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Posts Tagged ‘Ministry of Education’

When MoE makes a gal’s dream come true

In Uncategorized on 21/08/2019 at 2:16 pm

PM’s talk of spending more on education reminded me that a govt scholarship can help a kid’s dream come true if there’s no Bank of Mum and Dad for the kids to draw on.

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“The rich are different from you and me,” Scott Fitzgerald is supposed to have said; and Hemingway is supposed to have responded: “Yes, they have more money.”

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A gal I know flew off last Thursday to the US to study in a supposedly leading university (I remember my Indonesian clients joking in the 1980s that it was a rich kids uni because so long as you had the money to pay the fees, you got in. The gal was not amused because I told her the story before she knew she was getting the scholarship: she worried that MoE might not think the uni atas enough because the u isn’t in the Ivy League or anywhere close.). She went on an MoE scholarship and will be studying music composition: her passion.

When anyone mumbled the six yr bond she had to serve, I told them that it’s worth the bond. She gets to do something that is not available here and her mum would not have been able to afford the fees to any good US university. (Plan B 2.1 was to to go study in UK or Europe next yr and, I suppose part fund, her way by work by part-time there.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(The original Plan B was to go to NUS Yale: “affordable” said her mum. But that would have meant not studying music composition.)

I would go on: better still, a degree in music composition is worthless. Don’t believe me? In 2017, cybercriminals hacked into Equifax’s data base and stole 145.5m U.S. consumers’ personal data, including their full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver licences. . Turned out its head of cybersecurity had little qualifications in cybersecurity. She had a masters in music composition from the University of Georgia. The gal was not amused when I told her the story.

So if MoE is happy to fund her doing a worthless degree and then paying her to teach, a six yr bond is a good deal for her.

The only downsides for her is that she could turn into this kind of person: Headmaster that blur meh? and she’ll be a nut case when she retires. Many yrs ago, a retired school principal told me that principals who retire often go nuts ( He was seeing a govt nut doctor) because they find that they miss terribly the ability to order staff and kids around: yes I know I assume she’ll be a principal, but she’s a scholar ain’t she? And while a sweet gal, she is bossy and pushy.

Whatever, the benefits for her, doesn’t say much for prudent spending of tax-payers money though: funding a worthless degree course.

Btw, remember the MoE scholar was caught in the UK with child porno on his PC?

But let’s be fair: MoE did admit that a scholarship was given to a peeping-tom because the boy’s teachers got some things wrong. He was recently convicted in England for possession of child pornography. But what if the balls-up had been made by officers higher up the food chain? I mean teachers are the lowest of the low in the education food chain, or so I’ve been assured by teachers.

Why we don’t buy the “explanations” of S’pore Inc

To avoid another such fiasco, scholarship applicants had to undergo several rounds of interviews and a battery of psychological tests. And had to teach in a neighbourhood school for some time. They must have been an eye opener for the gal because while the family is not that well-off, she’s third generation in an elite girls school that was once considered a training ground for tai-tais. Gals went on from this school to ACS to find husbands. This gal went to RI because it was two bus stops from her home.

 

No more streaming? Really? What a load of BS

In Public Administration on 09/03/2019 at 10:58 am

Going by alt media reports, the cybernuts have bot into the SDP’s message that the PAP followed the SDP’s recommendation to abolish streaming. But has the PAP really abolished streaming as the SDP claims.

I think not. The PAP govt has actually refined streaming, while saying it has abolished streaming. Stupid SDP, stupid cybernuts. But what to expect from the best enablers the PAP have: with enemies like these, it doesn’t need real friends.

Roy Ngerng is absolutely right. Extract from: PAP’s changes on the education system is nothing but a cosmetic joke

Under the new system, G1 subjects correspond to the Normal (Technical) standard, Ong Ye Kung said. G2 subjects correspond to the Normal (Academic) standard and G3 subjects correspond to the Express standard.

Take the hypothetical situation that students take 3 subjects for their ‘O’ Levels at Secondary 4, with the different G-subject combinations and grades according to the following:

[1] G3 (A grade), G3 (A), G3 (A).
[2] G3 (A), G3 (A), G2 (A)
[3] G3 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A)
[4] G2 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A)
[5] G2 (A), G2 (A), G1 (A)
[6] G2 (A), G1 (A), G1 (A)
[7] G1 (A), G1 (A), G1 (A)

Instead of 3 streams, now do we have 7 streams?

An extended version with 4 subjects would look like this:

[1] G3 (A grade), G3 (A), G3 (A), G3 (A)
[2] G3 (A), G3 (A), G3 (A), G2 (A)
[3] G3 (A), G3 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A)
[4] G3 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A)
[5] G2 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A)
[6] G2 (A), G2 (A), G2 (A), G1 (A)
[7] G2 (A), G2 (A), G1 (A), G1 (A)
[8] G2 (A), G1 (A), G1 (A), G1 (A)
[9] G1 (A), G1 (A), G1 (A), G1 (A)

Does this now make 9 streams?

Now, take this and multiply by the number of subjects students have to actually take (6 to 8, at least), and then by the more refined grading (A1, A2, B3, B4, etc.).

As such, the ‘Express’, ‘Normal (Academic)’ and ‘Normal (Technical)’ streams have been removed in name, but have they only been replaced by a more refined way of streaming, as outlined in [1] to [7 or 9, or more] above?

Strange, no, why the PAP government announced that streaming will be “removed” but did not say how students will be streamed into the junior colleges, polytechnics and ITEs?

I suppose the good thing now is that students will not have to live with the label of being from certain streams, but will it only be replaced? I was from 8 G3s, or I am from 5 G3s and 3 G2s?

There were two perceptive comments among the usual rants

It will likely work like current JC to University, where there are basic subject prerequisites to take up a subject or course combination.

The impact is that students will likely have to decide career paths much earlier than in the past and pick the G3, G2 subjects early working on their areas of strengths.
The divergent will happen later, students will go to JCs, poly or ITE based on the level and choice of subjects.

And commenting on the above comment

bro, there is a difference between removing streaming and refining streaming.

what the clown pap ong Lj has done is NOT remove but refine.

unless he is so ffffing stupid he cannot say remove streaming when he can only say refine streaming.

under g1 g2 g3 there will still be many in g1 who zero chance right off the bat from poly or U. so actually even without S$m paid to us we know g1 is for ITE and g2 is for poly and g3 is for U.

