I say the flaws are perceived because not everyone will agree that the education is flaw. If it is, how could Singapore be bragging to the world that we have one of the best education system in the world with world class top universities ranking at par with the best in the USA and UK? If our education is so loathsome, how could our students be tops in many tests conducted by international agencies, not ranking agencies?
Before anyone could attempt to come out with a solution to the perceived flawed education system, let’s look at the perceived problems raised as these would help those who are trying to work out a solution. The solution must address the perceived flaws or else it would be like chicken and duck talking.
From what I could gather, the perceived flaws can be narrowed down to a few points. 1. The education system is too stressful because of the great emphasis on test and grades. 2. The children are not happy because of the stress placed on them because of test and grades. 3. As a result many could not go to the top schools that they wanted, or the parents wanted them to be there.
If only that education could be less stressful, no test, and the children could end up in the top schools, everyone would be happy, the children and their parents. See, the solution is surfacing once the sources or causes of the perceived problems are highlighted.
Here is my brilliant solution
Actually ACS has in a way solved this problem by having 3 kinds of ACS schools, ie ACS Independent, ACS International and just ACS Normal or Ordinary or Traditional. What do all these meant?
Simply it means that all the parents and children would be happy if the children could be admitted into the tops schools like RI, Hwa Chong, ACS, Victoria etc etc. And when the children are in these top schools, how to make them happy, without test and the stigma of poor grades and still do very well on graduation? This is an idealistic type of education system that everyone wins, the ministry, teachers, parents and children will all be very happy, and no stress to worry about. So how to do it? Generally only a small number of parents and children are unhappy with the present education system. On one end are the parents that aspired for their children to be in the tops schools, to get good grades, without test and be happy children. On the other end there are parents and children are are realistic and understand the nature of things and are willing to accept that their children will go to the appropriate schools according to their performance in schools. This group is not crying or protesting about the present education system. Similarly, for parents and children that are doing well academically, they are also not complaining either but only in praises for the present system. So, there is only the first group of parents and children that needs to be appeased with some changes to the perceived flawed education system. There is no need to shake and rock the whole system just to cater to this group, maybe 10% or 20% of the cohorts.
Change the names of some schools to RI Special School, Hwa Chong Special School, ACS, Victoria etc. These special schools would be staffed with the best teachers money can buy, best to recruit teachers from US or Europe and pay them the highest salary possible. Not to worry about the cost of these teachers. The cost can be passed to the parents who can afford to and want their children to enroll in these bestest special schools, ie the fees would be high. Good quality schools must have the right to charge high fees.
The curriculum of these schools should be very relax to make the students happy, no pressure, a lot of play, study less, learn more. And all will graduate with a certificates issued from the respective schools, with straight As. No need to take PSLE, no need to take O or A level examinations. Just take inhouse examinations and be awarded with inhouse certificates from Singapore’s top schools.
One caveat, there is no guarantee if universities or polytechnics would accept these certificates, or if employers would want to employ such happy and stress free graduates. For those who don’t have to work for a living, this is the best school system for them. Happy happy and no need to be stressed out, a lot of free time to enjoy life, no homeworks and guaranteed good grades.
Hope the ministers in education would adopt this novel and marvelous education system of Special Schools.