Time to move beyond academic excellence

The new Primary School Leaving Examination scoring system entails wider grade bands and removing the fine sorting on a bell curve, which was said to cause tremendous stress to students ("New PSLE scoring system to have 8 grade bands"; last Thursday).

The new system aims to reduce competition and stress among students. But the reality is that the removal of an aggregate score alone cannot achieve this aim.

Competitiveness is sewn into the fabric of our culture. Many students will still pursue top grades. After all, they still have to compete against their peers in order to get a spot in their dream school.

Thus, in order to maximise the impact of the changes, a change in mindset is essential. We need to move beyond the antiquated notions of pure academic excellence.

Hopefully, students will then be provided with more opportunities for holistic development, as well as have the immense pressure on them reduced.

Kate Yeo, 14, Secondary 3 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2016, with the headline 'Time to move beyond academic excellence '. Print Edition | Subscribe