Make schools more enticing for students

The Singapore education system has been a benchmark for many countries and has also produced excellent academic results (Singapore's good guide to learning; Sept 16).

However, the student population here seem to dread the education system. They are so pressurised to do well in schoolthat even parents get nervous during exams and pour money into tuition to ensure "success".

I believe we need to evolve our education system into one which will allow students to enjoy going to school.

One of my friends has migrated from Singapore to Australia. His children used to dread going to school in Singapore. However, they now look forward to going to their school in Australia every day.

What changed? What is the difference between the Singapore education system and the Australian system that makes going to school there fun?

Perhaps recess in Singapore schools can be longer so that students have more time to socialise and talk about things other than assignments and projects.

Perhaps learning can be gamified, just as gamification in the workplace is starting to catch on.

Perhaps awards should not be based on just one's intelligence quotient, but on his emotional quotient too.

I also see the Gifted Education Programme as heaping more pressure on students in an already pressurised environment. The students in the programme undergo fast-paced learning, but the educational content remains the same.

Why not let the students in the gifted programme complete their education early so that they can be ready for society earlier?

Could the PSLE be taken after five years by gifted pupils instead of six? Could the A-level examinations be taken after five years by students in the Integrated Programme instead of six?

Is being "gifted" related only to one's academic performance? Could potential Olympic champions be fast-tracked through the Singapore Sports School, for example? This could be important as the performance of sportsmen can start to fade from as early as 30 years.

We are all talented in some way, but our education system seems to focus on only academic results.

Let's make our schools more desirable places for our students.

Charlie Tan Keng Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2018, with the headline 'Make schools more enticing for students'. Print Edition | Subscribe