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Leaders, future and the running education. November 23, 2014

Posted by @Karen_Fu in Character, education, Leadership, Singapore.
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Reading this article, ‘Accident, financial woes only make two PSLE students stronger’, I can’t help but to think of the many sprouting troubles that are stemming out from the current education system- or rather the new education environment. The type that seems to groom an unhealthy mindset about intellectual capacity and academic abilities. The truth is education should bring up fine characters who has genuine empathy, real curiosity for knowledge and all these should come with humanity values and a very tough character. The kind that is devoid of jealousy, unhealthy competition, egoism and the most dreaded hierarchy that determines who is better than who and all the sort of rubbish. The kind that knows how to suffer and to fight and win from the wrong to the right path of humanity.

The students in the above mentioned article are exactly the type of students the country should be grooming, not the ones who are already come from prestigious and well off family backgrounds. Students who go through these hardship and survived are the real talents we ought to keep. 

Many, if not most, students do not know what is hardship and life woes. Students these days seem to have formed hierarchy within themselves. The ranking of gifteds, special, express, and normal class students are strongly embedded in the system, where the better streamed students tend to think very well of themselves to the point of egoism and downright snobbishness on people whom they think are less intellectual.

The rampant hurry to stuff students all the advanced information for national examinations like the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations) or the Cambridge ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels examination are common. The wealthier families send kids to top schools and take them to various niche classes in the private sector, spending thousands of dollars on just subject of learning. In my opinion, these are unnecessary. Then again, perhaps in a rat race here in Singapore, maybe these are a must. If they were a must, then the education style in public schools must have been inadequate in some ways.  Why else would parents want to pay and send kids for more tonnes of homework when the public school load is already heavy? One reason could just be the desire to scramble after the prestigious scholarships and the kind of prestige that holds for the kids if they manage to get into top schools here. But then again, have the parents understood what is education and how intellectual development is different from student to student? Everyone’s got their individual strengths, why force them into one standard mould?

Education is about learning how to think and master skills that are innovative as it is informative in a healthy way, that does not harbour jealousy or any other ill hatred mindset. But I always question myself if the current learning culture in public schools and beyond school premises are exactly healthy. If school education standards were even, then why are there so many students like to compete with one another on the schools they go to and how prestigious the schools are?

The current atmosphere appears to favour the well off and the economically advantaged families who are able to afford thousands of dollars to groom their kids that set them ahead in school. Then question is, how come public schools are not adequate to provide these knowledge and abilities? Why are students heading to private schools to get all that? It used to be that school teachers were enough, and tuition was reserved for those who had a real problem of assimilating what they had been taught in public schools. Now this is not the case. Even Gifteds go private tuition, and they go to heaps of different classes. Small surprise they are over stressed and PSLE spells horror and hell to most students here. A 12-year-old should enjoy their childhood as they learn in an enriched academic environment.

The less advantaged ones usually end up behind these kids who can afford the lessons beyond the public classroom. But to tell the truth, I think these kids are the real ‘Gifteds’ as they are able to find solutions on their own. And by doing so, they see different ways of doing up the answers, which is exactly what education should be about when it comes to discovering knowledge.

Most students, typically those who come from advantaged families usually fail to genuinely sympathise with the poor and the disadvantaged. To some, being poor means one hasn’t work hard enough. Though that is partially true, they usually fail to see that some people may not be fortunate to a smooth sailing life and thus have setbacks that are beyond their control. Such as the examples given in the above article, where one student had a poor financial background and the other who met up with a serious accident.

We need future leaders who are not only intelligent and wise, but to be able to know life’s hardship of different kinds and be able to use their knowledge to offer solutions. We do not need leaders who are short of genuine empathy, and even stratify people into different social classes to despise them. I have the most unfortunate luck to come across a couple of such kids who have given me a really bad impression on both themselves and their parents. It set me thinking and I know if we dwell on these people, we will eventually fail as a society. We need to use public money to help disadvantaged students whose financial background are inferior. We do not need to give scholarships that contain thousands to those who are already well off. We need students who are original, not parroting  from many private classes they have gone to. That’s not going to make innovative minds that can think originally. And for all the discriminating rubbish, we may well finish our hard founded prosperity and peace sooner than we think. All in one go, @karen_fu

Beware of Greeks Bearing Standardized Tests! November 27, 2013

Posted by @Karen_Fu in education, Quick thoughts.
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No one’s exactly the same. Different people have different strengths and their individual ways of learning. The cultural differences should be taken into consideration. To produce a common mould is always wrong but systems, not only educational ones, tend to make do with one. Makes you wonder the many reasons why such ideas exist. – Karen Fu

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006thBeware of Greeks Bearing Standardized Tests

Foundations, charities but mainly for-profit groups claim to have all the answers to “fix” education in the United States. Their principal tool is the standardized test, and not just any standardized tests, the ones they have created. It’s funny they always talk about accountability but what harm does it do to millions of students to be rated by tests that make little sense and measure only a small part of the results we expect our schools to produce?

As as society, it should be a matter of some concern that tax free foundations are the weapons of choice in the battle to replace public education with a neo-liberal set up where you get what you pay for. Essentially, the taxpayers are substituting anti-democratic initiatives across the country.

It’s bizarre that the United States is one of the pioneers in creating public schools is the…

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January 8, 2013

Posted by @Karen_Fu in education, human quality, Singapore.
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I don’t know how to react to this because from the grounds today, we have scholars who breech contracts, teachers and principals who do hideous things. So character in this perspective is doubtful. As for scholarship, there is a trend that poor kids do get disadvantaged. Not so much that they are marginalized by the education system on its own, but other factors like the ability to hire the best tutors and tuition to get ahead in class. It really makes you wonder how teaching is done in schools. But without seeing it myself, I can’t say it for sure. Then again, based on the way students coming home for more private learning, one has to doubt. It used to be that all students, rich or poor, are based on this merit system though the problem then was it wasn’t exactly a great environment to nurture the very talented and the gifted. Today, if you were to look at prestigious places of learning, there is a far higher proportion of kids from very well off families. Those who are scooted in cars, sometimes driven by their private chauffeurs. This is, in great contrast, a main difference of what it used to be – if you were studious and very smart, you relied only on what school resources gave you. Everyone had the same resources and teachers were very dedicated though the pay then was much lower than today. As long as you worked hard, and as long as you are typically bright, top schools are at your step regardless of social status. Even when you can only afford old china made canvas shoes with old socks that probably had a tiny hole or two.


MERITOCRACY in Singapore is about more than just academic grades, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as he stressed that everyone here has a shot at success.

“When we say ‘merit’, we are not just talking about grades or scores, but also character, leadership and a broad range of talents,” said Lee said in a speech to more than 1,500 students and their parents at a bursary and Edusave award ceremony in his Teck Ghee ward.

He said: “We make sure that whatever your family background, whatever your circumstances, you may be poor, you may be from a single-parent family, you may be having some learning disabilities, but if you work hard, you can succeed.

“It does not matter what your background is. We make sure we identify you, we give you the opportunities and also the resources and the support so that if you succeed, you can do…

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