills and also adjust to formal schooling. The course fee is $10. KAVITHA KARUM

The latest evidence shows that if there is any academic achievement gap between the children low and high income groups is due mainly to the difference in quality of education system especially early pre-school education. In Singapore, as the income gap grows, the difference in quality of education between children also widens to entrench the gap in our society. Until today, the PAP govt refuses to give more aid to poor parents to ensure that their children have more equal start and access to high quality pre-school education. These policy decisions are likely to have their roots in MM Lee's flawed elitist belief on genetics which is against the best evidence we have today. This elitist belief contributes to Singapore's widening social gap which is the highest in the developed world.

48 comments:

Alien go Home said...

Not sure if you think that I am talking nonsense here, but Singapore or the rest of the world is a elitist place. LKY knows that if there are too many smart people around, his family wont be able to hold onto power & if they are kicked out, their dirty laundry might be exposed by the new person-in-charge. I am not saying that he has lots of unclean laundry but being in power for 50 years does have its fair share of smelly clothes!

The other thing is, if there are so many average-to-rich Singaporeans, who's going work as a dock hand, a security guard or a deliveryman? Yes, we could always import foreigners to do those 'dirty' jobs but how many could we import before the natives get pissed & start voting the opposition? Besides, the good gene breeds good gene idea, it's also how LKY needs to keep the people from getting too smart & holding to important jobs/posts. I dont think he is ignorant to the fact that good environment does breed good people, he is just worried that too many good people will be the main factor of his family's downfall in the near future.

Anonymous said...

The education system today is highly flawed because nearly all MOE-teachers are too busy with their non-teaching activities.

Non-teaching activities from CCA to meetings to department projects to school projects to rehearsal for school events take up the bulk of teachers' time after school.

Nearly all teachers have to bring their marking home because their time after school is used entirely for meetings and non-teaching duties.

Hence, it is not surprising that over the years, so many kids need tuition. Because their own teachers are too busy to give them quality time for consultation, or are too tired out to provide quality education.

Teachers are forced to spend the overwhelming bulk of their time on non-teaching duties. If they refuse to comply, they risk getting a bad work review performance.

Which is why teaching today is probably one of the shittiest job around, and why the bulk of patients seeking psychiatric help for stress are teachers. Turnover rate is high and staff morale is generally low.

You think your kid is going to get a good education; academic or moral values, when the teacher is demoralized, overworked and dreads going to school each day?

Anonymous said...

If they really cared about the Education Ministry, then the Education Minister should at least have some background/training in education.

So how many past Education Ministers have any training/background in education?

How many Finance Ministers have a background Finance?

So now you know values of our leaders.

Anonymous said...

it was always bad past policies that affected our future and our future generations, after decades of brainwash by smart alec's bad doctrine, our country is doomed to fail, unnoticeable in beginning but gradually collapse like dominoes.

Anonymous said...

Come and be a private tutor. As a private tutor, you get paid better and you don't have to put up with all the politicking in the staff room because of the EPMS work performance ranking system.

I gave up hoping that MOE will change. As a tutor, i can fully focus on teaching, which all full time teachers can't. The schools need private tutors because their teachers are too busy and too tired and too distracted to teach properly.

Anonymous said...

Alien go Home, yes you are absolutely right. We have actually implemented obscurantist policy so as to produce only 'digits' for the economy. The outcome is now gradually shown up and this is a fact. If you have a chance to those banned in Singapore books like 'To catch a tartar', you will understand your thinking is no nonsense but quite real if those stories are true. You will be very disturbed by what our so-called founding father did to his fellow citizens. What justice is there? And, I do not think he will live to testify that those stories are true or false.

Anonymous said...

@Alien Go Home, you are one of those who have no fear in saying such stuff. To begin with, why would we need to ban so many books which are critical of our legal system and political makeup if we are truly that awesome as a place to live in? Democracy is only as far as it claims to be, and we know enough that a lot of Singaporeans are kept in their place simply by virtue of this system which thrives on destructive criticism, ie. "you listen and obey my instructions because you are NOT smart enough".

Anonymous said...

