Forum: Education must equip people to live beyond getting a job

International Baccalaureate (IB) student Hannah S. Sheehy's commentary is a telling piece on the fundamental flaw of our educational system (No exams? An education wasted?, April 1).

"I learnt for an exam, not for a love of learning," Hannah said after discovering that her IB exams in May had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Education is a labour-intensive enterprise. Measuring the outcome of this enormous investment is a simple tool called exams.

A whole subsidiary industry of assessment and related processes has been spawned by the need to assess the outcome of this investment in "learning" by the students. And we are not even sure exams really measure what they purport to measure.

We can do better if we are willing to, at least, accept this one fact: Exams are antiquated and ineffective as a measure of learning input and output, given the restrictive assessment methodology.

Those who teach and those who learn have the basic responsibilities of ensuring educational outcomes, not the policymakers and prospective employers.

Life should be about learning beyond survival; education must equip people to live and thrive beyond getting a job and contributing to the economy.

Education must engender the young to advance culture and civilisation as human beings.

Exams are the least critical considerations in determining such a course for the future.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

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