Don’t blame kiasu parents, blame PAP govt

In Uncategorized on 26/02/2019 at 11:02 am

So despite TOC carrying education minister’s balls in Wah lan! TOC praises PAP govt, he says more needs to bee done, but that SAP schools remain an OB marker.

This reminded me that “In Love, Money & Parenting”, Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti, write that economic trends are the underlying drivers of various approaches to raising children.

They find that in countries with low inequality, such as Sweden, parents tend to be more permissive. In countries with high inequality, parents are “both more authoritarian and more prone to instil in their children a drive to achieve ambitious goals”.

They cited the US as an example but S’pore sure fits the bill. Think of all the tuition and enrichment lessons etc.

Another insight is “The parenting choices of the rich differ systematically from those of the poor … For example, psychologists have long noted that authoritarian parenting is more prevalent in families with low income.”

And there’s this, that’s not applicable here: “[S]ocial and economic discrimination in labour markets [means that] parents will have weaker incentives to invest in their daughter’s human capital, since the return to such investment is low”.

Related post: More qns for education minister

Hard truths about elite schools

In Uncategorized on 02/01/2019 at 9:30 am

I refer to

Lower- and middle-income students at independent schools to receive more financial aid: Ong Ye Kung
It’s a waste of tax-payers’ money as I’ll explain below. Another bribe giveaway to help PAP achieve 65% of the popular vote.

And for the same reason, Minister and MoE not BSing about “Every School A Good School”.

Mr Pathak and his co-authors have compared pupils who only just made it into elite public schools with others who only just missed out, rather as Ms Dell compared villages on either side of the Pentagon’s bombing thresholds. The study showed that the top schools achieve top-tier results by the simple contrivance of admitting the best students, not necessarily by providing the best education. Ms Dell and her co-author showed that bombing stiffened villages’ resistance rather than breaking their resolve.

https://www.economist.com/christmas-specials/2018/12/18/our-pick-of-the-decades-eight-best-young-economists

(My emphasis)

Explanation for the cha tows like TRE and TOC cybernuts and their PAP cousins like Jason Chua and gang

Academically bright kids make schools elite, not the other way round.

Understand that or not Qiou?

“Experts” wrong to write-off Ong as next PM

In Political governance, Public Administration on 01/10/2018 at 9:34 am

“Experts” kanna chiat sai a second time: they got to recant their view that he’s no longer in contention to be the next PM. (For the record, I’ve never tot Ong Ye Kung was in the running to be PM. In fact, I tot he was “very mediocre”. In Ong Ye Kung: A study in failure I’ve listed his NTUC and SMRT failings, and more.)

But many “experts” (Think Eugene Tan) did think he could be our next PM, and they had to eat their own faeces and drink their own urine after the latest cabinet reshuffle: Our new PM/ Trumpets pls for me

But given the announcement of a very major change in our education system,


Primary and secondary schools to cut down on exams and tests, as MOE announces sweeping changes to reduce emphasis on grades

In a major move to reduce emphasis on grades, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will do away with examinations and graded assessments for Primary 1 and 2 students from next year.

Mid-year examinations for students in Pri 3, Pri 5, Secondary 1 and Sec 3 will also be removed in phases from 2019 while all students from Pri 3 to Sec 4 or Sec 5 will not have more than one weighted assessment per subject per school term.

In addition, students’ report books will also no longer reflect their class and level positions as well as overall marks, with scores to be rounded off without decimal points.

These changes were announced by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (Sept 28).

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/primary-and-secondary-schools-cut-down-exams-and-tests-moe-announces-sweeping-changes

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these experts should now eat more their own faeces and drink more their own urine and repent and recant their writing-off of his chances of becoming PM. There was a really good reason for PM to retain him at MoE: to finalise and announce the above changes, even if “Schools” were in the portfolio of Ng Chee Meng, now NTUC’s Secretary-General.

Me? I don’t think he’s going to be the next PM, but I’m not so cocksure any more.

Firstly, because PM seems to like him: remember he served as Lee Hsien Loong’s Principal Private Secretary (2002–2004). To be fair to him and PM, he did good work when he was concurrently

  • Director of Trade at the Ministry of Trade & Industry (2000–2003)
  • Deputy Chief Negotiator of Singapore-US Free Trade Agreement (2000–2003).

And because he can throw smoke. Not as good as Lawrence Wong (Smell the smoke? From Indonesia or from the PAP & cybernuts?) but still better (Doublespeak on “Every school a good school”) than Heng or Kee Chiu:

Waz in the name “Yusof Ishak”?

In Uncategorized on 15/09/2018 at 1:36 pm

Yusof Ishak Secondary School to relocate to Punggol in 2021 to boost student numbers

Headline in constructive nation building media

The school is to be moved from NW S’pore (Bukit Batok) to NE S’pore (Punggol) to avoid being closed due to the declining numbers of students in the Bukit Batok area.

The relocation will allow the MOE to “preserve the established history and rich culture of the school” and its “contribution to the teaching fraternity” through the Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE), which it currently hosts.

What “established history and rich culture of the school” that needs preserving? Many a school that were closed despite having an established history and rich culture”: think Pasir Panjang English School (a pre WWII, the first where boys and girls were educated together. My parents were among the first batch, and I later attended Pri 1 there), Siglap Pri (did the rest of pri school education here), Siglap Sec and the first sec school in Toa Payoh.

I for one can think of more cynical reasons for the move.

Can you think what I’m think? Think Indian Muslim becoming Malay president: Anti-PAP Malay that ungrateful meh?.

Doublespeak on “Every school a good school”

In Public Administration on 02/09/2018 at 11:33 am
“Every school being a good school does not mean every school is the same. If every school is the same, every school can’t be a good school.
Ong Ye Kung
Huh?
And to make “Every school a good school” even more meaningless, it’s an aspiration like the Pledge*:
So when we talk about this aspiration or this vision, of every school is a good school, it is really to say, it is possible at some point, every kid can go to a school that suits him or her best and help him or her achieve the best that he or she can be … And that requires every school to be slightly different, to be strong in different areas that play to the strength of the kid. And for that to happen, choice is important.”
Ong Ye Kung is talking cock thru his ass methinks. Time to move Lawrence Wong, good smoke thrower to MoE? Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting
Here’s an interesting article on Doublespeak
Doublespeak: A Weapon Aimed at the Language

Doublespeak is not language. It is anti-language. The purpose of language is to transfer a truth from one mind to another; the purpose of doublespeak is to transfer a falsehood disguised as a truth.

