Every child's effort should be celebrated

Opinion editor Chua Mui Hoong's commentary ("Top PSLE scorers, take a bow"; last Sunday) showcases how our society's obsession with academic grades might take a few more generations to abate.

The Ministry of Education's decision in 2012 not to publicise Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) top scorers is a laudable one. The decision is not a downplaying of academic achievement, nor a failure to celebrate in any way.

What the decision signals to society, educators, children and parents alike is that every child's effort and improvement ought to be celebrated.

The child who tops the exam ought to be celebrated as well, but that mere fact without more does not warrant special focus.

The decision not to publicise top scorers is a recognition that the PSLE is not the Olympics, an analogy that Ms Chua drew.

The PSLE features compulsory subjects where every child, whether academically or less academically inclined to begin with, has to undertake under the prevailing national education policy.

Darius Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 13, 2015, with the headline 'Every child's effort should be celebrated'. Print Edition | Subscribe