Review education system in light of economic realities

Mr Ng Qi Siang noted that there are differences between primary and secondary school curricula, such as primary school maths being drastically different from secondary school maths, and the need to study humanities in secondary school ("PSLE not reliable predictor of secondary school success"; Tuesday).

But why would the differences render the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) score an unreliable predictor of secondary school success?

The two most important factors for success - whether in the PSLE or in secondary school - are a student's ability and his willingness to work hard.

Therefore, if a student has done well in the PSLE, he will likely go on to do so in secondary school.

It would be ideal if the Ministry of Education could publish data on the correlation between PSLE T-scores and success in secondary school. I am sure the public also wishes to know if the PSLE is indeed a good predictor of success in secondary school.

There was also concern about stress faced by students.

While stress to the point of distress is bad, we should realise that stress is actually good for developing one's character in this competitive world.

Singaporeans have no choice but to compete against other people in the world. There are hungrier people out there trying to "eat our lunch" ("Keeping Singapore ahead of the competition"; May 3, 2013).

Surely, we are not going to bring up a generation of Singaporeans who are unable to handle stress, unable to work hard and unable to compete against others.

We must remember that no one owes us a living.

Any review of our education system should be balanced by some sense of reality.

Tan Peng Boon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'Review education system in light of economic realities'. Print Edition | Subscribe