Forum: Guard against education widening social divide

Recently, the Chinese government imposed tough curbs on the private education industry to prevent expensive tuition from creating an unfair playing field. It is also trying to reform its education system to reduce the stress which students face.

These concerns should prompt us to reflect on the situation here.

While Singapore has done commendably in creating a racially harmonious society, one problem which I think is emerging is stratification by education level.

We need to guard against ending up in a situation where one's education level and the prestige of one's alma mater become measures of societal value.

Perhaps we should look to countries which have implemented a more equitable system of education, such as Finland, where there is no hierarchy of schools and students are allocated to secondary and pre-tertiary institutions of learning based on geographical proximity (though we might need extra balancing due to the geographical distributions of richer and less well-to-do neighbourhoods in Singapore).

Ian Tay Rongde

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