Should we continue with the competitive education system?

Over the past decades, we have adopted a competitive education system.

The aim of this system is to identify the top students and to offer them scholarships and put them into leadership roles in government.

Many other Asian countries have also adopted a similar approach.

It has its positive aspects. It encourages the students to study hard and perform well in the examinations.

The best students are accepted into universities and have a chance to get a scholarship, paid by the state, for the prestigious universities in other countries.

This approach has its drawbacks. The severe competition to be the top students give stress to the students. Their parents also add to the stress. This has led to an alarming rate of suicide rate among youths who are not able to do well or to manage the stress.

What is the alternative?

We have the choice to remove the competition from the education system.

We need need examinations to ensure that the students meet the expected standards. However, we should de-emphasize the top students.

Maybe, there is no need to identify the top students. If we do, we should not tie it to big rewards like a scholarship.

We still have to face a dilemma. If we want 40% of the students to have a place in a university, there will still be competition to be the the top 40% that is selected. How can this be decided?

My suggestion is to have a place in a tertiary institute for everybody that meets the standard – say 80% of the population, but the tertiary education should cover the academic university and the non-academic institutes.

The non-academic institutes can be technical or skilled based and prepare the students for careers in specific industries, such as hotel, telecommunications, manufacturing etc.

More importantly, the gap between the earnings of the academic and the non-academic graduates should narrow. I understand that this gap is about 10% in Switzerland.

What about the 10% to 20% who fail to make the grade? They can continue their education for one or two more years, if they wish. They will eventually graduate.

I think that my suggestion is similar to the practice in some countries, like Germany and Switzerland.

In my view, it should be possible to make a change and get away from the competition in the education system.

Tan Kin Lian

 

 

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18 Responses to “Should we continue with the competitive education system?”

  • EducatedIdiot:

    Educated to serve the economy. Don’t make it sound like your idea will “improve ” the system when it is actually a factory mill and will remain so for people to compete for wealth or prosperity(suckers).

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  • Vote for Change:

    Other countries print degrees like no body business, so that their people are potable everywhere.

    while we limits ours by “TOP grades” and then openly invites others so call talents to work here with their degrees to displace our own citizens.

    So the question is does our immigration policies check on “Equivalent “Grades” of others degree? The answer is NO.

    I know many Chinese come and take their master degree here and most employers readily recognize masters from our universities, giving them advantage to hold Top positions. Businessmen goes for Profits, Who actually want to check on “Grades”.

    The system is a total failure. But I suspect is more Politically Inclined than not. The worse is the government is giving away $1 million dollars A DAY for foreigners scholarship. This is sick and madness.

    To effective rescue the System, Only Vote for Change with someone who truly cares for its citizens will only work. With Billions of tax payers money already given away, you know where the rot and dead bodies must be replaced.

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  • Lau Ren Char:

    Isn’t the polytechnics and ITEs the non -academic practical skills route?

    Haiz.

    The competitive aspect – divide and conquer strategy. Every man and woman for himself. I know of a grad who keeps his primary school friends but keeps out his university mates. Understadable. These people are just snakes.

    Sum up Singapore society – fair weathered, materialistic, staatus conscious, snobbish, self centered. Exactly the type of people Enid Blyton frowned on in her books. The Malory Towers and St Claire’s show that Blyton hated snobs.

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  • Scholars aint great:

    Education while necessary does not prove anything other than ability to muck books.
    Most greatest humans are not scholars.
    Many billionaires no degrees.

    Academic results is over-rated beyond reasonable doubt.

    But scholars maybe weak in character and can easily be controlled .

    Children have suffered too unnecessarily for grades.

    Just Pass will do.

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  • Bapak:

    No point. This top brains are no top brain. Re- new coins, who would counterfeits $1, 50, 20, 10 & 5 cent coins. Only SG brought up top brain can think of this.

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  • TruBlu:

    We dont need more educated but selfish and self-centred fools.
    We oredy have too many of them.

    What is true meritocracy?
    I am sure ours IS NOT!

