Culture of emphasis on academic excellence needs to be addressed

Children need to know that their self-worth is not based on their academic achievements and that parents will support them regardless of what they score ("Panellists put PSLE under the microscope"; Dec 1, "Putting the joy in learning will make it a lifelong journey", Nov 28, "The PSLE post that scored with netizens"; Nov 27).

This will create an environment which will allow children to open up and share their struggles and fears.

Give children space to work on other skills and talents they may possess. Their strength may not lie in academics, but the arts or helping others, all of which are not reflected in academic achievements.

Having said that, allowing them to fail during their childhood within safe parameters will help to build their adversity quotient.

While it is true that there is a shift towards a more holistic education, the culture of emphasis on academic excellence is still something that we need to address as a nation, educators, parents and students alike.

There are many definitions of "excellence" but one thing for sure excellence is not, is perfection.

Schools could start by helping students identify their centre of excellence, before embracing and developing them into the school's centre of excellence.

The pressure of education removes the joy of the process of growing up from the lives of these individuals.

It is very true that children need to learn and gain knowledge as they go to school and learn about things.

But, if what they learn is solely to be tested in exams then the pressure of education is forcing children to learn for the sake of learning and not for the sake of acquiring knowledge.

Delane Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Culture of emphasis on academic excellence needs to be addressed'. Print Edition | Subscribe