Voices of youth

MOE's new focus requires balance

I welcome the Ministry of Education's (MOE) decision to reduce focus on academic results ("More time and space for students' interests"; Jan 20).

However, as we move towards this goal, we must be careful to implement processes that will not overshadow the good intentions.

First, we need to find a good balance between allowing students to pursue their interests and strengthening school-based programmes for academically weaker students.

We should not expect students to meet the many commitments needed to be considered all-rounded, which could result in them neglecting their studies.

Second, shifting to a holistic assessment system should be done in a way that allows academically weaker students to showcase their abilities without losing out in other areas.

For example, such students are usually ineligible for co-curricular activity (CCA) leadership roles or overseas exchange programmes.

Third, CCAs that allow students to participate in major competitions are already more popular as students with the necessary skills may enter an educational institution of their choice using their non-academic achievements.

The new system should let students pursue their interests and not learn a skill just to show they are more holistically developed than others. The MOE is moving in the right direction; it just needs to consider how some schools and students might work to achieve its policies' goals.

Quek Wei Kang, 19, awaiting A-level results


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2016, with the headline 'MOE's new focus requires balance '. Print Edition | Subscribe