Is the Greatest Asset of the Singaporean Education System Turning Into the Biggest Weakness?

Sep 18, 2019

The most valuable resource in Singapore is its ‘people’. The island has limited natural resources. Singapore depends on its education system for cultivating human capital. When the post-colonial states converted to the primary resources exports for the sake of growth, an eminent education system has been made by the Republic that has crafted a world-class workforce and brought the tiger economy.
 
The education system of Singapore is one of the best in the entire world. Singapore has been consistently coming first in the international ranking like the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which estimates that the students of Singapore are approximately three years ahead of the American students in Mathematics.
 
Education with close association with meritocracy:
 
The meritocratic system of Singapore is important to its economic growth and condemning to national stability. The students have to give tests and examinations that will direct their prospective development routes at a young age. The parents gladly send their children to the after-school tuition and the enrichment classes thinking that their kids will obtain the competitive edge. Rat race started because the children and their parents run after better grade and fantastic future.
 
By the time the students of Singapore complete their primary school education, they have already undertaken an extensive test-taking career. Their first important test is PSLE or Primary School Leaving Examination. PSLE is a national examination system for the students who are 12 years old. It determines the entrants’ entry into the secondary school and designs the children’s further education route.
 
Many countries make the introduction of the national assessments and streaming for the students who are aged between 15-18 and have already completed or accomplishing their secondary education. By this time, the high and low achievers are identified and sent to different schools depending on the national standardised tests that were taken when they were 12 years old. An education system that is structured in this distinct way has made way to a superabundant fixation on the grades that demarcate the worth in the society of Singapore.
 
The stellar education system of Singapore doesn’t inescapably nurture a future-ready workforce that can take charge of its economy.
 
Why?

New technologies are continuously disrupting traditional industries. Hence, the workforce is required to be innovative, creative and adaptable. The island’s current testing and grading system are not giving rise to the young innovators, but developing good test-takers. The students who are appearing for examinations today may find themselves preparing for jobs that won't be there tomorrow.

The Singaporeans are required to possess the tenacity for coping with the developments. They should be innovative for beating the times. Only rote learning and memorising the correct answers won’t prepare them for an innovative future. The education system should provide a suitable environment for the holistic development of the citizens.
 
Introduction of reforms for lowering the emphasis on grades:
 
A smart nation initiative has been taken for ensuring Singapore’s benefits from the global digital transformation. The particular initiative focuses on the adoption of smart technologies nation-wide, and the visualizations of the development of the eminent company that is powered by digital innovation.
 
Singapore is making an entry in the spheres of acquisition of skills. Singapore has managed to secure the top spot in the human capital measures in the Asian Digital Transformation Index. The focus was on the production of graduates with digital skills. 
In Singapore, the meritocracy must go beyond ‘exam meritocracy’. When there are more ways towards success, Singaporean society can get rid of the fixation on the assessment grades. With more channels to success, Singapore has a golden chance to drive its economy through vast talents and human capital. 
 
The education system of Singapore needs a shift of mindset:
 
The digital revolution requires creative thinkers and innovators as the way makers. The mindset of Singapore can hold it back for giving the leaders of the digital revolution. As long as the academic results keep on continue to be the regulating factor for the success among the parents of Singaporean children, no amount of the education system’s top-down reforms can change the people’s mindset. 
 
Singapore should reassure the citizens that getting strong academic results is not the only path that can lead to success. Today’s biggest challenge for the education society of Singapore is the way to hold and use a sword that is kiasuism in driving the economy of the country. 
 
Description: The most valuable resource in Singapore is its ‘people’. The island has limited natural resources. Singapore depends on its education system for cultivating human capital. When the post-colonial states converted to the primary resources exports for the sake of growth, an eminent education system has been made by the Republic that has crafted a world-class workforce and brought the tiger economy.
 

Summary

 The education system of Singapore is one of the best in the entire world. Singapore has been consistently coming first in the international ranking like the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which estimates that the students of Singapore are approximately three years ahead of the American students in Mathematics.

Article Posted in: Academics

Sudipto Das

Sudipto writes educational content periodically for MyPrivateTutor Singapore and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO and graphic designing.

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