Doyobi Founder ‘Giving Up’ On Singapore, Says Education System Too ‘Deeply Entrenched’
Many Asian societies, including Singapore, often engage in the rat race, where children are expected to study hard, get into good schools, and eventually secure stable careers.
But the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of education technology (EdTech) startup Doyobi has had enough of it, declaring that he is “giving up” on the country.
John Tan, who also co-founded the company, recently took to his LinkedIn page to criticise the country’s education landscape.
He also declared that he is “bringing Doyobi to the rest of the world”.
EdTech firm leaving Singapore due to education system
Mr Tan’s post began with a resolute “I am giving up on Singapore”.
Elaborating on how he feels that Singaporean parents zero in too much on exams like the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), Mr Tan lamented that he had come to a realisation that his programme would not be able to change their mindsets.
For those who might not be familiar with EdTech, it is the concept of introducing information and communications technology (ICT) tools into the classroom.
The goal of such tools is to make learning more individualised and engaging.
Simply put, it can be viewed as a form of edutainment — or educational entertainment — for students.
In particular, Doyobi markets itself as being able to help students between the ages of eight and 12 master English language skills in the metaverse.
However, Mr Tan claimed that it is “not possible” to change Singaporean parents’ mindsets about how to prepare their children for the future.
He attributed this to their failure to look beyond just preparing their children to score well in examinations.
In his post, he said,
Rather than wasting another 10 years on Singaporean parents who refuse to accept change, I’m bringing Doyobi to the rest of the world.
Netizens debate validity of claims
Unsurprisingly, Mr Tan’s controversial opinions on Singapore’s education system sparked debates amongst netizens.
Under the post, one user urged the CEO to look beyond his arguably shallow understanding of academic rigour in Singapore, pointing out that there are also institutions that cater to the less academically-inclined or more arts-inclined.
Mr Tan’s post was also shared on the r/Singapore Reddit page, where multiple Redditors chipped in with their two cents on the matter.
Some found a bone to pick with how his ideology and goal contradicted his choice of words in the post.
Another speculated that Doyobi did not see the success it wanted as there is no demand for EdTech learning tools in Singapore.
This Redditor underlined that Mr Tan’s rationale is flawed as a strong emphasis on examinations is not exclusive to Singapore.
Another pointed out that in the current educational landscape, EdTech can only give students an added advantage.
However, it still cannot take precedence over doing well academically since it is currently the sole metric for judging a student’s ability to learn.
Amidst the criticism towards EdTech, one Redditor highlighted that it is still worth taking a leaf out of Mr Tan’s book.
They added that one should step back and critically consider the existing flaws with our education system, listing increased youth stress and disengagement with learning as two areas that need improvement.
Do you think Singaporean parents too stubborn as Mr Tan insinuates, or is EdTech simply not a practical addition to our education landscape? Let us know in the comments.
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Featured image adapted from Ministry of Education, Singapore on Facebook and John Tan on LinkedIn.
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