The Ministry of Education (MOE) thinks that this move will de-emphasise the unhealthy competition for the top slots, which translates to top schools, top scholarships and top salary packages in the civil service grades. They will be sorely disappointed. Thanks to the advent of selfies - just named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries - expect a surge of internet traffic this Friday when lots of pics of the individual PSLE scores will be posted online with accompanied mugshot of grinning kids and/or their proud parent. Like the two jackass politicians cavorting in front of the camera at a serious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Within hours, the top scorer will be identified.
What MOE should have done is to have gone ahead with the original suggestion for providing the grade band instead of aggregate scores. Even if the teachers are too busy giving private tuition on the side, the banding could be easily computed with a simple Excel macro. Not exactly rocket science.
Abolition of the printed aggregate scores will have its side effects. The lucrative tuition centers, for one, can no longer boast of their students' astronomically high scores. Doting parents can no longer justify spending thousands for that extra aggregate point, and associated bragging rights. So was it all about alleviating stress levels for the kids? Even if they are spared the horrors of the PSLE gladiatorial wipe out, there's always the entrance requirements for the local universities to contend with. And there will always be the ubiquitous foreign students brought in at taxpayers expense to exacerbate the competitive element and dig spurs into the locals' hides. The only people who don't have to worry about competition are the public transport operators, thanks to the cozy collaboration with the Transport Minister.