In “Doublespeak” (Harper & Row), William Lutz undertakes to define, analyze and document the term, observing at the outset that it has nothing to do with bad grammar or syntax.

“It is instead a very conscious use of language as a weapon or tool by those in power to achieve their ends at our expense. While some doublespeak is funny, much of it is frightening.”

Lutz says there are four kinds of doublespeak. The first is the simple euphemism, in which a word is used to soften a cruel reality. This use may be benign, as when we say “passed on” or “sleeping with.” The second is jargon, which is useful within a trade or profession, but which may be used to keep outsiders out. The third is gobbledygook, the use of big words and strings of nouns so beloved by bureaucracy. The fourth is inflated language designed to make the ordinary seem extraordinary.

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-11-02/news/vw-112_1_nuclear-weapons

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*The Aspiration, not the Pledge
“We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity
and progress for our nation.”

MoE got think like this? Our teachers?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 22/08/2018 at 6:25 am

I came across this interesting Canadian idea.

Let’s start with the wrong answer

Exams have traditionally been used to test the abilities of students, while their results when aggregated are often used by parents and inspectors to judge the quality of schools.

In Canada, with an educational system that rates very highly in international assessments, administrations have adopted a very different approach.

FT

I doubt if our education system does this:

Schools and teachers focus less on celebrating correct answers, and more on interpreting how to respond to the most common incorrect responses. That allows them to understand areas of weakness in understanding, so they can reinforce aspects of the curriculum.

The “PAP is always right” attitude doesn’t allow such an approach. 

And even many 70% KPKBing that our education system doesn’t help kids get creative? Hey it’s the PAP system, stupid.

Related post: More qns for education minister

 

Minister Ong wants a camel?

In Public Administration on 03/07/2018 at 4:11 am

The education system which the Government is aiming to develop will be a “combination of the best parts of the Singapore and Swiss systems”, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday (June 7).

Mr Ong, who is visiting Switzerland as Education Minister for the third time in as many years, cited the Swiss “dual study system”, which combines classroom study with workplace apprenticeship training, as of particular interest to Singapore.

The participation of industries is another “admirable feature” of the Swiss education system, he added.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/government-aiming-best-singapore-and-swiss-education-system-ong-ye-kung

Well if we manage to combine the Swiss system with our neo Victorian system (very elitist and which is practised today in England only within the private ie public school sector) we have, it’ll be a world first and maybe gd for S’pore. Juz don’t hold yr breath.

Seriously we’ll just have camel, only good for survival in certain conditions.

 

F9: Education Minister Ng Chee Meng

In Political governance, Public Administration, Uncategorized on 05/04/2018 at 10:47 am

Ong Ye Kung minister of Education (Higher Education and Skills) talks the talk reflecting the latest ang moh thinking, example

Singapore’s education system should, as far as possible, reflect the real world that our children are going to grow up and live in. That is why the Government is making changes to take the emphasis away from just academic grades, said … Ong Ye Kung.

But the other education minister (Ng Chee Meng is responsible for schools) doesn’t seem to have a clue about the latest trends in education.

From the PAP’s bible (PAP’s bible challenges “market-based solution”):

EVERY year in Singapore 1% of pupils in the third year of primary school bring home an envelope headed “On government service”. Inside is an invitation to the city-state’s Gifted Education Programme. To receive the overture, pupils must ace tests in maths, English and “general ability”. If their parents accept the offer, the children are taught using a special curriculum.

Singapore’s approach is emblematic of the traditional form of “gifted” education, one that uses intelligence tests with strict thresholds to identify children with seemingly innate ability. Yet in many countries it is being overhauled in two main ways. The first is that educationists are using a broader range of methods to identify highly intelligent children, especially those from poor households. The second is an increasing focus on fostering the attitudes and personality traits found in successful people in an array of disciplines—including those who did not ace intelligence tests.

New research lies behind these shifts … The research also suggests that the nature-or-nurture debate is a false dichotomy. Intelligence is highly heritable and perhaps the best predictor of success. But it is far from the only characteristic that matters for future eminence.

https://www.economist.com/news/international/21739144-new-research-suggests-new-ways-nurture-gifted-children-how-and-why-search-young

It’s impt to kick Ng’s ass because according to the Economist”new research”

shows that countries which do not get the most from their best and brightest face big economic costs.

Ong should show that he can be PM by telling off Ng for sticking to outdated practices and theories (like PSLE). He should remember that Harry became PM by showing S’poreans that Lim Chin Siong was “wrong”.

What ST doesn’t tell us about our PISA ranking

In Public Administration on 28/08/2017 at 2:55 pm

Update at 7-00am on 29 August: ST reports that MoE says this is “fake news”. What do u think?

Before over 1500 delegates, Director General of the Ministry of Education, Mr Wong Siew Hoong, projected graphs depicting Singapore’s stellar PISA results. He then juxtaposed these to OECD data on student wellbeing, and also of innovation in the economy, revealing Singapore in the lowest quartile. His conclusion was stark: “we’ve been winning the wrong race”.

https://au.educationhq.com/news/41377/the-pisa-fallacy-in-singapore-insights-from-the-nie/

There are S’porean civil servants who think. But are they allowed to take corrective action?

Will the PAP ever have the balls to say this?

In Uncategorized on 03/04/2017 at 5:31 am

Low-ability youngsters from wealthy families go on to earn more money than their more gifted, poorer counterparts, says the Education Secretary Justine Greening.

Fairer outcomes remained an “entrenched” problem, she said, at an event promoting social mobility.

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-39444993

S’poreans already instictively know this. Witness the unhappiness that resulted in MoE revising the criteria for direct entry into “good” schools. There had been a lot of unhappiness that “Money talks, BS walks” with rich parents being able to “buy” their way in; what with them having money to lavish on getting their kids “developed” in various sports and activities..

And in the arms race that is part of the tuition wars, money again talks. Rich parents can pay for better and more tuition.

Coming back to my question, somehow I doubt any PAP education minister or any other PAPpy would have the balls to admit that “Low-ability youngsters from wealthy families go on to earn more money than their more gifted, poorer counterparts.” Sad.

