Don't judge job candidates by past failures

A paradigm shift in thinking is needed in our education system as highlighted by Mr Seah Yam Meng (Our learning culture needs a reset; Jan 2).

However, this shift must extend beyond the education system.

While the Ministry of Education has made an admirable effort to de-emphasise academic achievements, I was shocked to read that employers still asked an applicant with a university degree for his O-level and even PSLE certificates ('I flunked the IP': Integrated Programme dropout shares his story; Dec 30, 2018).

This suggests that employers still value a record of consistent academic achievement, which incentivises students to avoid risks, take well-trodden paths, and chase good grades at all costs.

My son goes to university in the United States and recently found a job there. Throughout the recruitment process, employers rarely asked for his university transcript, and he was not questioned about his Grade Point Average or record in high school.

Employers instead focused on experiences and skills that were relevant to the company.

I urge the Government to take the lead by asking candidates applying for positions in the civil service to only provide information about their highest qualification.

Candidates should not continue to be defined by failures in examinations long after the knowledge and skills tested have ceased to be relevant.

Dennis Chan Hoi Yim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2019, with the headline 'Don't judge job candidates by past failures'. Print Edition | Subscribe