Lucky, I think the problems in the education system, be it in Singapore or America, is very serious and very very different as portrayed in your video. Too many teachers are keeping quiet about the real problems in education.

It is a pity that the video did not get the input from teachers within the system about what is wrong with education today. They have a far better idea of why the system has failed both students and educators. In America, they have no money to pay for teachers' salaries, but have money to continue fighting in Afganistan. In Singapore, government is reluctant to hire more people to offload teachers' non-teaching duties but can spend $1 billion on artificial river in Bishan.

Anonymous said...

Lucky
Please stop quoting from such books which deserves to be confined to the rubbish heap of history.

It's truly sad that a once great person can no longer see he is destroying his life's work and legacy .... Singapore and Singaporeans (people who will remember his life's achievements)

Amused said...

Singapore’s budget for public education as a percentage of GDP is among the lowest in the developed countries. It has shifted the cost of public education, in the form of after-school tuitions and activities, to the parents over the past few decades. As a result, students from underprivileged background are not getting the public education that they deserved. The government really needs to do more to help the poor so they have an equal chance of success.

Ex MOE Teacher of 17 years said...

MOE has not gotten it right. The real problem is the system. Teachers are suppose to help one another but they crafted a system that pitted each teacher in the substantive against another teacher and rank them based on pure subjectivity. Good hearted teachers are chased out of the system.

But the problem is that many teachers are aware what is not working in MOE schools and they plough along but vote against MOE when election comes.

MOE ought to design a system where camaderie within the fraternity increases and there is cooperation and real sharing from teachers, not that they are forced to do so.

Most Vice Principals in our MOE schools do not work at all and spend most of their time in back-biting, surfing the internet in their offices and looking for that "special" someone to deny them of a 'performance' bonus.

Tuition centers are really where real teaching takes place. MOE teachers are overworked; they can't even teach less...too many admnistrative and non-teaching crap.

MOE sucks big time.

Anonymous said...

When I was a teenager, still attending school at that time, I had thought that there was really an education in Singapore. But after years of working life, climbing up the social ladder from the lowest rung right up to the top, I became convinced that there was NOT a single Education System in Singapore. The only system there has been and still is is a Training System to churn out the necessary numbers of required worker bees and drones. The urgent need for foreign talents is one of the glaring proof that our "Education" System has failed miserably, which means that there was never an Education System in the first place.

Anonymous said...

It is generally believe that inter-racial marriages produces better gene kids, why than the old man disallowed his daughter to marry a Indian?

Anonymous said...

Well, thankfully they have at least scrapped the EM3 system and gifted system. The former has consigned, beforehand, so many un-nurtured children to a life of unfulfilled potential.

Anonymous said...

In most average schools, students typically do badly for their midyear and final year exams. Most of them either perform below expectations, or just scrap through. Usually, the school depends on the top classes to pull up the average.

The reasons are quite simple. Most of the school teachers are too distracted with their other duties to teach properly and help weaker students only the way. Weak students from lower primary and lower secondary are not given adequate remedial help until the last few months before the PSLE or O-level exams.

Most schools are also wasting precious time and resources on MOE initiatives and learning strategies that have consistently shown very little practical results, but look extremely good on white papers and educational conferences.

The two main pillars of our education system are the tuition system and the exam-cramming system.

Nearly all schools rely heavily on the 5 months cramming period before the PSLE and O-levels to ram up student understanding to par before the major exams. During this period, teachers no longer indulge in nonsensical teaching strategies. It is purely back-to-basics reinforcing of foundational understanding, good old fashion teaching and preparing students by going through past year exam questions from ten-year-series and other schools' exam papers.

The tuition system employs the same method from the start, and focuses on teaching methods that have consistently proven results for the past few decades. There is really no substitute for practice, practice and practice.

Basically, in the last 5 months before the major exams, teachers really do away with the bullshit and try to make up for the lost time they have wasted on "modern" teaching methods in order to impress their principals and HODs for the lesson observation.

Anonymous said...

Maybe should ask the minister:
what is the objective of education?

Anonymous said...

Tuition centres are thriving because they are doing the job that schools should be doing - teaching.

It is the no-wayang approach and pin-pointed way of preparing students for their major exams that enable tuition industry to flourish.