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Present day Economic environment isn’t conducive for individual academic achievements these days. And the S’pore (Meritocratuc) scholars eco-system is an artificial oasis funded by S’pore tax payers monies & supported by the PAP govt inside a declining Global Economy that isn’t going anywhere at the moment. Their mechanism is actually failing!

    Ask yourself if the S’pore competitive educational system based on pure academic rote-learning is going to be sustainable or not? Your answer would be as good as mine!

    The class room, the lecture hall mechanics of passive learning isn’t in tune with today’s Knowledge Economy. You need to wed AI, automated technology & robotics with basic mechanism for surviving day-to-day. The S’pore “open concept” business model (& the PAP govt’s) strong reliance on inward foreign investments & enticing foreign capital providers will come to pass! If the current trend of De-Globalisation & “shortening of Global Supply Chains” continue, it will change our way of life & affect our future generations.

    The world is facing:
    * global issues of climate change (extreme weather patterns);
    * growing concerns with depleting natural resource supply eg. clean water, food, breathable air quality, even quarrying sand for construction, etc;
    * Some low-lying areas in the world are facing potential catastrophic permanent flooding of habitable & arable lands;
    * Temperature shifts harming food production at a time when population growth is still continuing to expand exponentially;
    * The North & South Poles are shifting their magnetic core – ice glaciers are melting rapidly affecting warm & cold ocean currents which in turn intensifies variable temperatures & increases the sea levels.

    What is the point of education when the present day mechanism doesn’t even alert people to the dangers that you’ll be facing in the coming years!

    And the PAP govt still harbours a 10 million population target & continual redevelopment, urban intensification in a coming future where people may find it hard to feed themselves. Then what, Solyent Green?

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  • So much unfair competition:

    The glaring fact about this nation is that the rise of competitiveness in our schooling system has been accompanied by the insidious evolution of Singapore’s crony-capitalist economy since the 80′s – and its concomitant elitist networks.

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  • Dr. Chan:

    Self made billionaires e.g. Bill Gates, Jack Ma, are school dropouts who proved too much schooling stifle entrepreneurship.
    Fake scholars with little real world experience are the worst in entrepreneurship and doing business. These fakes should just stick to administrative roles. Stay out of policymaking, risk taking investment, business dealing/trading – roles of CEOs. And stop comparing themselves to CEOs and ask to be paid as such.

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  • Top Scholar But Educated Idiot:

    Look at our leaders. Most of them are highly educated with high IQ. But Many have low EQ and are unable to solve problems well.

    To make matters worse, they can only react to problems after it happen but unable to think out of the box and anticipate these problems before it happens.

    One good recent example is the E Scooter problems. They just do as auto pilot and when there are serious accidents where many children and elderly are hurt or killed, then they try to think of ways to prevent these problems.

    We really miss the 1G leaders who can anticipate and take the appropriate actions before introducing new policies.

    4G leaders make my toes laugh.

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  • pea brained idea:

    children must be educated for as long as they can and as much as they can.

    pap Singapore is not their play ground. the world is their play ground.

    even that ceca ah neh with fake degree is better off than 70% sheep who believes in pap cannot eat degree lie.

    there are parents, some even so called educated ones, who buy into the pap lie NUS NTU SMU are world ranking when in fact the rankings are faked. they fall into the stupid BS played by wasteful pap. any University in the world with the kind of 70% sheep CPF money to throw around shall game the ranking system.

    these parents should watch what pap folks actually do.

    1st, all their children degrees, even their stupid ones who can get accepted overseas have an overseas degree one.

    2nd, none of their children NUS NTU SMU if their grades can make it overseas. cow boon hwan degree is not NUS NTU SMU. he went to australia which Us all rank below NUS. believe cow boon hwan die.

    3rd, stroke heng kee chiu bugs bunny chan laulan wrong and such not NUS NTU SMU. stroke heng is UK, so also bugs bunny chan. laulan wrong is USA.

    today despite artificially created barriers in law and medicine, quite a number of parents send their children overseas. sure. the number is still low. but with time, when parents realize the quality of education has nothing to do with faked ranking but TRUE education, more will see the pap lie and start to send their children overseas.

    why have children brainwashed from kindergarten to University under pap BS? why not have that last leg of their lives in a different environment where they meet with different minds that give them that chance to see things differently and escape from pap BS tyranny?