The Old Guard for all their bullying, thuggish ways would agree, saying “Life is unfair”, but adding, “We’ll try to improve things for the smart but poor kids.”

From the Middle Guard (PM, Tharman etc) and the Young Guard, we get remarks like, “Every school is a good school”.

What S’poreans not told about PISA

In Public Administration on 16/12/2016 at 4:49 am

The constructive, nation-building media, and the PAP IB are going on to warp drive about the latest PISA rankings (S’pore is tops) and the cybernuts are dissing the achievement. Both are insulting the intelligence of the swing voter by not telling S’poreans the facts.

First our education system can’t take most of the credit for the good results. The Asian Chinese tiger moms play a huge part

Second-generation East Asian pupils in Australia are roughly 2.5 years ahead of those with native-born parents. They do even better than pupils in Singapore, the highest-performing country in PISA, even as results in Australia as a whole have fallen.

Economist

(To see a real tiger mom at work read the last few paras of this. She’s the real deal, not this wannabe tiger mum: juz blur KS S’porean.)

So PM is talking a lot of bull (see below).

==========

Global education surveys show Ministry of Education is moving in ‘right direction’: PM Lee

On Tuesday, it was announced that Singapore took first place in all three categories – reading, mathematics and science – in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, its best performance yet in the global benchmarking test.

Conducted once every three years, PISA measures how well 15-year-olds around the world make use of their knowledge to solve problems. A total of 72 economies took part in its 2015 assessment.

Just a week earlier, Singapore’s Primary 4 and Secondary 2 students topped another international ranking in mathematics and science, theTrends in International Mathematics and Science study (TIMSS).

The study, which assessed pupils from 63 other education systems around the world, also found that Singapore students have more positive attitudes towards learning and are immersed in conducive learning environments. Singapore students also showed improvement over the years, especially in higher-order thinking skills.

CNA

===============

Next here FTs do better here in PISA tests than locals (Indians and Malays let the side down? Err juz joking.)

Seriously, PISA rankings show how good a place in a certain kind of test but

Opponents of PISA argue that trying to make sense of all this is like trying to hear oneself over the noise of an obstreperous classroom. They note that education is about more than doing well in tests. And besides, some critics add, there is little useful to learn from the results, since it is culture and parents that lead to swots. Last week in an effort to be funny, Yong Zhao of the University of Kansas wrote that the right response from tests that show spectacular scores in East Asia might as well be for others to start using chopsticks.

PISA has flaws. It is just one of many tests, and tests are not all there is to learning.

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21711247-reforming-education-slow-and-hard-eminently-possible-what-world-can-learn

If we so smart, how come we not good in productivity and uni rankings huh?

The former Argentine education minister Mr Bullrich  says PISA is like an X-ray of a country’s education policy. It is not a full picture of your health but it can help you spot where things are sickly. But this analogy means that it also doesn’t always tell what can be improved upon.

 

The real reason why productivity is so bad

In Economy on 06/11/2016 at 4:49 am

From young, S’poreans work hard but stupid, not smart.

Longest homework hours

1. Shanghai
2. Russia
3. Singapore
4. Kazakhstan
5. Italy
6. Ireland
7. Romania
8. Estonia
9. Lithuania
10. Poland
11. Spain

In Finland and South Korea, two of the countries with the best student performances according to PISA – the average time spent on homework every week was less than three hours.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37873805

(More on the Finnish way: http://www.bbc.com/news/education-37716005)

All the above countries in above table have more than six hours of homework a week. So no correlation or causation between hrs spent on homework and PISA result.

I repeat, from young, S’poreans work hard but stupid, not smart. Who to blame? Blame the PAP administration who is responsible for the education system.

Lim Swee Say (http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2016/11/02/lim-swee-say-improve-productivity-or-singapores-competitive-primacy-will-be-risked/) should have a word with the relevant minister of education.

Update at 7.45 pm: More evidence we work stupid from young

The OECD’s top 10 highest performing graduates

  1. Japan
  2. Finland
  3. Netherlands
  4. Sweden
  5. Australia
  6. Norway
  7. Belgium
  8. New Zealand
  9. England
  10. United States

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37649892

We not on it

As BBC says

It casts a light too on how an efficient school system might not translate into success in higher education.

South Korea and Singapore, both high achievers at school level, are below average in the graduate rankings.

Thanks to Chris K for the info in update.

MoE released April Fools’ Day video by mistake?

In Humour on 01/10/2016 at 1:15 pm

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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37293655

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.

—————————————————-

The reality

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.

Time to walk the talk, SDP

In Uncategorized on 21/02/2016 at 4:09 pm

SDP is KPKBing about MOE rejecting SDP’s proposal to give talks in schools. It has now written to the education ministers to complain about the rejection.

It has also produced this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeDTApp5GXQ after this schoolboy showed that there may be a demand for what SDP wanted to do.

Dear Dr Chee,

I’m a 15 year old student from St Joseph’s institution. Since a younger age I somehow had a vast interest in politics and started following, and as you have said many times before, realised that Singapore isn’t actually a very democratic country.

Even though I am not yet legible to vote, I do feel the rising concern on the future on my homeland, as do many of my friends in school. Thus, this would be a great opportunity to educate us further and highlighting issues that are or could possibly be faced.

With this however, there are issues. With the Ministry of Education being run by the PAP government, it’s highly likely that they would be displeased with this and immediately reject your proposal to give talks in schools. Even with this though, I’d really like you to know that many of us really do realise the problems in this society and are definitely supportive of SDP.

Regards,
(name withheld)
SJI Secondary 3 student

Why not video a pilot talk on the subject and put on YouTube and see if there is demand for talks on the topic?

If there’s demand make a series. SDP can always crowdsource for funds. (And commission Boy Fantastic, Amos Yee, to do the video. After all, he has sat at the feet of Dr Chee where presumably he learnt that the beloved Harry “was a horrible man.)

Given that MoE will “ban” students from watching any SDP produced video, and the constructive-nation-building media will diss it, watching will be the “in” thing among students. Even the PAPPy kids will be forced to watch if they to be in the “right” crowd.

The SDP doesn’t have some really good material for the pilot video.

