Match students with suitable schools

With the opening of many new technical institutes and specialised tertiary schools over the past few years, Singapore's educational landscape has seen drastic changes.

But instead of embracing this new surge of options, students and their parents are determined to stick to the conventional junior college or polytechnic routes. This is perhaps the biggest reason why Singapore's focus on grades is perceived to be unhealthy ("Don't bury talent under focus on grades" by Dr Patrick Liew Siow Gian; Jan 7).

Students need to carefully consider their strengths and weaknesses when they apply to schools.

Academic institutions such as junior colleges, though dominant in the educational scene, should not be the automatic school of choice.

These institutions also should not be seen as any better or worse than other schooling options.

That being said, grades and results still play an important role in assessing a student's ability.

Different methods are used to assess different talents. A poor grade should put enough stress on a student that he is driven to improve, but not so much that he feels lost and frustrated.

By calling for a more lenient approach, we may be quelling opportunities for our young to improve themselves. Worse still, it could lead to an overconfident generation that is not ready to accept the sometimes harsh realities that lie outside the schooling realm.

Today's students are blessed with a multitude of educational opportunities. Instead of focusing on grades, focus on choosing a course that best fits a student's strengths, and the good grades should come naturally.

Russell Tan Jin Loong, 19, full-time national serviceman

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Match students with suitable schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe