Serious, our education is one of the best

I am saying this with all sincerity and seriousness. If one is to look carefully at our education system, it is a very comprehensive system, like a buffet spread to cater for all abilities of students. It is not perfect for sure and can make do with some tweaking and fine tuning. Fine tuning here is used quite appropriately as that is all it needs. Unlike housing when it is totally unaffordable to many and no matter how often and loud one shouts the word affordable, no one believes this crap anymore. The person who is still shouting affordable will end up shouting in the wilderness and totally ignore by the consumers, or at best a lunatic.

Back to the education system. Sin City did not get the recognition as an education hub for nothing. And this reputation is achieved through the good public education system, definitely not because of the private schools. What is disappointing arising from all the hooha is the caving in of the MOE and to think that the system is really flawed when under attack by the parents. The main problem today is unreasonable and illogical expectations of parents of their children and the education system. The outrageous demands of parents, and to a certain extent the super talents, to want a child to be everything, to be good in everything is laughable. No child can be good in everything. Very likely every child can be good in something but no education system can be a straight jacket production line to deliver super intelligent robots out of little children.

The other point that is very subjective is the high expectation and demands made on a 12 year old. I personally think it is too young an age to separate the diamonds from the chaff. This issue could be thoroughly reviewed and better to be delayed by a few more years when a child is more mature mentally and emotionally to face the tough reality of what they are gifted at and what educational route they should embark on. Each will have to find his/her own path to success in life.

The Minister of Education should stand up tall and tell the parents not to make outrageous demands on the system. The current system must not be thrashed around for all the wrong reasons. Some tweaking is necessary as in all systems to keep up with the time and changes and to improve on what was found unsuitable with hindsight. This is a time for a minister to stand his ground and not to wobble at the knees. The education system is on solid ground compares to the failed policy in housing but being stoically and stubbornly defended for all the wrong reasons.


Anonymous said...

Good article again. keep it up my dear Red beans. I agree with you but there is still room for improvement like the Straits Times wrote an article on the education of Finland few weeks ago.Maybe we can learn something from them and fine tune it.

dotseng said...

I respectfully disagree with this essay. As I believe streaming has been responsible for creating a pressure cooker study environment for our kids. Neither do I believe the education minister when he says all schools r good schools. My position is closer to what Tan Jee Say had to say bat our lamentable education system.

As for blaming parents, that is simply illogical Chin Leng. As they did not create a system that requires tuition along with cramming - tell me something Chin Leng, do you see parents in Finland having to send their kids for perpetual tuition to learn things that they should have been taught in schools.

And if you cannot see the dissonance here. I am currently in the field now. When I get back I will proceed to demolish the education ministers position point by point.

Good day Chin Leng.

Darkness 2012

Anonymous said...

I also respectfully disagree that the education here is like a buffet spread to cater for all abilities of students. It is more of force-feeding. Food of different quality is force-fed to students in different streams.

Actually it is worse. Schools exist to check whether students have been force-fed by private tutors, who are fast beginning to be part of the formal education system.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

I may be a bit behind time. Both my children did not go for tuition throughout their years in school. I only helped out a couple of years with one when the maths score was getting critical. After that it was auto pilot, on their own steam, at their own time and to accept whatever the outcome.

The kids that really need tuition are those whose parents are unable to assist in anyway and when they could not cope. These are in the lower income group when parents would also be struggling to assist them or unable to do so.

In many cases the tuition system becomes a crutch and a psychological need that may not be needed at all. But if parents insist on tuition because the kids are getting 80 and not 100 marks or trying to do better in H3 papers, that is something that is beyond me.

My view on streaming is that it is necessary to place the right peg into the right hole. But I also think that doing it at 12 years old is a bit too early. And even at 14, it will not work for some as not every child develops at the same pace. Some are just late starters.

We have a working system and what is needed is to fine tune it, make it a bit more flexible, not to condemn a child because of one examination be it PSLE, O level or A level.

Unfortunately no one system can cope with the complexities of the thousands of children growing up differently.

No perfect answer or system.

Matilah_Singapura said...

What an arse you are redbean. If you seriously believe that an "education" starts and ends in a school which is part of a centrally-managed system, then I'm afraid you've swallowed some pill that is causing you to hallucinate.

Go to any 1st world western cuntree, and visit their TOP PRIVATE schools (aka "public" schools in the UK), and then compare your learn-by-rote-jam-the-brain public "education" (??WTF??) system in Singapore.

Public "education" is bullshit. All it does is award worthless certificates of "completion" and produces "educated" fools.

Anonymous said...

Suddenly Mr Bean had became very contradicting to his earlier Articles about the local education system.
It is about turn, a Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon.
He now wants to have the elite made known that these are the creams and must be recognized as such.
Funny and many do say so.

Anonymous said...

Suddenly Mr Bean finds namesake and recognition are important and should be made known for the world to admire.
Envy, vicious developments stemming from worships of achievement and fame no more problem with him.

patriot said...

Intelligence is innate in beings.

Formal education is just a mean for man to express his/her knowledge and to have that measured and formally recognized by certification in school and other institutions.

Education does add knowledge to beings. Me am not sure it adds intelligence. Got to learn from people of sciences and Matilah Singapura probably can come to my rescue.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Matilah, you having bipolar itch?

When did I say education ends in school? Where did you come from? And what is this education is bullshit? You got better idea?

Not going to waste too much time answering your incoherent outburst. You need help, really.

Anon 1:57, the education system is not totally good or bad. The victims today are the children and the culprits are the adults. Give them any system and they will be unhappy as long as their children did not get the straight As and go to the top schools.