SDP has highlighted 10 examples of what it says are “the partisan nature of the textbooks:are written by the Curriculum Planning & Development Division of the MOE:

  1. Singapore: The Making Of A Nation-State, 1300-1975
  2. Singapore: From Settlement To Nation Pre-1819 to 1971
  3. Upper Secondary Social Studies 3 (2nd edition)”

Let me be very clear, I’m not saying that the SDP’s examples “prove” the partisan nature of the books because I have problems with some of SDP’s “right” facts and complaints, even though it seems the SDP is right about the use of photographs that reflect well on the PAP. I’m saying that students should be given the opportunity (in their own time) to be made aware that there are alternative narratives. AS MoE doesn’t want to “confuse” young minds by letting the SDP give ralks in schools, the SDP should use new media to show that there are alternative narratives.

Somehow based on what I hear about the SDP walking the ground in Holland Village GRC versus what I know what Leon Man and friends are doing in East Coast GRC are doing,  I doubt the SDP is into the hard work involved in doing a pilot, and then if there is a demand, the harder work of producing a series of videos. But here’s hoping I’m wrong that SDP KPKBing is nothing but wayang to help pass the time until the 2019 GE. Our students deserve to be exposed to alternative narratives what with 2019 coming round the corner with more opportunities for the PAP administration to spin that the PAP is S’pore and S’pore is the PAP.

The 10 examples cited by the SDP:

Example 1: Lim Chin Siong

One of the history books paints Lim Chin Siong and Fong Swee Suan as violent troublemakers:

“The Communists had control of two powerful trade unions, namely Singapore Factory and Shop Workers’ Union (SFSWU) and Singapore Bus Workers’ Union (SBWU). These unions were led by Lim Chin Siong and Fong Swee Suan.

On the same day (24 October 1956), the pro-communist leader, Lim Chin Siong had organised a workers’ meeting a short distance away from the Chinese High School. When the meeting ended, some of the workers joined the students in creating disorder.

The riots came to an end when the police arrested almost all the union leaders, including Lim Chin Siong and Fong Swee Suan. During the riots, 13 people died and more than 100 were injured.”

It has emerged from declassified documents by the British government that it was Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock who “had provoked the riots and this had enabled the detention of Lim Chin Siong.” Documents also “show these were the tactics of provocation that were employed in the 1956 riots that led to Lim Chin Siong’s arrest.”

Shouldn’t our students be given this information and encouraged to do more reading and research before forming their conclusions? We need to stop the practice of glorifying the PAP and demonising its opponents in our schools.

Example 2: Photos and illustrations

The texts carry these illustrations:

In the section ‘What Is The Role Of The People?’, students are told that the people “have the power and responsibility to choose the right leaders for Singapore”. Accompanying the text is a photograph of PAP MP Mr Christopher de Souza.

In depicting how the PAP had split in 1962, the book labelled the faction led by Lim Chin Siong as “radicals” versus that of Lee Kuan Yew’s “moderates”. The “radicals” then went on to form the Barisan Sosialis.

Example 3: Principles of governance

In the chapter on governance, the book asked “What Are The Guiding Principles Of Governance?” It proceeds to cite the four areas that Lee Hsien Loong enumerated in his 2004 National Day Rally speech:

  • Leadership is key
  • Anticipate change and stay relevant
  • Reward for work and work for reward
  • A stake for everyone and opportunities for all

Under ‘Leader is key’ the book states:

“Honest and capable leaders are needed to maintain stability in the government and to make the right decisions for the country. These leaders must have moral courage and integrity to do what is right and not what is popular with the people. What would happen to Singapore if the leaders only make decisions that are popular with the people?

The government has realised that good leadership and good government do not occur by chance. Potential leaders are specially selected and groomed. Besides talent and ability, leaders are also selected based on their good character.”

The paragraphs seem more suited for the Petir, the PAP’s party organ, than a school textbook. Worse, there was no attempt to help students evaluate the statement. Given that the PAP has produced Ministers and MPs like Phey Yew Kok, Tan Kia Gan, Wee Toon Boon, Teh Cheang Wan, Choo Wee Kiang, and Michael Palmer, is the text accurate and valid? Why are students presented only one side of the story?

Example 4: Representative democracy

On the subject of governance, the text says: “Singapore practices representative democracy.” But this is only half the story. For a democracy to function meaningfully and effectively, there must also be a free media and a free and fair electoral process. The people must also enjoy fundamental freedoms of speech, association and assembly. All these are not practised in Singapore. Given such a circumstance, can Singapore still be considered a democracy, much less a representative one?

This subject is not addressed anywhere in the textbooks. The basic rights of citizens that are enshrined in our Constitution are not presented and the students are not invited to have a deeper discussion on what it means to be a citizen of this country other than on the PAP’s terms.

Example 5: The Pledge

And when the National Pledge is mentioned, the book asks students to:

“Examine the phrase ‘one united people, regardless of race, language or religion’. What do you understand by this phrase? Why do you think there is a need to stress this idea in the national pledge? Share your opinion with a partner.”

There seems to be an effort to steer students away from focusing on the part that calls on citizens “to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality”.

Example 6: Healthcare

in the chapter on healthcare, a section compares the pros and cons of Medisave and Medishield. At the end, however, a sidebar called Pause and Ponder asks the question: “Why is it important for the government to have support for new policies such as Medisave and Medishield?”

Why is the question written in such a leading manner? Why are students constantly shepherded into supporting the PAP’s policies? Is there no room for a more open and meaningful discussion on the realities of healthcare affordability in Singapore?

Example 7: Foreign talent/low birthrate

As for the PAP’s Foreign Talent Policy, the Social Studies book says: “While Singapore waits for its pro-family measures to show some positive results, there is a need to enhance its competitiveness by bringing in talent from other countries.”

What the book does not tell students is that the “pro-family measures” have thus far not been effective. Our population size has been shrinking all these years. Can’t the students discuss the effectiveness, or the lack thereof, of the PAP’s family policies?

The book then instructs the student to “Look at Figure 2.37 for reasons why attracting foreign talent to Singapore is important.” The Figure reads,

“Singapore faces stiff competition from other industrialising countries and being small, it is not possible to produce all required professionals locally. Thus, we must encourage foreign talent to come here so as to boost the quality of our manpower. Foreign talent can create more jobs and increase productivity.”

Again, the text misses out crucial information. For example, Lee Kuan Yew says that without foreigners, we cannot attract investments and produce jobs. Should students not be asked how and why we have come to this stage? The book also omits to discuss related topics such as (a) New jobs created going to foreigners, (b) Our city’s infrastructure being unable to cope with the massive influx of foreigners, (c) The difficulty of foreigners integrating with locals, (d) The resultant rise in the cost of living and (e) The PAP’s definition of ‘talent’.

