Mindset change needed on changes to PSLE grading

I applaud the Ministry of Education for considering a banding system for the Primary School Leaving Examination ("What will new grading system look like?"; Sunday).

Such a move is long overdue and will certainly go some way towards addressing the prevalent results-oriented mindset.

It will allow children to have more freedom to explore areas of interest beyond academic endeavours, and hopefully retain their innate curiosity.

However, the changes have given rise to questions, including on the admission criteria for secondary schools and fairness ("Secondary school placement a key issue" by Ms Alice Heng Wang Cheng; Monday, "PSLE grade revamp just shifts stress elsewhere" by Mr Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan and "Banding doesn't resolve resource issue" by Mr Sum Siew Kee; both published on Wednesday).

While these concerns are pertinent, are they good grounds to hinder changes that may have a more positive impact on children's education?

Pragmatism needs to be tempered with a willingness to try, experiment and envision alternative possibilities.

Every solution to resolve existing problems is likely to give rise to new problems.

But conservatism and fear of the unknown should not deter us from attempting to change the system. Without change, there can be no improvement.

Given Singapore's education climate, with our fixation on results, structural changes need to be supplemented with mindset changes.

Many view academic achievements as indicators of success in education. However, educational success goes beyond academic excellence. Instead, it encompasses the psychological well-being of each person.

Those who are less academically inclined should not be considered failures if they have a good sense of self and try to improve themselves each day.

Recognition of this is key to helping children here receive the best form of education possible.

Clare Chia Xiao Fen (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2016, with the headline 'Mindset change needed on changes to PSLE grading'. Print Edition | Subscribe