The Straits Times
Published on Dec 04, 2012

Good grades are the best hedge for success


WE KNOW that good grades cannot guarantee success ("Good grades can't guarantee success in life" by Mr Alvin Sim; last Tuesday).

But we do not know how our children will fare in life.

If parents could predict that their children would end up with successful careers despite poor academic grades, many would not bother investing in their education, and feel stressed in the process.

It is because of this inability to predict the future that a good academic education becomes a form of insurance.

In a meritocracy like ours, the top civil servants, politicians, and senior management in corporations are often scholarship holders or people with stellar academic achievements.

How can we fault parents for wanting the best for their children, which includes getting them into a good school?

Therein lies the competition, because this is the reality, and it takes a great deal to think that good grades are not important.

In any case, just as there are successful people who lack good grades, there are also failures among them.

Similarly, although not all those who have good grades are successful, there are many who are.

There is no formula for this. It depends on the individual.

However, the probability of a person with good grades faring better in life is higher.

That said, we must be careful not to confuse character development with academic achievement.

It is important to inculcate the virtues of resilience, adaptability, humility, and so on. But character development and academic achievement are not mutually exclusive.

Our education system must incorporate both in the curriculum.

Lawrence Loh