Voices Of Youth

Removing exams not the way to go

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I oppose the Ministry of Education's (MOE) new policy to reduce the number of examinations.

My concern is about my friends who come from less-economically privileged backgrounds. Reducing the focus on academic performance can perpetuate the poverty trap.

For the poor, excelling in examinations is easier than excelling in subjects that are outside of the curriculum.

The equipment and lessons to develop niche talents are far more expensive than those needed for mainstream academic pursuits.

Many teachers stay back to revise concepts and help students who find tuition unaffordable. There are also affirmative action policies to help poor students in their studies.

However, as the MOE's focus shifts from academic subjects to niche talents, we may see many students being abandoned.

With fewer opportunities for the poor, the gap between them and the upper classes will widen.

Instead of reducing the focus on exams, the MOE should aim to level the playing field by making it easier for poor students to get help from their teachers, by expanding access to low-cost or subsidised tuition and by enriching our school libraries.

Darrius Tan Wei Liang, 14

Secondary 2 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'Removing exams not the way to go'. Print Edition | Subscribe