Monday, December 23, 2013

Appealing to the wisdom of the masses

What is the best education model for our children? This seems to be the hottest topic since the parents showed their displeasure on the PSLE. Some of the concerns are genuine and logical, some emotional and hazy. With the amount of research done in the field of education, with the great number of our teaching professionals being educated in the best universities, with a string of degrees to prove, we must have plentiful of them to tell the MOE what is the best system to adopt. If that is not enough, scouring the information available around the world should not be that difficult.

Why is there a sudden realization that things are not doing well and things must be changed? The obvious answer is that among all the experts in education, there is no agreement as to what is the best model for educating the young. There are so many schools with different values and assumptions of what is considered good for each country, the truth is that no one is wiser.

Now this perennial problem that is driving the parents and children crazy is given a new platform for airing, a kind of natcon. And the MOE is seriously looking into this issue and is also sounding out the parents for their wish lists. How many super talented Education Ministers have gone through the mills in their terms of office and how many changes have been made throughout the years? And strangely, the answer seems to be so elusive. Maybe every minister stepping into the MOE shoe deserves to tour the world to scout for the best education system.

There is the utilitarian school that advocates competitive education and making high demands from the children, to draw out the best from them, leading to hot housing. There are the advocates for a less stressful school system to allow the children to enjoy and be happy while in schools. There are many other variations in between. The bottom line is that parents want their children to be happy, less stressful and came out excellent in their education. Of course this combination is the best but unrealistic. The problem facing everyone, the MOE, teachers and parents, is how to find the right mix, less stressful, more fun, to give the children a good time in school and without compromising on the quality of education. A daunting and impossible task to think that this is achievable.

Maybe a buffet spread with all the variations and allowing the parents to make their choice and knowing very well the consequences of the different models. What I think the likely choice would still be the current system of high pressure hothousing model. What the parents would like is no choice, just an easy going, less stressful model for all children to enjoy schooling, with lesser competition. When they are faced with a buffet spread, many would have no choice but to want the best for their children, and sacrificing the more forgiving model when the children will grow up a happier child.

If there is a perfect model in the first place, the super talented ministers of the past would have found and delivered it to the happy parents and children. Maybe at primary level the schools should be more loving, more forgiving given the fact that nature would make most children to be children. Let the children have an easier time in primary level. The competition should come in at secondary level when the children are more mature and able, and a little better to know what they are in for.

I don’t think any education expert has the right answer. Ok I am not kpkb so I am not supposed to provide a solution. Neither am I paid to provide a solution.
This is Christmas. Relac.

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