PSLE? What Next?
Last Friday, the whole country was aflutter with the release of this year’s PSLE results. Caught in the frenzy, many students wondered if they have a future in this country when competition is fierce. However, they forgot one thing:
The PSLE is not an accurate measure of a student’s intelligence as it is a means to an end, which is to place students into secondary schools according to their grades. This is a utilitarian and efficient way of doing so, and a similar method is used to place students after the O and A levels as well. In short, it is a big administrative exercise to make sure that everyone has a school to go to, even those who didn’t pass.
Yes, there is a life after PSLE, and it depends on what you make of it.
This isn’t the only toxic idea they believe in. Here are four other ideas that these children have internalised, consciously or subconsciously.
5. Learning Is About Memorising And Regurgitating
We’re not surprised if many think this way—this is what you need to do to pass your exams. Our education system misses the point with this method of learning as there is no engagement in class, and kids don’t learn to think for themselves. For Maths, children do the same types of problems again and again so that they can solve them. For social studies, students are made to read model answers and memorise the steps they need to take in order to answer the question. In essence, the system has taken away the joy of learning, and students detest school all the more because of it.
It shouldn’t be this way. Learning is all about discovering what you didn’t know previously, and that the world is fascinating. Mindless memorisation and copying model answers take the fun out of learning.
4. You Have To Be A Doctor Or A Lawyer.
There’s also the trend of students thinking that they have to be doctors or lawyers if they want to be successful. More often than not, they are influenced by their parents who have had these dreams—by imposing them upon their children, many elders think that they are setting their kids for life. Lots of students go through life with this goal without questioning why, only to regret that they didn’t pursue another path that could be more fulfilling to them.
Besides, it is up to the students to find out what they can do to contribute. Buying into the Singapore dream of success is only going to narrow their view of the world and cripple their growth.
3. CCAs Will Also Make Or Break Your Future!
This myth has been perpetuated by teachers, who tell you that employers and future schools are looking out for people who are all-rounded individuals. On the surface, their logic makes sense—interesting people go beyond their studies, and people with hobbies are more interesting.
The pressure to have a CCA is also insane—many feel like they have to be in one, and parents and schools force students to choosing more “prestigious” ones that will look better on their transcripts.
And for what? Nothing. School admissions in Singapore mostly look at your grades, and employers only want to know if you can do the job that you’re applying for. What you did as a CCA is a fun lunchtime topic to discuss with your future colleagues.
2. Not Attending An Elite School = Failure
A lot of kids put pressure on themselves as they want to go to the elite schools—we know which schools they are targeting, and it’s easy to see why. Many of these schools have better teachers, fun CCAs, more resources and cool facilities. Plus, they feel like they are guaranteed of a better education if they go there. In a sense, they are right—but lots of students in these schools are unhappy if they don’t fit in with the culture, or cannot cope with the student body’s competitiveness.
In short? Elite schools aren’t for everyone, and there are lots of other ways to improve yourself. There are actually benefits to not going to one—you are less stressed and have a lot more free time to indulge in your hobbies.
1. Getting Good Grades Is The Key To A Successful Life
Um, no. Just, no. Getting good grades means only one thing—that you’re good at beating the system. There’s so much more out there to learn and explore, and there’s no reason to measure one’s self-worth with a piece of paper. The education system may be limiting, but one has the ability to decide what he or she wishes to learn or do.