Since teachers are too distracted to teach, since they are too busy with coming up with new teaching strategies and writing papers for their educational conferences, then the private tutors are needed to fill in the necessary gaps.

The only sad part is that the schools have no moral courage to admit that at the end of the day, it is the old-fashion teaching, exam prep method and private tuition that ultimately delivers the good results that the schools like to boast.

Anonymous said...

Problem identifiers are labeled as negative! Yes-men who turn a blind eye on potential problems are promoted quickly for being enthusiastic! If you are in for the money, just remember that your boss is always right with the current administration. Don't believe a word when they praise themselves of being open minded.

It is all the same at grassroots level. If you want to be the youngest MP like TPL. Tell them that their systems are all perfect; healthcare is cheap; education system is great and affordable. Use yourself as an example where you can - especially if your spouse is somebody. You can easily cheat your bosses, ministers and even the PM. They would even praise you in public if you eat all your conscience - or just being stupid! I won't be surprised if she sets the record for being the youngest minister in a few years time.

The elites see themselves as the smartest living beings and every ideas they have are worth millions regardless of how stupid they may be. They are deaf to all criticisms regardless of what they tell you. If you think you see a problem that they ought to know, you have to decide if conscience is more important than money -- especially if you have a 30-year HDB mortgage to serve.

So, they screw you, you screw them and everydoby else get screwed too for giving them 55 years of YES, I DO! Welcome to Sinkapore!

Anonymous said...

Import a lot of foreign talent is a sign of failure in the education system. Most singaporean don't hold management position in local company. Hyflux is a good example.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bqMY82xzWo&feature=channel_video_title

Anonymous said...

Principles and Teachers are paid highly to enjoy plenty of holidays. Year in, year out, principles and teachers enjoy
1 week of March holidays,
4 weeks of June holidays,
1 week of September holidays,
6 weeks of Nov-Dec holidays,
1 day of teacher holiday day,
1 day of youth holiday,
1 day of children holiday,
1 day of extra national holiday,
plenty of half day work for 1 day pay,
etc.
Wow, principles and teachers are enjoying their life.

Anonymous said...

Anon 00:13, stop talking cock!

Principals are not lumped together as teachers. They are grouped with other civil servants, who only have annual leave each year. Principals and vice-prinicpals report to school every day during the school holidays for work as normal. If you don't believe, feel free to drop in on any government school during June and December.

In all schools, the first and last week of the long breaks are officially reserved for meetings and extra lessons and CCA camps. Teachers only get to enjoy a break during the 2nd and 3rd week of the June holidays, and about another 2-3 weeks during December. There is no break during the March and Sept school break for the same reasons.

And btw, teachers are not given lunch breaks at all. Lunch break is that 10-15 minutes of free time during free period. After eating, most teachers go back to work. Teachers do not have that 1-1.5 hour lunch break to eat or visit the bank or post office.

Better wake up your idea! If you are so envious of teachers, feel free to join! Every year, so many teachers are leaving!

Anonymous said...

Due to the many holidays that principals and teachers are enjoying and the many half days work for 1 day pay, principals and teachers have plenty of free time.

They can use their free time to give private tuition. They are able to charge extremely high tuition fees for providing tuition services.

Ironically, as principals and teachers are already paid highly in their day jobs, they do not need these private tuition fees. In fact, principals and teachers should not be in the private tuition services. These high tuition fees will only make them even more richer.

No wonder principals and teachers have the best of all worlds:
- High salary and high bonus,
- Earn high private tuition fees from giving tuition,
- Have iron rice bowl jobs,
- Have plenty of free time,
- Can go for holidays while being highly paid.

Anonymous said...

There is a simple reason public schools in America are such a failure: There is an alternative to public schools. By and large, the rich and the powerful send their offsprings to private schools.

Obama is the poster boy of left-wing politics in America but even he sends his kids to private schools. Go look up Wikipedia. Both his daughters attend Sidwell Friends School and before that they attended the University of Chicago Lab School.