Recognition is good and also bad, just like your strength is also your weakness. The authorities must have the wisdom to sieve out the noise from the real stuff and make a wise decision on the direction to go forward. They are paid millions to do a job, not to dilly dally with the masses. They did well, they get the credit, screw up, get the shit. The worst is not knowing what to do and ask for natcon.

I am not pedagogic expert. I am sharing my views as a layman: )

Anonymous said...

RB, this MS is really sick. Yes, leave him to his own delusionary monologue.

Anonymous said...

The Singapore elites will structure the education game in their favour.
So you can bet your kids will need private tuition to match the achievement of the elite kids.

Anonymous said...

Give everyone a break, let everyone finish high school normally. No good to label kids and no good to give scholarships to foreigners.

Matilah_Singapura said...


>> Intelligence is innate in beings.

Depends what you mean by "intelligence".

If by "intelligence" you mean the ability to evaluate objectively in order to make proper choice, then the sad answer is "NO", intelligence is not innate.

We are hard wired with certain REFLEXES, but the ability to think in a way that makes a difference to our lives and aids survival...that is mostly learned, integrated, modified...etc as an on-going process.

redbean: yes I have an idea: private education, not public. FUCK THE GOVERNMENT.

Anonymous said...

Matilah, why blame the government and fuck the government ? Fuck u better lar knn

Anonymous said...

Red bean, even in top IP JC u need tuition as the school said too many students they can't help your child. I am not talking about scoring 70 or 80 I am talking about 40 to 50 and they can not help you. So if you can afford better look for tuition. It is very frustrated that u give your child to them for 6 years and they said they can't really help you.

patriot said...


Seriously, I think one needs intelligence not only to understand and conceptualize.
One must have the intelligence to learn, otherwise it will be very much like me, failed time and again to comprehend the greatness of much of your wisdoms.

Similarly, when sinkies said how great LKY is, i never understand, probably, i am born without the intelligence to appreciate the fine things in living.

Do pardon me.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

From my personal experience and can be biased or too narrow a view. My son was in a top JC and never need a single day of tuition. I know many kids of friends in top JCs and they too did extremely well without tuition.

I believe in letting a child grow at his own pace. I know of this child that was slightly better than the average but nothing outstanding. He is on the Dean's list and on the way to be the top student. He blossoms later than others. No tuition.

The problem with tuition is that you can only spoonfeed a child so much at the lower level. This is like feeding them with all the information to get into gifted programme or very good grades at PSLE. This injection of steroid will lose its effectiveness in the secondary level and almost minimal at A level and tertiary education. By then, the child will have to find his own way through his own intellect. No amount of tuition can help him.

Tuition can help at the lower level and give a false impression of excellence, like a child without the forced feeding will have lesser to offer in the gifted programme screening than one who had. But down the road, the child who is better will still outdo the one who are in the gifted programme.

Anonymous said...

Red bean, I somewhat agree but not totally. My elder kid got straight A without tuition beating many of the gifted students at IP school for A level. But second kid in same school not doing so well. After reframing the tuition route I finally decided that tuition is the only way when school tell u they can not help you. So it's either do nothing and forget about going to uni or do something and stand a chance.

If believing that do the same thing and expect a different outcome then u are just kidding yourself. I only wish that I started the kid on tuition at the start of jc1 rather than Q3 of jc 1 as I was still believing the school can help then.

patriot said...

Coming from uneducated ancestors, me never bother about studies, my dad left me to my fate. My mother on the other hand, was talking to me liked Lee Kuan Yew to the People. My Mother meant well and still much the same at 97 year old. Me would gauge my Mum as a highly intelligent person and my Dad was a wise one and my role model. He led the simplest of life and was never making enough to get his family anything more than the essential. He was always at peace and never asked for or wanted anything from his children except that we were healthy and well behaved.
When he died at 86 year old, he left 17Ks for his own funeral expenses, one hat, one bamboo umbrella, few pants and shirts he was using and one pair of unused China made leather shoes.

My only elder brother is presently equiped much liked my dad and staying in a hdb rental flat. He is similarly happy and at peace liked his father. He has four graduate children.

The three of us, my dad, elder brother and me were/are very heavy smokers and my dad and me drunk/drinks very concentrated tea, coffee and liquors.

Liked my father, me never bother my children/grand children about their studies.
My two daughters geaduated with one at Master Level. The Elders behaves much like her father and grandad. The Second is slightly more materialistic with yuppy colours. Me as told that that is a trademark of graduate from NUS. I quite agree.

Back to me, dropped out at Secondary Level, me worked as construction labourer, lorry driver, aux constable, salesperson, cleaner and delivery etc. Like my dad, there is hardly extra to splurge. However, with my spouse, we do equiped the successors above average.

From my father to my brother and eldest daughter, health, peace and contentment are priorities over qualification(Studies). And l do not see them as failures, in fact I do not even feel that they are less intelligent than other average people.

So, me does not see the need for all the angst about education. The constant tweakings were unneccessary. The System that produces the most happy students shoukd be the System to work for.


Matilah_Singapura said...


I agree.

But those skills in thinking are NOT INNATE. They are learned, and developed.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Patriot and anon 10:15, no one will ever agree on a particular education system. This exercise is a wild goose chase like looking for the elixir of life.

What the govt can do, to please everyone, is to have a variety of choices for the different kinds of parents and their expectations.

Choice is the answer. Trying to please everyone with one system is a foolish pursuit, a start on the wrong foot.

patriot said...

We learn about whatever that are already in existence. And this is tough for most as there are too much to keep them in our memory bank, the Brain.

Intelligence helps to understand concepts and create new ones on top of solving problems existing along with known data. It is way beyond just learning or hold something in memory.