Your Letters

Adult education should promote love of learning

The adult education system in Singapore deviates little from its childhood education counterpart (Adult education system 'has to keep evolving'; Aug 27).

I recently attended an optional three-day skills-upgrading course at a private institution.

It was an unpleasant experience that brought back memories of many late nights during my youth spent memorising model essays and mugging through 10-year-series books.

Rather than teach us applicable skills, the course instructor was focused solely on preparing us for the test at the end of day three.

She even produced model questions and answers, which we had to practise for 21/2 days.

She said that not passing with at least a 75 per cent mark would mean that the student is not entitled to subsidies and may even be penalised by his company.

The course handbook was not touched at all, and I did not find that I learnt anything useful in a meaningful manner. Some of my coursemates even dropped out.

I am now wary of attending other courses.

It is frustrating that, as an educated populace, we have yet to truly comprehend the value of learning and education per se.

Instead, the system thrives on, and cultivates, the culture of "kiasuism" and fear of failing.

This only propagates a fear of trying, and we will end up all the poorer for it.

I understand the need for tests to ensure that people do not game the subsidy system.

However, we need to treat adults as adults.

Instead of enforcing a certain pass rate, an attendance and participation rate should suffice, especially for voluntary training.

This way, students can learn in a relaxed manner and maybe even enjoy what they learn and do.

Our education system as a whole certainly needs considerable revamping.

Instead of lifelong mugging, we need to promote the lifelong love of learning.

Tan Shir Ee (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 03, 2017, with the headline 'YourLetters Adult education should promote love of learning'. Print Edition | Subscribe