Instead of stimulating and encouraging our students to analyse what they read, the MOE seems more interested to get students to accept the material as received wisdom and to memorise it for exams.

Example 8: Media

On the topic of managing race relations, one of the books relates the case of Maria Hertogh and the riots, writing that, “The events throughout the [Hertogh] court trial had much media coverage in the English, Malay and Tamil newspapers.”

It shows pictures of overturned cars and houses on fire with the headline “Five dead, 100 hurt in riots”. The Pause and Ponder sidebar then asks: “Why is it important to have a newspaper that is not biased in the reporting of events?” – a clear allusion to the PAP’s justification of controlling the media in Singapore.

The text does not teach students of the importance for dialogue and debate without resorting to violence no matter how much we may disagree with the other party’s views. In other words, it does not educate students. Rather, it conditions their minds and the inculcates in them the PAP’s partisan values.

Example 9: Self-help groups

The book extols the virtues of self-help groups like CDAC, SINDA, Mendaki and the Eurasian Association by quoting an excerpt from “a newspaper”:

“The self-help groups’ biggest achievement has been in saving students from the under-achievement trap. Dropout rates have fallen, grades have improved and more students have gone on to continue post-secondary education.”

The textbook does not provide information on how it arrives at the conclusion that self-help groups have achieved what the newspaper quote purports that they have achieved. It simply makes an assertion. Again, students are told what to think and not taught how to think.

Example 10: People’s Association

In discussing the role of grassroots organisations, the textbook cites the work of the People’s Association saying that it “creates common space through a wide range of programmes and activities”.

It makes no mention of the controversy regarding the control of its activities by the PAP – even in wards that the party does not control. Such a topic may not reflect very well on the PAP but isn’t one of the purposes of education – especially in a social studies class – supposed to draw on themes such as equity and fair play for discussion?

Singapore Democrats

 

Headmaster that blur meh?

In Media, Public Administration on 11/01/2016 at 12:00 pm

Maybe it’s a surprise that we don’t have more PTSD victims like Amos Yee given the logic of this ex-headmaster.

The ex-principal (going for further studies, not kanna fired) of Shuqun Secondary recently responded* to

In September of last year, this video of a bullying incident in Shuqun Secondary School surfaced and soon went viral.

http://theindependent.sg/deliberate-and-irresponsible-reporting-outgoing-shuqun-secondary-principal-takes-tmg-to-task/

In summarry, he blamed new media (and the constructive, nation-building media: the PAPpy friendly ST etc reported the Middle Ground’s story) for blowing up the bullying incident and not telling the truth. The reporting was “deliberate and irresponsible”: this included supposedly “balanced” online and mainstream media who felt right to reproduce the articles choosing to feature sensationalised headlines that gave a wrong impression of the facts.

The problem (i.e. flaw) with his analysis is simple. Until he gave his side of the story, three months after the event, there was only silence from him and the MoE. So how could there be “balance” or “truth” (whatever this is)? Now he and the MOE may have reasonable and legtimate reasons for silence if the decision to keep quiet wasn’t simply an honest mistake**.

Whatever, how can he now blame media (new and constructive, nation-building) of irresponsible behaviour when he was unwilling or unable to say anything at the time the video went viral?  If anyone was “deliberate and irresponsible” (I assume he really meant “deliberately irresponsible”) , it was the silence of theprincipal and perhaps MOE**.

Having been freed from the constraints of his job**, he could (and should) have simply told his side of the story without name-calling or labelling: just give the facts as he saw them. But no, he had to indulge in name-calling and labelling like Amos Yee. And he’s an educated man who held a position of trust and responsibility, not a spoiled kid, whose mother thinks he’s “fantastic”.

As he’s going for further studies, one can only hope that the course includes handling the media in an age of 24/7 news coverage. new media and social media. Pigs will fly first.

Seriously MoE must remind officers not to talk cock because talking cock reflects badly on the eduction service. It must also update its manual on the handling media queries. viral videos etc in an age of 24/7 news coverage. new media and social media. Silence is no longer the default option.

Finally, I can’t stop laughing at this comment by Bertna Henson the editor of TMG NOW he talks….three months later. After a deafening silence, a deadening rant. As always, shoot the messenger, after declining to talk to them. And messengers must always deliver “good news” to be considered “responsible””.

Really people who once lived in glass houses should refrain from throwing stones. She was once a general (paper stormtropper) on the Death Star that is ST. ST was during her time (and still is) very good at shooting nessengers of news that the PAP administration rather not hear.

——-

*Text of FB message

‪#‎howisthisnotbullying‬

Dear friends,

I was the principal of ‪#‎shuqunsecondary‬ from 2012 to 2015.

From 1 Jan 2016, I will be leaving the education service. I am hoping to pursue further studies. Yes, I am doing well. smile emoticon And no, before you ask, I made this decision some time before the “bullying incident” in my school. MOE and the public service is more reasonable and far kinder than most give them credit for.

To assure those of you who are still curious about the follow up to the incident, I thought I would share a picture of the 3 boys involved. The circle time in the picture was taken on the FIRST DAY after all of them returned to school. The “bully” apologised in person and in writing to both victims and to the class. Both victims forgave him and they were friends again within 2 hours. Consequences were meted out to the boy according to our school rules in private and ALL THE PARENTS INVOLVED were satisfied with the actions of the school. The boy will have to face more serious punishment under the law.

More hearteningly, in November, the 3 boys, together with their classmates, initiated and planned their own service learning project during the school’s open house. They baked brownies and made drinks for visitors to showcase the work of our student-run Hideout Cafe. They told me they wanted to make restoration for the bad reputation they had brought to the school. I am very proud of them.

Many ppl who know the truth of the events in my school have asked me why I did not respond more actively to the various reports on the Internet when the incident happened. My answer – I did not want to feed the ongoing media frenzy and help viral irresponsible articles that were being put out by my comments. Sadly, this included supposedly “balanced” online and mainstream media who felt right to reproduce the articles choosing to feature sensationalised headlines that gave a wrong impression of the facts.

Make no mistake – these were deliberate and irresponsible decisions made by the media. For example, an online news website that purports to be a place for “moderate speech and agreeable disagreement” posted an article headlined “the school was aware of the bullying 5 months before the incident”. A close reading of the report itself would have revealed that a single complaint was made to the school and the teacher involved had done the correct thing by warning the aggressor. She was not aware that the bullying resumed a few days later.

