Singapore’s education system, one of the best in the world, is known for its emphasis on grades and examinations.
But a video by the Ministry of Education (MOE) suggests that attitude might be changing.
The short film, based on a true story, shows Madam Pua, a geography teacher, trying her best to encourage and help her student Shirley, who keeps failing her tests.
Despite all her hard work, enthusiasm and progress, Shirley still fails her next exam, but is encouraged by Madam Pua that success isn’t about the grades but trying her best.
Something’s not right. How can
— be true story? [Where got failures here? Juz get streamed to appropriate level.]
— Despite all her hard work, enthusiasm and progress, Shirley still fails her next exam?; and
— success isn’t about the grades but trying her best?
The official narrative is that hard work and enthusiasm is all that is needed to succeed in meritocratic S’pore. And that trying her best is not an acceptable explanation or excuse.
A recent government survey shows that families in Singapore collectively spend about $1.1bn Singapore dollars ($827m; £526m) a year on private tuition, nearly double the amount from a decade ago.
“kids who grow up in Singapore start running the rat race from an early age” … there was always a subliminal pressure from society to get good grades.”
[But] parents and students often fuel the stress about grades because of a narrow definition of what success can be.”
The video must have been meant for 1 April 2017? It was an honest mistake to release it on Teacher’s Day 2016?
“This ad is so misleading. I’ve seen teachers contacting parents if their kids don’t do well in school. Singapore’s education system is crazy,” one Facebook post read.
“This is just an ad,” said another post. “In reality, based on my own experiences, teachers like to put down students more than encourage them.”
“Try convincing the parents,” said another.