The latest reform by the Ministry of Education (MOE) is a good initiative because a landmark survey by researchers in Harvard University found that academic examinations do not lead to the development of cognitive ability ('Learning is not a competition': No more 1st, 2nd or last in class for primary and secondary students; Sept 28).
In the new economy, the importance of cognitive ability, including critical thinking and the ability to execute plans, has become more pronounced, especially in determining personal and professional outcomes.
For example, self-regulation or the ability to decide, control and direct personal thoughts, emotions and actions can prevent a person from making misjudgments and committing wrongdoings.
On the work front, being productive is not just about the strength of one's long-term memory but whether he can cultivate new insights and, more importantly, be able to apply them in an effective and efficient way.
The ability to be creative and innovative is imperative for progress and success in a fast-changing world.
Standardising mindsets and skill sets through examination may not be able to help students develop this ability.
They may not have the life skills to become a responsible, effective and productive person who will survive the new world of disorder.
Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)