The Straits Times
Published on Nov 27, 2012

Let's celebrate effort and not just grades


SINCE the release of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results last Thursday, one thing has become obvious - Singaporean parents' obsession with excellence.

This is a sad state of affairs, and the Education Ministry is right to not name the top scorers.

The "primary" in PSLE refers to the school in the first stage of a child's formal education. However, the "primary" has evolved to become the most important or main stage of a child's education.

Our obsession should be on lifelong learning for the betterment of oneself and society.

Alas, the obsession of parents is with grades alone. Tell a parent that your child did well, scoring a certain aggregate, and he will tell you if your child's A is a "high" or "low" A.

Apparently, an A is no longer just an A that should be celebrated; there are good-quality As and poor-quality As.

I disagree with those who think that pupils' excellent grades should be showcased to inspire others. This is because every child is unique and successes are uniquely different.

To me, if a child consistently fails a subject but manages to pass it in the PSLE, that is a success story.

By highlighting only the top scorers and their scores, we fail to recognise the efforts of many "fail-to-pass" pupils.

We should celebrate effort and not grades per se. Do not let the PSLE become the Pupils' Sole Learning Exercise.

Grace Chua (Madam)