The same website chose not to emphasise comments by the mum herself that she appreciated the work that the school had done with her child and the improvements that she had seen in the child over the last 3 years. They ellided over the fact that A FULL WEEKEND separated the incident from the time it was posted on the Internet, during which neither victim mentioned anything to the school nor their parents. The media chose not to mention that both VICTIMS had written to me that they felt sorry for their friend and hoped to see everyone move on. They did not clarify that the online video was NOT posted by any of my school’s students (because we teach them that the correct thing to do if they care for their friends is to raise it to the teachers) but a school leaver from another school who posted it on a gaming site at 9am on a school day. There was no mention that one of the victim’s mum had gone down to the police station ON HER OWN 2 weeks later to withdraw the police report because she felt satisfied with the school’s handling of the incident and that it was a mistake to have gone to the police in the first place.

At the same time, some of the online reports seem to suggest that after one or two meetings with one of the victims in question, the journalist somehow understood and COULD SPEAK FOR the boy’s psychological state, better than the school. By reducing the children to spokespeople for “the broader problem of bullying in schools”, the reports cared nothing for them as people. They mention nothing about how one of the boys dreams of being a top chef, another speaks to his mum in sign language, the last has improved significantly in his reading despite suffering from dyslexia, and all three find EBS difficult. And all this which I know as a Principal is nothing compared to what my teachers know of them, working daily for 9+ hours each day with the boys over the last 3 years and sharing with them the heartache and struggles of their growth.

It is not difficult to see how these biased reports might have fed some of the extreme online vitriol. These included many threats by netizens such as “if i see the boy, I will bash his skull in”, “let me give him a taste of his own medicine.” Instead of trusting the school and the police to investigate and take the right actions, many suggested taking things into their own hands. There were false accusations of gang connections and that the boy was a compulsive bully. Unhappily, there were also derisory comments about the school by people who did not know the first thing about Shuqun Secondary. This was unfair to the 1200 other students, their parents, the committed staff, and the alumni and stakeholders of the school.

As a teachable moment following the incident, my teachers conducted a bully-free lesson with all the students. This is material which we repeat every year as part of our bully-free week where we teach our students about the different forms of bullying including physical, verbal and psycho-social. In her reflection, one of my students mentioned the way that adults were behaving online, that was causing my students being afraid to go out in public in their uniforms after school and to participate in social media. She ended her reflection by asking ” how is this not bullying?” I had no answer for her.

(The same media website compared this case with another case of bullying in a prestigious all-girls’ school that was recently resolved in court and suggested that there was a difference between physical and verbal/psychosocial bullying. We teach our students that these are all forms of bullying that cause suffering in others, and that it does not matter what was the intent behind the action but the act itself).

(An Auckland school principal gave a similar response to cyber-bullies after a similar incident happened in his schoolhttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm…)

In ending, my wishes for the new year are –

1) To the media friends especially (some of whom are my relatives, ex-classmates and former students), I would like to urge you to take greater care in your reporting. For each irresponsible journalist and dubious media website, I have met many more considered and enlightened ones, some of whom reported on the many achievements and good stories from my students and staff in the past. While I understand the pressure to attract more views and comments in this age of social media through increasingly sensational reporting, you too have a DUTY OF CARE to your subjects, especially children. You have the power to report the full truth and shape opinion, not just pander to the lowest denominator in the hopes of representing yourself as the mouthpiece of the public. Be mindful of the innocent parties that you might be unintentionally hurting, and the feelings of hatred you might be stoking online. In some cases, it can spill over to real cases of vigilantism, as several cases of adults taking the law into their own hands against children or teenagers have shown in 2015. Sometimes the best thing we can do for the people we care about is to stay quiet and do the deep work to support and help them learn and grow.

2) To the wider and largely well meaning public, be mindful of what u “like” or comment on the Internet. Be aware that what u see or read online often does not constitute the whole truth, and choosing even to click on links (without needing to share) can help to viral these falsehoods. Trust the institutions that we have put in place to do the right things; that is the mark of a civil society.

And if we speak about allowing our children to learn from their mistakes in education, to give the academically weaker students a chance to catch up and succeed, the same grace and patience should be extended to our students when teaching them good character. We can do better as adults to be kinder to one another in real life and on the Internet. Remember, OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING AND LEARNING.

3) To my fellow colleagues in Shuqun and elsewhere in the teaching fraternity, those in social services and the police who work daily with these kids – strive on! I have had the privilege of meeting many of you in my years of service. Some have given up higher paying jobs. Others, like me, have studied and taught in “top” schools but chose to work in schools like Shuqun because you want to go to the places of greatest need and believe in the potential of every child of Singapore, not just some. And we live the mission every day, and don’t just talk or write about it.

To encourage you, let me share something that another parent sent me, during those difficult days of September. He was the father of the boy that was hit by one of the victims, in another video that surfaced subsequently. This time the student who had taken the video did the right thing, and brought it to my attention before it went viral so that we could address the matter with those involved. When I met the father, he had complete trust in the school’s handling of the matter. More importantly, because of the close relationship he had with his son, he was confident that his boy would have raised the matter to him if it had affected him. 2 days later, when the video became viral, it was HE who sent me a message of encouragement through my school counsellor – “Tell Mr Chia to take care. I am very impressed by his dedication to the students.”

Thank you Mr Hong , and the many other parents and partners, for renewing our faith and for supporting our teachers as they do the hard work of believing in and helping your children.

Happy New Year.

Chia Hai Siang

P.S. Pls SHARE if you think this will encourage a teacher or a parent.

**MoE officers like all civil servants are not authorised to talk to the media unless expressly authorised.

Related post on why the PAP administration’s PR is so bad

Teachers kanna pap and pay

In Financial competency, Public Administration, Uncategorized on 10/01/2016 at 8:34 am

Folloing reports that teachers* may soon have to pay for parking in school premises (Is the assumption that these lots will be made available to the public if not used by teachers? I mean schools are not supposed to be public areas, I tot?), a post by an-ex school teacher is going viral on Facebook. I’m sharing it as not everyone will be able to read it otherwise. As all good writing it entertains us, and makes us reflect on the absurdities it reports.

