Solving the education dilemma by a farcical solution
What is the problem of education today anyway? Pressure, parents under pressure because children could not get to the best schools, not because children not doing well. Children also feel the pressure if they failed to get into the school their parents desired though they have done reasonably well. I think this is the real problem rather than the perceived problem of students not doing well. Those not doing well can be helped up to a certain extent. Those doing well need little help but would still be under severe pressure because they did not get to the schools they wanted.
Scrapping bandings, scrapping PSLE, do away with exam, lesser the work load etc are in some way superficial and could undermine the whole education system. What all parents and students want is to get into RI or one of the top schools. Get them there and all will be happy. But there is only one RI or a few top schools. And the task now is to make parents and children happy, to remove any social stigma of being in less desirable schools, the answer is to put all of them into good schools. And the solution is not so difficult. Really!
ACS has done it but many failed to see it. Establish many ACS schools, independent, international, non independent, afternoon session, etc etc. As long as the students are in ACS, problem solved. Everyone is happy.
The trick is thus very simple. All schools will henceforth be renamed to take on the top schools’ namesake. We can have RI Independent, RI Normal, RI Sports, RI Vocational, RI Wild Cards etc etc. A variation could be RI Bishan, RI East Coast, RI Jurong.... And the same formula can be duplicated for Hwa Chong, Victoria, SGS, Methodist, etc etc. There shall not be more than ten different school names and the subtle difference will be the courses the students are pursuing and their field of studies or interests.
In so doing, no need to scrap PSLE and examinations. 10 percent of the cohort will be RI, 10 percent Hwa Chong, 10 percent ACS, MGS, SGS, Victoria and so forth. No funny sounding neighbourhood school names that brings along a ‘yak’ when mentioned, or too embarrassing to even mention.
Now, would this not make everyone happy and less pressurized? Every top school will now have its top academic students, its top sporting talents, top artistic students, and the potential Bill Gates and Steve Jobs from the Wild Cards. And whatever the MOE is doing now can still continue with a little adaptation.
An ingenious education system can easily be created without the need for super talent’s input. The Ah Beng’s are our equivalent of Gates and Jobs in a way. Thinking out of the box for unusual solutions to unusual problems that no super talents can ever solve or think of is the forte of Ah Bengs. The problems facing MOE today are not genuine problems but perception and psychological problems that have no real solutions. Every new Education Minister will have to change something to give the impression that something is done. Imaginery problems must be solved in the realm of creative imaginations.
Thus, the solution cannot be real but appeasing to the unreasonable demands and expectations of fictitious problems in the minds of parents and students. And the standard and quality of the education system need not be compromised in anyway.