atans1

Where a 55 hr working week is the norm

In Uncategorized on 17/06/2014 at 4:55 am

It’s the school hols and on TRE recently, I came across a SDP piece complaining about our education system. As usual with such pieces, it puts all the blame on the PAP govt, as though parents’ expectations are divorced from govt education policy.

There are two things that are not widely talked about about the education system both by the govt and its critics

One is class size. I was shocked, last yr, to find out that in govt schools, secondary and primary, the average class size is 40, the same when I went to school in the 60s and 70s. In independent schools, the class size is about 25. So how can education help help level up the poor, PM? Oh I juz read on FB that there are now primary schools with 30 students in Pr 1.

Neighbourhood schools should have more teachers. But then that goes against the Hard Truth of meritocracy: yr merit in exams entitles the student to smaller class sizes (and better teachers). Meritocracy has its privileges..

And the hours teachers “work” are longer than the hrs S’poreans normally work even taking into account the school hols. . Recently I read this on the BBC: For secondary head teachers, it stretches to an average of 63.3 hours per week – the longest of any of the teaching jobs. Primary classroom teachers worked longer hours – 59.3 hours – than their secondary school counterparts, who worked for 55.7 hours per week. The hours in a secondary academy were slightly less, at 55.2 hours.

I sent the link to a friend whose wife teaches in a neighbourhood primary school. He wrote:”59.3 hrs/week actually seems low, since she’s in school 7am-6pm and then also does work on weekends [during] term-time — it’s much more relaxed during holidays (only 2 weeks guaranteed off in June and ~3 weeks in December).

So she works 55 hrs a week (Mon to Fri) albeit with 30 days holidays. But this still works out to over 50 hrs a week after taking into account the 30 days off and the time when they don’t teach but have to go to work during the school hols.

Taz almost like the hours research analysts worked when I was in broking. They were well paid but one analyst complained that it was “blood” money, given the hours. And teachers don’t get paid as much.

And teaching isn’t exactly an enjoyable job: the author of The Lord of the Rings (a personal fav) wrote: “All teaching is exhausting, and depressing and one is seldom comforted by knowing when one has had some effect. I wish I could now tell some of mine (of long ago) how I remember them and things they said, though I was (only, as it appeared) looking out of the window or giggling at my neighbour”.http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/12/jrr-tolkien-teaching-exhausting-depressing-unseen-letter-lord-rings)

I’m sure if our teachers were FTs, Constance Singham, Kirsten Han, William Wan and other FT lovers would be protesting at the long, hard, inhuman hours FT teachers work. but as our teachers are in the main true-blue S’poreans, these FT lovers remain silent.

Coming back to the SDP article, there were the usual anti-PAP rants, but a TRE reader responded as follows

Proven Perfection:
June 2, 2014 at 1:00 am (Quote)
Which model do we wish to copy when the whole world is descending here to learn of our education system?
We tops the world education ranking yr after yr
From maths to science.
From pr to university.
The high number of foreign students here speak volume.
Even our mediocre students who fail to gain entry into our local unis studying abroad come up tops there.
Our Maths textbooks are sought after in many developed countries!
Nothing venture nothing gain.
In any competitive system there is bound to be some attrition.
Check out the Far East.
From S Korea to China to Japan.
Its worse!
The suicide rate is simply atrocious.
No choice in a truly meritocratic system meant for selecting the best & allowing people’s highest potential to surface.
Remember Spore is where it us today because of our human resource NOT mineral resource.
Tempering with it like our neighbour will spell doom.
The flaw in any subjective exam or project work is its reliability & accuracy or credibility.
We arent dealing with 1 candidate and a Sherlock Holmes assigned. It could be plagiarized work.
The tutors’. The teachers’ (because of ranking) The parents’ or siblings’. Copied.
Strict or lenient assessment or appraisal however beautiful the rubrics.
The solution. Stick to the pen & paper as its dominant plus a variety of other subjective assessments.
Our 1st world status is a product of pen & paper leaders like LKY, LHL, etc. Double First at Cambridge.
Dont take risk and reinvent radically when the system pays.
Look at how rotten the whole world is today and youll be thankful for our educational system.

No amount of criticism (reasonable and unreasonable) can disguise the fact that we got a great system: for a significant minority of students. The issue is catering for the others, and or their pushy parents.

Even FTs are trying out our system. Here’s a link to a story about FTs sending their kids to local schools: http://features.insing.com/feature/foreign-students-take-on-too-tough-singapore-education-system/id-a43d3101/?utm_source=OB&utm_medium=content_stories&utm_campaign=features-rss

To end, if anti-PAP cyber warriors want to help the Oppo persuade the 35% of S’poreans that can be persuaded not to blindly support the PAP, they should never demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably anti-PAP. They must remember that the core anti-PAP is around 30%, of which 5% are lunatics (they voted for Tan Kin Lian in PE 2011).

 

 

 

 

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  1. […] Sharan kaur(ner): MOE, Class sizes. – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Where a 55 hr working week is the norm – Guanyinmiao’s Musings: National Youth Council […]

  2. Sinkies are idiots. They & their children deserve what they get. Foreigners put in only 1/3 to 1/2 the effort to get their degrees and come here to get jobs & salaries that are same or higher than typical Sinkie kid.
    Sinkie system is akin to pushing everyone through the meatgrinder, commando & royal marines training. Those who cannot make it are dropped on their heads and dumped into societal trash dumps. Those who passed out are sent into suicide & kamikaze missions of S’pore society. The minority who make it by luck, skill or connections reap the rewards. The majority end up as chicken parts to feed the GDP machine.
    Anyway hope it continues forever, since I depend on exploitation of Sinkies for asset inflation. That’s why got no worries man. Since Sinkies will remain idiots for another 50 yrs. More than enuf to fund my lifestyle & retirement.

  3. What is the point of having such a high standard of studying…when all jobs goes to FT.

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