Children in Singapore more anxious about exams than Covid-19: Survey

Seven in 10 children surveyed feel negatively about upcoming school exams, while six in 10 feel positive about the Covid-19 situation in Singapore.

SINGAPORE - Children in Singapore are more anxious about examinations than they are about Covid-19, a survey has found.

Seven in 10 children feel negatively about upcoming school exams - "angry", "worried" or "sad" - with more than three in five feeling "worried".

In comparison, six in 10 feel positive - "calm", "secure" or "hopeful" - about the Covid-19 situation in Singapore, said local charity Focus on the Family Singapore, which conducted the online survey.

Over 1,050 schoolchildren here aged between 10 and 15 were surveyed, and the results were released on Friday (Sept 18).

Focus on the Family Singapore said the findings suggest that exams and grades are "of high importance" for the general population of students here.

"While it is natural that examinations cause some anxiety, high levels of worry can lead to test anxiety if left unchecked. This may in turn affect students' academic performance and lead to other forms of anxiety, depression or mental health issues," the charity said.

Parental support can mitigate the negative effects of test anxiety on students, it added.

Of the three in five children who are worried about the upcoming examinations, 38.1 per cent indicated that they do not receive consistent parental support.

The charity's chief executive, Ms Joanna Koh-Hoe, said: "It's probably no surprise that the survey results show that our children face tremendous pressure when it comes to their academic performance.

"They really need their parents to tune in to their emotional needs and not just cater to their practical daily needs."

More than seven in 10 children in the survey described themselves as close - rated 7 and above on a 10-point scale - to both their parents, with boys and girls differing in ways they felt most connected and loved by each parent.

Younger children, or those 10 to 12 years old, were also closer to their parents compared with those 13 to 15 years old.

Boys seemed to value their chats with both parents most of all, followed by quality time spent with their fathers through shared activities and outings. They also enjoyed deeper conversations with their mothers and the feeling of being listened to.

Girls seemed to prefer their fathers for shared activities and outings, and their mothers for physical and verbal affection.

The survey was conducted as part of an annual Children's Day campaign by Focus on the Family Singapore.

The campaign, called Race to Praise, is in its sixth edition and is part of efforts to address mental health issues among children in Singapore.

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