Saturday, 24 August 2013

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat shifts education blame to parents

What this article is about -

This article takes a look at the Minister of Education’s advice to parents to have “mindset shift” towards education. Little does he realise that it is PAP’s policies that sets the tone of the mindset of parents today. Shouldn’t he address the ailment (ie PAP’s policies) instead of the symptoms (parents’ mindset) instead?

Heng advises parents without looking at the root of the problem -

Isn’t this so typical of PAP? When their past policies don’t work out well, and when it starts to affect citizens adversely to the point the feedback isn’t good, the PAPpies do what they do best – shift the blame back to the citizens. As always.

In the latest fiasco, we have the Education Minister who is apparently oblivious to the stress students and parents face. Heng tells parents to moderate their expectations. Never mind that it was past PAP policies that led to the high pressure mode in the education system, expecting the best out of students, that’s the cause of the high expectation among parents in the first place. What crap talking this minister now?

Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education. Tells parents to moderate expectations, but is totally oblivious to the fact that it is PAP’s policies that started the high pressure cooker system in the Ed system that is the cause of the stress and expectation in the first place. Don’t PAP ministers and MPs say the darnedest things?

The ‘shift the blame to parents’ report -

Here is the report from the Straits Times.
Parents’ mindset key to education change: Heng

THE shifts in education policy announce in last Sunday’s National Day Rally (NDR) must catalyse mindset changes among parents or they will have no impact, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said last night.
“If parents’ mindsets don’t change, whatever changes we make will not have any impact,” he said, rounding off a public forum on the Rally held by government feedback unit Reach.
About 180 people – ranging from grassroots leaders and unionists to business representatives and students – attended the forum at Rendezvous Grand Hotel.
Some of the 21 participants who spoke were sceptical about the effectiveness of proposed moves, such as replacing the T-score for Primary School Leaving Examination results with broader bands of grades.
Though Singaporeans are used to thinking about schools only in one dimension – grades – being a good school is about helping children develop in their areas of strength, which might be in arts or sports. Parents cannot expect all children to leave their schools with all As, he said – and if that is the measure, then not every school can be a “good school”.

Note the expectation of a “good school” tied to grades. So Mr Heng wants parents to moderate that and extend the definition of “good school” to go beyond good grades. Wait a minute here… wasn’t it because of MOE’s policies that caused parents and students to link good grades to good schools?

Didn’t MOE announce the top students of PSLE, O levels, A levels annually etc? Don’t we have top elite schools for top elite students? Don’t we have the situation where PAP keeps saying that the education system is one of meritocracy, then they put top grades as the Number One criteria that is measured to gain entry to top schools?

So when students and parents respond to all the above yardstick and benchmark, set up by none other than the PAPpy guys, this minister now says that we need to “shift mindset” of parents? Hellooooo? Shouldn’t it be the PAPpy guys who need to shift their policies to make it less stressful for students and parents in the first place, if they truly want to make it less stressful?

Real goal is the coveted Uni degree -

There are so many points that could be talked about in the education system that puts on the pressure for both students and parents. But let’s for the moment just talk about the final goal every student and parent would like to see – a uni degree. Isn’t that what the real chase is about?

There lies the problem. We have had PM saying that we can’t afford too many grads, lest we end up with unemployed grads in the streets. Funny thing that doesn’t jive with the govt’s idea that we need “foreign talents”, such that we accept them in droves due to labour shortage. I mentioned that ridiculous contradictory argument over here – PM Lee, if we need to control varsity intake to prevent jobless grads, why then the liberal immigration policy?
So fine, PM wants to limit the varsity intake. Never mind that they have allowed many foreigners into uni placements, depriving our own citizens. Funny he expects us to believe there would be “many unemployed grads” then.

Trickle down effect of restricting varsity places -

Now comes the rat race. To get into the limited varsity places, you need to be in the top JCs because it is shown that most of the unis in Singapore accept top students. By statistics, it is shown you stand a better entering university if you are from top JCs.

The trickle down effect goes further. To stand a better chance to be in top JC, you need to be in top Secondary Schools. Better still if you get into the through train IP schools.

The trickle down effect does not stop there. To be in top Secondary Schools, you will stand a better chance if you are in top Primary Schools. Again, the stats prove that. That about explains the mad, mad rush by parents to get their children into top Primary Schools. That’s because the chances of getting into top Secondary Schools will be higher. Which will mean that the chances of getting into top JC will be higher. Which will mean that the chances of entering uni will be higher.

Isn’t all this because of that one silly PAPpy policy, that is to DELIBERATELY restrict the number of varsity positions for locals?

I don’t buy the argument that we would have to end up with jobless grads in the streets. If that is the case, the govt would not liberally take in so many immigrants to “fill up the shortage” as what the PAPpy always claim. So what now, Mr Minister for Ed?
High MOE standards only top 5% can achieve -

Let us take a look at the ridiculous gargantuan task a Sinkie student has to go through in order to get that coveted place in the uni. You must be:

1. Be effectively bilingual in both written and oral skills. This is a MUST. Fail your Mother Tongue, and you can kiss your uni dreams goodbye.
2. Be good in your academic subjects.
3. Be able to take contrasting subjects. That means, you must be good in the hard sciences and the softer humanities subjects.
4. It would be good if you have CCA to support your wonderful academic results. Especially sports.

Now how many students can achieve all the above? Many a time, we have students who are good in all subjects except Mother Tongue. Or maybe a student is good in the hard sciences but weak in humanities. Or the reverse. Or perhaps weak in CCA. Too bad because somehow if you are weak in one area, your chances of a uni place is adversely affected.

But the bar is lowered for foreign students! -

The most ridiculous part of this high standard set by MOE, which only about 5% of the top achievers can attain, is that when it comes to foreign students, the PAPpy govt is so relaxed on them. Many can’t even write or communicate in English well enough to be in an English stream uni in the first place. Many of them also struggle in JCs and secondary schools. But not to worry, mad PAP, who have set a gargantuan task for local students are so quick to help these students with tuition funded by tax payers’ money!

Say…. why must such a high order be expected from locals, yet the bar is set so low for foreigners, and that too, the foreigners are given funds from tax paying citizens? What is this nonsense which PAP claims we can’t afford to have too many grads lest we end up with jobless grads, but at the same ridiculous time, PAP is so liberal in accepting immigrants, on top of funding their children’s education right up to uni?

Quick wrap up and conclusion -

Mr Heng advises parents to have a “mind shift”, whatever that means. He expects parents and students to moderate their expectations. He expects them to emphasize less on academic results. But little does he realise that it is the current education system that stresses so much on academic results.

At the same time, while a huge humongous task is set as a benchmark for local students to gain entry into unis, the bar is set so low for foreigners it makes a mockery out of our education system the govt is so proud of.

In the end, what Mr Heng is asking is that you should not think too hard about going to the uni. Perhaps he is hinting that the uni places are meant for foreigners and not for locals.


Source: Barrie


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