The Straits Times
Published on Oct 29, 2012

Tharman supports rebalancing of PSLE system

His experience as education minister tells DPM exam sorts pupils too finely


Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam gave his views on Sunday on calls to ease the pressure pupils face at the Primary School Leaving Examination.

The heart of the problem, he observed, was that the exam differentiates pupils based on an aggregate of their exact score.

Noting that this meant Primary 6 pupils are sorted even more finely than students in Secondary 4, who receive a letter grade for their exams, he said: "It is inevitable that parents and teachers will place great emphasis on preparing their children for the PSLE."

He said fine-grain differentiation at a young age was something that will have to studied. Also to be considered are how pupils are posted to secondary schools on the basis of those grades, and how schools, particularly the top ones, can be made more diverse.