A Norwegian friend reading for her doctorate in Singapore had sent her two daughters to a neighborhood school and made the observation that all the material in the syllabus is not covered in school; teachers expect tutors to make up the shortfall. Back in Norway, her kids never had homework, everything is taught in class.
Then there are the teachers who come up with "tricky" questions that "would set the A* students apart from the A students." You can argue till the cow comes home about what happens when electric current passes through the tungsten element of a light bulb:
- Only light energy is produced;
- Light and heat energy is produced;
- Magnetic fields are induced by flowing electrons;
- Global warming results from the depletion of the ozone layer.
- Melting glaciers will sink the bloody island
It is now common for a straight A student in, say Chemistry, to still engage the services of a private tutor for Chemistry. Apparently in the premier schools that have garnered 85% of the scholarships, four distinctions is now blasé. The race is for the prestige of the scholarship award. Heck, they are even tutored to apply for the scholarships.
What about the key to the parents' mindset and belief that, according to Indranee Rajah, "having tuition will give their children that additional edge"? The situation is beyond remedial coaching for the academically weak, trying to master the three Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic. It's all about the mad, mad race for the scholarship nomination, and the escalator ride thence prepared by the PSc, the stairway to heaven that could even end up in a ministership.
Since the Ministry of Education will be the last to admit a major revamp of the system is in order, the people will have to come up with the proposals. For starters, why not make it a rule that scholarship aspirants will be disqualified if they have engaged services of a private tutor? That should send a the message to the kiasu parents, not to pile on unnecessary tuition onto their wards.
|setting A* students apart from the A students.|