SINGAPORE - Straits Times journalist Sandra Davie on Friday (Dec 14) reassured parents that the focus will remain on students' abilities despite the various changes introduced by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in the past year.
Ms Davie was speaking to 180 people at a talk at the National Library on Friday. The video on the RINGS.TV app has been viewed 942 times.
She was referring to the MOE changes which included cutting down on school exams, removing class and school rankings from student report cards, changes to the direct school admission system as well as the aptitude-based admissions to post-secondary institutions and universities.
“Some parents complain that the only constant in education is change,” said Ms Davie.
But the changes MOE is making, Ms Davie said, are good.
Some of the MOE changes are aimed at encouraging schools, teachers, students and parents to move away from focusing too much on examinations and grades, and to help students to discover the joy of learning.
A centralised system to streamline the direct school admission (DSA) process, for instance, will let the system look at the innate ability of students, rather than awards.
"It is not a good thing to just aim for Integrated Programme schools," Ms Davie told the audience.
"Parents have their own fears that their children will lose out, with some tuition centres even teaching kids curriculum one year ahead to stay ahead of the cohort.
"But I don't think this is a healthy trend. Students should be given the room to develop their own skills, and abilities."
Ms Davie responded to questions from concerned parents on the changes to the DSA process, and how, going forward, student needs could be better addressed.
Ms Davie said that it was important to develop 21st century competencies and soft skills, and for students to be exposed to a wide variety of experiences to find out what they are interested in.
This, she said, was more important than the paper chase for grades and other academic achievements.
"We want people who are passionate in what they do," Ms Davie said. "For example, you don't want a doctor who isn't interested in medicine to be operating on you."
The talk was part of the askST @ NLB series, a collaboration between ST and the National Library Board.
The next talk will be held on Jan 25, on the top 10 travel experiences in 2019. It will be hosted by ST journalist Lee Siew Hua.