when 8 As are not enough

I have read a reply in the Straits Times forum by Choo Lee See, Director of PSC Secretariat. She said that students vying for PSC scholarships should have 11 or more subjects (at presumably O levels). When 8 As are more than adequate, I thought it would be better for the bright students to spend their times exploring the stars or some other interests, maybe smelling the roses, instead of chasing for more As. These students, with a min of 8 As are already exceptional students and academically need not have to prove that they can do even better. What is lacking is probably the development in other areas, humanity and character building and other interests. Their extra time should be allowed to be spent in things other than more muggings. It will help to reduce more exam stress. And PSC could assess them better as a whole person.


LOST4EVER said...

Well said redbean.

However, its not only the Director who is looking for academic excellence, the parents are even worst.

My kids have this stories to share:
1. the top boy in class only does assessment and assessment after school.
2. the top girl does the same, and the parents were so happy about it, cause I saw that at prize giving day, but the kid is just a NERD.
3. the school had to scrap an enrichment program where students were engage in both sports & tuition, cause the parents were strongly against it.

Maybe again the government got to do something... maybe an incentive to let the kids play their heart out. But on the other hand, knowing the Singaporean mentality.. it will be another extreme.... sigh

redbean said...

when my son told me he was doing 10 subjects my jaws dropped.

now i understand why. they all had to. no choice. the system demands for it.

kwayteowman said...

You are passing judgment without understanding the facts. You have to look at the market rate lah. Grade inflation is terrible nowadays.

8 A's is sup sup sui for the top schools like RJC and HCJC. Without 10 subjects, there is no way to distinguish Peter from Paul.

Solution is to make exams harder and give out fewer A's all round, but such a move will have it's own political fallout. :-)

redbean said...

oh, i understand the system perfectly. my two kids went through them not too long ago.

the irony of it is that psc has acknowledged that academic excellence is not the only thing that they are looking at. there are more to a person than 8 As or 10 As.

it is time that it brings this over emphasis on grades in sync with the new thinking and reduces the workload on the children. let them have a life outside books.

kwayteowman said...


It's a free market. The Garmen is not holding a gun to people's head and asking them to take 10 subjects. PSC is simply making clear to the students that, in general, all the past scholars have taken 10 subjects.

Singaporean students can choose to take 8 subjects and not apply for the PSC scholarship. The KTM fails to understand why you said that the system "demands it".

It's always good to be transparent to avoid misunderstandings. :-)

redbean said...

hi ktm,

since you are unable to see it, then i shall join you and agree with you.

and for those who see what i see, i see them very clearly.

Anonymous said...

I agree with lost4ever. Got to do with the typical Singaporean parents - Kiashu type! I wonder when the mentality of these parents going to change?

Anonymous said...

At the end of day, ppl have to determine what thing they have done in life ??? U can't use grade to determine your own usefulness to society and definitely cannot use it o replace the emptiness when one really doesn't live his dream and passion if he constantly use grade to judge his own value and worth.

I see lot of useless ppl in society with top grade. They are smart, intelligent, High IQ. But in reality, these ppl are nothing because they are not living their dream, their lives they want. They pursuing what is probably "rat cycle".

redbean said...

hey hey, don't get me wrong. it is great to have been very successful and with tons of money to spend.

and i think it is a great life too. just don't be too hard on the cockroaches.