Worried Parents taking their kids to psychologists].
According to the article, many parents send their children for preschool enrichment before they start primary one. When these children get to primary one, they already know all the stuff the teachers are supposed to teach so the teachers are pressured to increase the pace of teaching and raise the standard. Because the pace of teaching is increased, the some students cannot cope and parents send them to psychologists. ...okay we are talking about primary one education here - the part of your life that you're suppose to enjoy your childhood, discover the world around you and be filled with infinite curiosity, Unfortunately, extremely intense competition in Singapore at an early age is killing the most important aspect of education - the love of learning.
How did our education system enter this vicious cycle? Blogger, Alex Au, painstakingly drew this amazing maze-like sorting system [Education System high stakes board game] which is the education system our children are being put through.
Some parts of this "incredible human sorting system" is not shown in the diagram like the gifted program when they are in primary 4 and when the children go to secondary school it is not just the various streams like Express, Normal Academic etc but within the Express Stream you go to secondary schools belonging to different bands (10 bands) depending on your results. As you get sorted downwards, your odds of going to a local university falls and it can fall quite rapidly after primary 6. If you get sent to the Normal Technical Stream after primary six, your chance of ever getting into university is very low.
Because the system judges and sorts students very early in their life and the impact on their future is significant , it causes parents to try to give their children an edge by sending them to expensive pre-school, enrichment classes and tuition centers. As a result of this, a large part of the resources in education system is "hijacked' by a burgeoning private industry setup to give your child an edge. Head of departments and experienced teachers leave the MOE and start lucrative tuition centers. The number of parents hiring tutors and private learning centers for their children shows how much trust (or rather lack of trust) they have for MOE's schools and curriculum. Parents will naturally game the system by giving their children an edge sending them for expensive pre-school and then force the teachers to go faster leaving some students behind - so you get rid of some of the competition because they are slightly less prepared.
In the end what do we get in return for all this pressure and anxiety? We put our students through all this and when it comes to tertiary education, a large number of places are given to foreign students and a limit is put on the % of Singaporeans[Link] who can make it to university and polytechnics[Link]. The system does even give those entering the workforce an advantage - workers coming from places where the education system is far more relaxed are able to compete and secure jobs in Singapore. ....so what does all this anxiety, pressure and intense competition achieve...except to find people to push down and get sorted out...many are not educated to their fullest ability as seen from the large number of parents who have to send their children overseas for tertiary education, those who cannot afford it miss out and do not have their abilities developed fully.