Admittedly, the fact that Obama was a lecturer at the University of Chicago might have played a role in his decision but I think by far the most important reason is that these prep schools represent a kid's best chance of getting into elite colleges:

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-COLLEGE0711-sort.html

Singapore is, I think, gradually going down the same path. It's clear that MOE is trying build a system of private schools as an alternative to our public schools. That might spell the demise of our public school system.

Anonymous said...

The anonymous person that said Teachers are highly paid and have too much free time obviously has no clue what teaching involves, if only he/she knows how extremely stupid his/her postings sounds...:)

My wife was a teacher and she gave up the job eventually, because it is too stressful and unrewarding. I was even helping her with typing questions and marking of homework and papers, what the!!!???

Anonymous said...

LKY only bullshit. If you believe in him, you are dumber than his son.

Anonymous said...

LKY's eugenics theory is rubbish. He should be thankful he does not live in Europe or US - he would have been voted out of office for espousing it. The late Stephen Gould of Harvard used to mock his eugenics - AFAIK LKY's father didn't finish secondary school and his mother didn't finish primary school. Based on his policy in the 1970-80's his family should be penalised for having >2 kids.
A more logical policy (which is what the elites are doing now) is the higher income you make (regardless of parents' qualifications), the more children you can have. They way you can send them to private school, hire tuition teachers, send them overseas for univ, graduate come back got job.

Anonymous said...

For principals and teachers who are giving private tuition and earning high private tuition fees,

important questions to ask them:

Is there any conflict of interest between teaching in the schools and moonlighting in providing private tuition?

What is their higher priority - teaching students in the schools or teaching students in the private tuition?

Is there any compromising in terms of the amount of time needed and committed to teach students in the schools and to teach students in the private tuition?

Should principals and teachers be allowed to give private tuition?

Anonymous said...

Do you think we have a government that trusts its citizens?

Anonymous said...

In Singapore, teaching has become a supposed vocation and not a job. Teachers in singapore have to make serious sacrifices to family time and suffer poor work life balance. Every 2 years, MOE conducts what is called the school climate survey and many neighbourhood schools score badly for their staff engagement because of punishing mark load for mid year and end year markings which often stretch to 3 weeks of sleepless nights. Each teacher has about 6-8 classes of 40-42 scripts to mark. This is just paper 1. There are many other papers such as paper 2, 3 etc. Teachers also faced marking another subject mark load. On top of this, they have to lesson planning, lesson observations, ICT champion, CCAs, talking to vendors, vetting, committeee work, department duties, external invigilation, disciplining, meet the parents, open houses, cme subjects, lifeskills, national exams marking or/and national exam invigilation, oral examiners for national exams go out for stretches in the afternoon and do not mark their students' work for 10 days, competitions, edusave forms, overseas trips, cca training, etc, project work, setting new initiatives, etc.

This is a section of what they face. So teachers make serious sacrifices, most don't sleep well at night.

MOE is still deaf and blind.

When the ministry goes out on a policy drive, their policies lose touch with the ground. MOE policies and implementation to schools does not have the feel for the ground. The teachers' issues are not heard.

Singapore is such a small country. It is just a matter of time before every singaporeans knows about the plight of teachers in singapore.

http://forums.vr-zone.com/newsroom/676248-news-singapore-teachers-overworked.html

Anonymous said...

To anon 25/6/11 00:00

"Is there any conflict of interest between teaching in the schools and moonlighting in providing private tuition?"

Ans: There is an unwritten code of conduct amongst teachers who moonlight as tutors, that they do not give tuition to students from their own schools.

All teachers I know who give tuition abide by this rule. It is seriously not worth that few hundred dollars to get into trouble over the conflict-of-interst complains.


"What is their higher priority - teaching students in the schools or teaching students in the private tuition?"

Ans: Their higher priority is to teach and to earn more money.

Many teachers turn to tuition because teaching has long ceased to be a key priority in most schools.

The amount of time teachers spend on non-teaching related duties has ballooned tremendously. Most schools finish by 230pm each day, but it is common to still see teachers working in school past 7pm on their other projects, meetings, rehearsals, all of which have nothing to do with teaching.

Most schools have inofficially mandated that marking and lesson preparation to be of lesser priority. Teachers are expected to do their marking and lesson preparation at home. Working time in school is meant for other school duties of immediate attention.