    BTW where did cow boon hwan send his children? NUS NTU SMU? can someone who really knows tell 70% sheep the truth.

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  • Land of Ostrich:

    Exams strike FEAR.
    Fear of Losing and failure makes singaporeans KIA SU and Kia Si.

    Easily controlled.
    Just scared them a bit. Controlled.

    Proven by :
    1. Characterised as Ostrich.
    2. Whispering of complains instead of speaking like free man.

    Failure is painted by the system as so extremely bad that the ostriches overly fear not just failing exams but not scoring A’s.

    Can ostrich land vs Lion city?

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  • Sergeant Major Ostrich:

    NOL
    Cums to mind.
    Proven beyond reasonable doubt.

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  • Sick & Destructive Competition:

    The aims of education are to acquire knowledge that is both useful for the individual and the society. However, the major goal of education ought to be character building so that the human soul is able to differentiate between good and evil, and to avoid the pitfalls of avarice, arrogance, envy and malice; hence to nurture an ethical and constructive society comprising sincere and balanced people who understand the virtue of healthy competition.

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  • Dictatorship in asia:

    competitive education system came about due to a number of reasons and most of them are not for beneficial reasons.

    1) power struggle – such a education system will allow dictators to gain support by consolidating minds into their sphere

    2) social control and hierarchy – a system of dictatorship relies heavily on control and submission of the citizens .

    3) social class manipulation – benefits dictators who want to put categories of people into their social classes

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    @ Dictatorship in asia:
    Competitive education system doesn’t translate nor aligned into relevant economic roles within the greater economy.

    Nothing that is learnt here were relevant inside the Knowledge Economy.

    The Competitive education mechanism were inherently selfish motives, & inculcate egotistical self-wa**ers! Creativity & innovation spirits aren’t going to be nuture nor enhanced in such an eco-system.

    And I’ve already said that the broader education should involved all things technology & computer coding with emphasis on STEM topics. And that should have been done 2 decades earlier, now it’s too late.

    At the forefront today are AI & machine learning but S’pore & S’poreans aren’t going to be players in this realm.

    For example, an intelligent fridge that scans & monitors your groceries for expiry dates & for supplies running low thus sending you alerts thru your smartphone; the intelligent toilet bowl detecting your urinary or stool samples for health screening & checks, etc.

    Dictatorship in asia:
    competitive education system came about due to a number of reasons and most of them are not for beneficial reasons.

    1) power struggle – such a education system will allow dictators to gain support by consolidating minds into their sphere

    2) social control and hierarchy – a system of dictatorship relies heavily on control and submission of the citizens .

    3) social class manipulation – benefits dictators who want to put categories of people into their social classes

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  • speckofdust:

    Education system is competitive because we want to chase the grades. Why do we have to be greedy in getting good grades? We need to turn away from our greed. What if learning can be fun? The so-called meritocratic system in Singapore judges students by the grades we get. If we go for tuition and get help from family members and friends, it is collective merit rather than individual merit. A competitive education system is suffocating.

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  • PAP CLOSE DOWN:

    When I was in civil service, the top rank like to bandy about the phrase:”you need to be pro active not re active.” “Don’t be the glorified clerk”

    Other terms like “helicopgter vision”, “heads will roll”, “Machiavellian”.

    Top Scholar But Educated Idiot:
    Look at our leaders. Most of them are highly educated with high IQ. But Many have low EQ and are unable to solve problems well.

    To make matters worse, they can only react to problems after it happen but unable to think out of the box and anticipate these problems before it happens.

    One good recent example is the E Scooter problems. They just do as auto pilot and when there are serious accidents where many children and elderly are hurt or killed, then they try to think of ways to prevent these problems.

    We really miss the 1G leaders who can anticipate and take the appropriate actions before introducing new policies.

    4G leaders make my toes laugh.

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