Our learning culture needs a reset

It is alarming to learn that our education system has given rise to students who feel "ashamed" when they fail the Integrated Programme and that some even chose to go overseas to escape the stigma of failure (The shame of dropping out of the Integrated Programme; Dec 30, 2018).

It is equally disconcerting to read that a student could resort to sabotaging another team's project work just to stay ahead.

What values are we imparting to these students who are supposed to be the creme de la creme?

These are students who may become the leaders of tomorrow.

The education system here has been labelled a sterling success and ranked internationally as among the best in the world but, to students, it has degenerated into a nightmarish realm of competitive back-stabbing; a high-pressure environment where success is feted and failure makes one doomed for life.

It is clear that the system has deviated from its purported path of helping students to enjoy their learning journey. This does not augur well for a system that is tasked to produce students who are innovative and creative.

It leads to the question: How do we spawn the next Albert Einstein, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg when students do not even embrace the importance of failure?

Education should be a holistic, positive experience that prepares students well before they step into adult life. When a system produces students who are ashamed of failure or who feel stigmatised by the result, it has failed.

It requires nothing less than a paradigm shift in thinking to reset our learning culture and make our education system wholesome again.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2019, with the headline 'Our learning culture needs a reset'. Print Edition | Subscribe