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Today’s Education - Singapore

Insightful Discussions and Updated Information on Singapore's Educational Trends

Flaws in our Singapore Education System (2 December 2009)

Singapore has always wanted to be a prominent education hub. The hardware (system, facilities, curriculum, etc.) is in place, but I think we are still far from our goal, as the software (dynamic, interactive education climate) is still under-developed.

I would attribute this undesirable factor to the culture at the Ministry of Education (MOE) where respect for authority is so great that practitioners generally do not dare to challenge any policy even if they do not agree with it. Another problem is that the ministry is mainly run by ‘admin people’ with high academic qualifications rather than by genuine, experienced educators.

‘Admin people’ are far less efficient, productive and forward-looking than true-blue educators. This is due to their inexperience in interpreting research data, their inability to put theory into practical use and their lack of dedication towards meeting students’ needs.

When I read the news that MOE has collaborated with Google Apps (Education version) to provide its more than 30,000 teachers with “powerful online communications and collaboration tools to enhance the teaching and learning environment in schools all across the nation”, I equate it to the setting up of an Online Research and Resource Centre (similar to, but definitely going to be much ‘bigger’ than what I am sharing here). This is good news though I find the ministry too slow in its actions.

Now that teachers are exposed to various effective teaching methods/pedagogies, my question to MOE is: Have you started to study and draft out more effective assessment modes or are you still clinging onto the ‘climb the ladder, step-by-step’ approach?

At the meantime, MOE should revise and improve the examiners’ skills and knowledge in setting exam questions.

Exam questions should be meaningful and closely related to real-life applications to be effective.