The Straits Times
Published on Nov 27, 2012

Top scorers' stories can inspire others


IT IS disappointing that no news reports have named this year's Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) top scorer out of respect for the Education Ministry's new policy ("MOE stops naming top students"; last Wednesday).

I learnt from my child that the top scorer worked very hard for the PSLE, and this pupil's success would have inspired others to work as hard.

In every exam, there is a top scorer, so that cannot be a unique source of stress for the PSLE.

The PSLE is stressful because so much is at stake for the child.

If the ministry's intent is to reduce the stress associated with the exam, it should consider making it more flexible for secondary school principals to decide on the transfers of students across streams, for example, Normal to Express, depending on their performance.

I was a beneficiary of this flexibility as I missed the PSLE cut-off by two points, yet managed to enter the stream of my choice in Secondary 2 because of my hard work in Sec 1.

If more Primary 6 pupils and their parents know that this is possible, perhaps they would be less stressed by the PSLE.

Another suggestion is to announce the increase in the scale of the enrolment exercise for top schools at Sec 3, so that students who do not do well in the PSLE know that they still have a shot at a top junior college or Integrated Programme of their choice if they work harder in Sec 1 and 2.

I agree that we should do what we can to make the PSLE less stressful for pupils and their parents, but the principle of meritocracy and the value of hard work that have served us well so far should not be compromised.

Hard work should be rewarded, and publicly acknowledging it can inspire others to work harder.

Low Shien Ang