Ranked as the highest attaining educational system in the world, utilising practices which are aspired to by nations across the globe, Singapore is scrapping grading systems to focus on keeping students positive and resilient.
In an article on the BBC website, Dr Lim Lai Cheng from Singapore Management University explains that there is a push for character as well as qualifications.
The article notes how schools have become highly stratified and competitive. More advantaged families are better able to support their children with extra lessons outside of school, such as enrichment classes in mathematics, English, dance and music.
Those who can’t afford this have to depend on their children’s own motivation and the resources of the school to catch up.
Work is in progress to tackle anything in the system that seems to be working against social cohesion. Government policies are moving away from parents and students’ unhealthy obsession with grades and entry to top schools and want to put more emphasis on the importance of values.
Schools have been encouraged, especially for the early elementary years, to scrap standardised examinations and focus on the development of the whole child. Positive education, a movement that is gaining momentum across the world, works to create a school culture that supports caring, trusting relationships.
It is an approach that focuses on specific skills that assist students to build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
This approach has worked well with schools that are trying to implement the new syllabuses for character and citizenship education, launched in the last three years.
An important segment of the new curriculum, at the primary level is family time, and how parents should play an important role in inculcating the right values in their children.
At the secondary and high school levels, “values in action” programmes lie at the core of educating young Singaporeans to be empathetic, socially responsible and active citizens in their community.