Critical thinking, creativity - not just for pupils but MOE too

Above: Tampines Secondary School has attained niche status in creative expression, including performing and visual arts, and there are spaces in the school for students to showcase their skills, including in the canteen.
Tampines Secondary School has attained niche status in creative expression, including performing and visual arts, and there are spaces in the school for students to showcase their skills, including in the canteen.PHOTO: ST FILE
Above: Seng Kang Primary School has performing arts as its niche programme and has a stage in every classroom as a teaching aid. Left: Mr Wong Siew Hoong, director-general of education at the Ministry of Education), says part of its work is finding i
Mr Wong Siew Hoong, director-general of education at the Ministry of Education), says part of its work is finding inspiration from other countries' experiences and learning what not to do.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Above: Seng Kang Primary School has performing arts as its niche programme and has a stage in every classroom as a teaching aid. Left: Mr Wong Siew Hoong, director-general of education at the Ministry of Education), says part of its work is finding i
Seng Kang Primary School has performing arts as its niche programme and has a stage in every classroom as a teaching aid.PHOTO: ST FILE

The aim was to give children space to grow, encourage more independent thinking and reduce memory work. But that did not happen.

When Japan cut classroom hours and introduced more flexible learning from the 1980s, under a policy which it called the Yutori - which means "relax" - students' scores dropped and parents sent them to cram schools.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 07, 2018, with the headline 'Critical thinking, creativity - not just for pupils but MOE too'. Print Edition | Subscribe