Teachers turn to tuition because only private tutors focus exclusively on teaching academic subjects, offers a higher pay for less working hours and give teachers the satisfaction of helping weak students improve on their schoolwork.


"Is there any compromising in terms of the amount of time needed and committed to teach students in the schools and to teach students in the private tuition?"

Ans: You should ask MOE and the school principals why are they deliberately compromising teachers' time in teaching and teaching-related preparation work for their personal career advancements.


"Should principals and teachers be allowed to give private tuition?"

Ans: Most principals don't give tuition.

Teachers will continue to give tuition because it is a great source of income and because tuition actually allows teachers to really focus on teaching, which your regular school teachers are not able to do so.

Anonymous said...

>>>What is their higher priority - teaching students in the schools or teaching students in the private tuition?

Neither.

Teaching is not a key priority for promotion. Teachers who are keen to be promoted to higher ranks spend more time on high-profile activities and duties that can gain attention with the school management committee and principal. Teaching students is not a priority. Spending large amount of time on helping weaker students is seen to be a burden on career advancement, rather than to be duty.

That is why it is rare to see HODs or high-fliers in the teaching service teaching the weaker Normal Academic or Normal Technical classes.

Most of the time, these classes are parceled out to untrained contract teachers, adjunct teachers or the regular teachers.

Teachers who focus heavily on teaching normally are not keen on promotion. They are either not interested or just too jaded to want to compete in climbing the ladder.

Anonymous said...

Education had been a privilege reserved for the elites for centuries. It is only in this hundred or so years that education has become cheap and affordable for most people. However, if you look at the quality of education now and that of the past, I think the education now is a failure. The syllabus touches too much on stuff that have no practical use. As a result, people spent about 20 years studying yet when they finally come out to work they are still not well-equipped for the society. And to make things worse, most people work in fields which they did not study for. The education nowadays is a mess - costly, long and inadequate.

Education can never be equal, just like income, there will always be a gap and all the government can do is to minimise it.

It is not genetics, definitely not. It is the enviroment which make a lot of difference. Imagine children having meals with parents who always discuss 4D and toto, and those that always engaged in intellutual topics. The children will certainly be different. I used to think if my dad is Mr Lucky and my mom is Mr Wang, I will definitely be an elite!!!

Anonymous said...

I know of many teachers who do not give tuition. Yet, a lot of them feel that teaching actually distracts them from their actual role in the school of administrative duties and CCAs and other attention-catching activities that will hasten their promotion.

In my school, teachers who focus heavily on teaching risk getting the D-grade during their work review. Teaching is considered a basic duty. No big deal about it. Teachers who aspire to become principals or HODs need to do a lot outside of teaching.

Why do you think teaching these days is so draining, as compared to teaching in the 1990s or 1980s?

Anonymous said...

As Singapore adopts progressive tax rate for residents who need to pay income tax and
also because principals and teachers are high income earners,
they are taxed under the higher income tax bracket.

This means that any additional incomes principals and teachers receive, e.g. rental income, dividends or from any other sources, are definitely taxed under the higher income tax rate. If they have more additional income, they pay more tax.

BUT

For those principals and teachers who provide private tuition services, they know that they are moonlighting. They do not dare to declare that they are moonlighting and therefore they do not declare these additional private tuition fees when they file their yearly income tax return.

Without declaring this high private tuition fees by those principals and teachers who provide private tuition, their taxable income are less by these amount of high private tuition fees.

As such, the tax portion of these high private tuition fees, supposed to be additional taxable income, are not computed and paid to the tax authority.

There is no tax issue for those principals and teachers who provide private tuition services and they choose to declare these additional income.
In this case, their moonlighting activities of private tuition services are known. This is another issue.

So, is it correct for those principals and teachers who provide private tuition services and charge high private tuition fees, but they choose not to declare these additional income and therefore they do not have to pay the tax on this portion of taxable income coming from high private tuition fees?

Anonymous said...

To annon above, there is no right or wrong. The IRAS will have the final decision on that. =D

Anonymous said...

