Forum: Yes, invest more money to reduce class sizes in schools

I applaud Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim's suggestion to put funds raised from the issuance of new government bonds towards reducing class sizes in schools (New bonds can also fund human capital investments: Jamus Lim, Feb 26).

As a mother of primary school pupils, I have seen first-hand how more individual attention can greatly improve learning. I often have to tutor my children just so that they can keep up with the material in school.

The average class size of at least 35 is really too big. This is why one-on-one tuition continues to flourish.

Teachers also now wear masks, which can muffle speech, and students have to listen more attentively. Teachers constantly have to shut the children up because they cannot afford to always give the children time to express themselves and hinder their teaching time. The outcome is a generation of workers who don't speak up enough.

Stop closing and merging schools, and look into having more smaller schools, as well as class sizes of, say, 20 to 25.

Also, hire more teaching assistants and allied educators to ease the burden on overworked teachers.

I would suggest ways to increase the number of teachers but the current class sizes may not entice them to apply for these jobs. We need a less structured approach and a more child-centred approach to primary education.

Perhaps we can start piloting smaller class sizes in the heartland where having tuition may be a privilege for many.

Singapore is lauded for having a world-class education system and for consistently topping education-based rankings. However, a large part of this is due to our billion-dollar tuition industry and the role of parents in supporting their children.

We need to stop outsourcing education, and we need to invest more money in our greatest natural resource - Singaporean children.

Dadina Wong Mee Ching

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