The Ministry of Education (MOE) wanted to place a lesser burden on students by downplaying the role of exams in schools. However, this idea does not sit well with "kiasu" parents and tuition centres are filling the gap by giving pupils mock exams that test their understanding of fundamental topics in the early stages of primary school.
The fact is that the tuition industry profits on fear mongering and removing exams is making them look more attractive than ever for parents who wish to ensure their children have a strong foundation in their subjects.
Instead of removing the exams, MOE could choose to grade exams but not include them in the report book, giving parents peace of mind while achieving what exams are supposed to do in the first place - test the students' grasp of the subjects in the syllabus.
Conditioning children to accept their weaknesses prepares them for the future. Removing exams lets children live in blissful ignorance, desensitising them to potential failure and blindsiding them by presenting all of their weaknesses at once after three years, which may be hard to swallow at just nine years old.
Teo Chen Wei, 17
Junior College 1 student