One need to see the illusion of supposed high income that teachers have. Count their number of hours. They are so busy that they don't have time to spend their money....so teachers tend to appear to have high savings....cos they can't spend their money....too much overworked...makes teachers think they have a lot of money but the truth is that they earn peanuts per hour for the mad hours MOE's ridiculous initiatives put on them....the cluster superintendant will ask the principal, what is your school like? how many awards have your school won? ....and they look for someone to blame and it goes to the teachers....singapore has a bad system and i hope many singaporeans can see how bad this governments and its polcies is doing to us....they destroyed the housing issue for the young singaporeans who can't even afford to set up a family...many young singaporeans resent the government's polcies and are begining to wonder the liability of a singaporean ic these days.

What is the problem in Singapore today?

Just to revert to the rhetorical point about the name calling this was going on during GE 2011 by the PAPies to Singaporeans and the opposition parties in Singapore...when Goh Chock Tong dishonoured his ex secretary by attacking his good name and when vivian balakrisknan attacked Vincent's Wijeyshingha as gay...or when Lee Kuan Yew called Singaporeans to repent for voting Aljunied out...The truth of the matter is that people and our governement who are troubled by the criticisms leveled at them really do set the bar very very really low indeed as to what they will accept in the way of criticism. So if the government spoken to rather robustly, people who criticize the PAP government are said to be intolerant of the government as though a physicist who doesn’t believe in magic is intolerant of magic. It’s an attempt to try to displace the criticism by attacking the criticizer. One thing which is very noticeable about the PAP's contributions in the past 2 elections was that it was really an adhominem attack on Singaporean nad the opposition and not really an attack on the people's alternatives and ideas for a better Singapore for all Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Just to revert to the rhetorical point about the name calling this was going on during GE 2011 by the PAPies directed to Singaporeans and the opposition parties...when Goh Chok Tong dishonoured his ex secretary by attacking his good name and when Vivian Balakriskhnan attacked Vincent's Wijeyshingha as gay...or when Lee Kuan Yew called Singaporeans daft and to repent for voting Aljunied out...The truth of the matter is that people and our government who are troubled by the criticisms leveled at them really do set the bar very very really low indeed, as to what they will accept in the way of criticism. So if the government is spoken to rather robustly, people who criticize the PAP government are said to be intolerant of it as though a physicist who doesn’t believe in magic is intolerant of magic. It’s an attempt to try to displace the criticism by attacking the criticizer. One thing which is very noticeable about the PAP's contribution in GE 2011s was that it was really an adhominem attack on Singaporeans and the opposition parties and not really an attack on the people's alternatives and ideas for a better Singapore for all Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

I feel that the teachers and MOE are shortchanging the students. Rather than blame teachers who are moonlight as private tutors, why not blame educators who are moonlighting as full-time teachers, while their key priorty is to focus on their various school committees in order to get promoted?

Anonymous said...

Do we have a primitive and lagging system like we need to update and keep up with the times? I disagree we are in slumberland or that our thesis originated from there. For all you know before transparency became a word, and the PLSE results were withheld, thousands of experiments could have gone on. So if you suspected in those days you have performed well to enter RI and a better life forward yet was posted to a neighborhood school and a less than ordinary life, you are not alone. Someday the public may get to scrutinise what REALLY went on in the sixties and seventies, until then I think we should just assume those folks know their talk more than meet your eyes.

The Pariah said...

The rot has taken root in our public scholarship award system.

1. High weightage is given to interview. Hence, kids from rich families tend to score well to grab the scholarship.

2. Rich kids only want the glam of being scholars. They are NOT keen to render public service.

3. After graduation, these rich kids are bonded to Public Service Div where they serve out their bond WITHOUT (a) appreciation of the needs of and (b) empathy towards ordinary folks and the underprivileged.

4. VWOs can attest to how difficult it is to get these young scholars in policy-making roles to visit the under-privileged, walk the ground and attend their events.

5. Where these rich kids/policy makers show up, it is likely for the first and last time as these rich kids are too shell-shocked and disgusted by the grit they encounter.

6. Once the bond is up and they have earned their experience, these rich kids would be the first to quit the Civil Service - hence no matter how well we pay the Admin Officers, the attrition rate is high and citizens suffer the "musical chair" consequences of such high turnover.

The Pariah said...

Dear Lucky Tan:

The Great Equaliser is more like
The Great Divider.


Based on my earlier comment about how the public scholarship system is already skewed, LKY's quote will simply be SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 21/6/11 15:14 said:

The two main pillars of our education system are the tuition system and the exam-cramming system.

Nearly all schools rely heavily on the 5 months cramming period before the PSLE and O-levels to ram up student understanding to par before the major exams. During this period, teachers no longer indulge in nonsensical teaching strategies. It is purely back-to-basics reinforcing of foundational understanding, good old fashion teaching and preparing students by going through past year exam questions from ten-year-series and other schools' exam papers.

The tuition system employs the same method from the start, and focuses on teaching methods that have consistently proven results for the past few decades. There is really no substitute for practice, practice and practice.


----------------------------------

Memorize before exam, regurgitate during exam, forget after exam. No wonder Singaporeans can go through 16 years of schooling without learning anything. The only proven result is that Singaporeans all ended up getting replaced by foreign talents who actually have some abilities other than taking exams.

Anonymous said...

Memorize before exam, regurgitate during exam, forget after exam. No wonder Singaporeans can go through 16 years of schooling without learning anything.
-------------------

That is not true. O-levels and A-level questions over the years have been changed to ask more problem-solving questions rather than pure memory.

For example in Physics, the examiners hardly ask questions that require students to recite laws of physics like Newton's Laws. Instead, they are given real-life problems where they apply Newton's Laws to find solutions.

In Social Studies, students study modern-day conflicts such as the Sri Lanka civil war and Gulf War 1. They als analyse the rise and fall of ancient maritime city-states such as Venice.

-----------
The only proven result is that Singaporeans all ended up getting replaced by foreign talents who actually have some abilities other than taking exams.
------------

Which foreign talents s that? Corruption is rampant in most of these foreign talent's home countries. It is likely that many of them bought their degrees or paid off their own invigilators for exam tips. Funding for education in many of those countries remain low, and even if the foreigners earned their degrees honestly, we still doubt their technical competencies.

My company is very wary of hiring foreign talent, especially for engineering work. We still prefer Singapore degrees if possible.

Anonymous said...

It's a balancing problem between economic growth and social well-being especially in this tiny resource scare island. Our political leaders are steering the ship toward economic growth regardless and putting little emphasis on social welfare. It's cheaper and easier to manage for country to import talent then to groom one don't you think so?

The system had driven people to chase after their dreams and material gains. Children are left at home to be cared by maids. It's a chain effect and impacting our behaviour of kids, teachers, parents, even our leaders and religious people. Things are getting out of control and that why we seeing the result of a swing of voters to non pap.

It would probably do singapore good by having opposition with right moral values and with people support, to make the social changes. In the eyes of PAP, the 60% vote is a mandate for them to keep their policies and not to rock the boat. The old man is still kicking and pulling strings to effect it political power. So do you think the PAP will change? and how far the change will go?

I think social change is good as it has been over driven towards growing the economy. Today, singaporean are well travelled and knowledgeable about themselved. We will prove to the old man that the change will not deteriorate our society but on reverse, it will consolidate and strengthen our belief and values. It will bond the nation to take the next challenge.

duckless said...

The original chi flat iron was released as a professional salon straightener. After gaining popularity on the market the cheap chi flat iron was later released for personal consumer use. If you are a professional stylist or someone who loves straightening their chi hair straightener before leaving for work the Chi original ceramic flat iron is one styling tool you cannot live without. Unlike other wholesale chi flat iron before its day the Chi model was developed with moist ceramic heat technology that does not burn or damage the wholesale chi hair straighteners.

puertas metalicas cortafuegos said...

I found a great deal of helpful information in this post!

Mahreb said...

Well, humanity as well as a group of students can ponder over drawing general conclusions from the relevant data in order to complete writing an assignment by means of http://papersmart.net/assignment.html on a the given subject. I can suggest you the best writing service that has made a huge breakthrough in gathering useful scientific information in absolutely no time. If you need a professional help being given to you, come and get it for a reasonable reward, and you will be satisfied.