A message from an ex-teacher (which is not me):

Teachers,

you don’t have to feel so upset over the impending parking fees. It’s a good move to be transparent to the public. Since the ministry wants to ensure that it doesn’t give unsubsidized parking to ensure transparency, it’s good to let MOE know that you should also stop paying for stuff out of your own pocket to ensure ‘transparency’ too. Some example of fees that you have been paying out of your own pocket:
1. Classroom deco, charts, notice board materials(excluding manpower and labour fees):$100 at least
2. Coming CNY, Hari Raya and Deepavali deco:$100-$300
3. Resources for teaching:$300(conservative estimate)
4. Remedials/supplementary/enrichment classes:$50 per hr(market rate for MOE tutors).
5. Prizes/gifts/McDonald/pizzahut/KFC treats to motivate students(varies from teacher)
6. Children’s day gifts:$100-$200
7. OT pay for staying overnight at camps, Meet-the-parents sessions at night, meetings during school holidays, learning festivals on Saturdays and Sundays, organizing events for community/MP :$50 per hour
8. Premium fees for last minute instructions from MOE for example, calling parents from 10pm-12am on a Sunday night to inform them of school closure due to haze. $100per hour.
9. Other miscellaneous fees such as home internet or using your personal hp talk time/mobile data to conference with parents/HODs(not including OT pay for doing these after 6pm): $110 per month.
10. Transport fees to attend courses that you are ‘nominated’ to attend. You can’t claim them currently as MOE have already SUBSIDIZED you to attend them.(not that you have any choice)
11. Labour fees for moving cupboards,tables and shelves in classroom/staffroom, cleaning students up after they poo/vomit:$20 per hour.
12. All the money you paid to replace faulty PE/music/art/ICT equipment on your own. Too lecheh to do AOR, ITQ, and then go through Gebiz and evaluation plus endless meetings with KP/AM/P just to get a pair of soccer gloves for your student.smile emoticon
13. Last but not least, fees for marking after 5pm each day, as no marking can be done before that due to meetings/CCAs/meeting parents/meeting vendors/meeting P: $50 per hour.

At the end of the day, is that season parking so difficult to afford? I don’t think so. But the message that the sacrifices of teachers are not appreciated by MOE will have a greater cost than the revenue that it can collect from the season parking. Kudos to my ex-colleagues who are still believing in making a difference to the next generation.

‪#‎justsaying‬ ‪#‎moedoesnotcherishteachers‬

From a (currently much happier) ex-teacher.smile emoticon

Update at 11.20am:

A prominent social activist whose wife teaches posted on FB: Bean counters need to understand, that not all beans can be counted by them.

To which my Facebook avatar ponted out

—   Ownself count ownself? )))

— Seriously one of the legtimate complaints that govt depts, ministries have against the AGO is that it can be very selective in what it quantifies. Quantification is not a science, it’s a tool of manipulation. Can justify anything.

=====

*To be fair, it’s not MoE but the Auditor-General’s Office who is behind this piece of nonsense.

Three cheers for MoE for this googly

In Financial competency on 08/10/2015 at 3:28 am

Googly, for the uninitiated is a really wicked, evil  bowling movement where a cricket ball bowled as if to go  one way that actually breaks in the opposite way. It’s even more wicked, evil than the curveball in baseball or softball.

Below is the kind of question that should be included (and was) in a nation where tuition for one’s kids accepted fact of life as a means of keeping themahead of the rabble: the problem is that almost every kid tutored.

“Thinking cannot be taught” is a comment on this.

And it’s so hilarious that someone grumbled that the coins could be of different weights. Or that it’s an IQ question, not a maths question. “They can’t handle the possibility that their children are not smart enough, even though they themselves only have half the intellect.”

FYI, MOE justifies it by saying pupils are taught to estimate as part of their primary school education.

Making Every Primary School A Good School

In Uncategorized on 05/10/2015 at 5:10 am

Even the most hardcore PAP voting parent can’t believe “Every School A Good School” unless he or she is as stupid as an anti-PAP cybernut like TRE’s Oxygen or Dosh or their hero Roy. What with elite schools and six- yr programmes, “Every School A Good School” sounds like another comment by would-be comedian Tharman. “Every School A Good School”: so why got elite schools and six-yr programmes?

—————————————————————————————————————Every School A Good School

Our goal in education is to provide every child with the opportunity to develop holistically and maximise his or her potential. In creating opportunities for all, MOE will ensure that every school is a good school.

(MOE website)

———————————————————————————————————————

Here’s a simple, elegant but radical solution that will every neighbourhood primary school a great school.

Let the top pupils at every primary school be guaranteed admission to RI or Hwa Chong; let the next-ranked pupils at each school take a spot at the next-most competitive secondary school, and so on. Those from the “poorer” schools (schools where the bulk of parents earn the median wage or less) may have lower test scores, but, given their circumstances, they will have actually achieved more than those whose parents pay and pay for tuition etc.

This will encourage the kids in neigbourhood primary schools to do their best (which is a good thing in itself: and very hard to encourage) and striking a blow for meritocracy.  The kids do not have to accept their lot in life. Aspiration or “You don’t have to set limits on your talent and your ambition” isn’t juz meaningless drivel*.

Teachers at these schools will be motivated to do their best.

There is a play running in London about the angst that parents are facing in choosing where to educate their kids.

Alia [a scholar-type kid and FT] offers a simple solution: let the top pupils at every school, whether Eton [A really posh school where the UK’s elite send their kids to. The present PM’s old school] or a failing comprehensive [think neighbourhood school in a HDB estate where the residents earn less than the median wage], be guaranteed admission to Oxford or Cambridge; let the next-ranked pupils at each school take a spot at the next-most competitive universities, and so on. Those from the poorer schools may have lower test scores, but, given their circumstances, they will have actually achieved more than those whose parents stuffed a bassoon into their hands to help their chances at a posh school or university.

Alia’s solution has an appeal, not only for the pupils or the university, but for those poor anguished parents. To encourage the kids to do their best is hard enough without trying to game the system at the same time. Such a radical change could not only rebalance parents’ incentives, but the schools’ (and top universities’) populations themselves, striking a blow for meritocracy. But like any radical reform, it faces so many entrenched interests that it is unlikely to get a shot.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2015/09/review-future-conditional

Yes of course, every secondary school can be a good school too by using the above method for entry to yr 5 and 6 in elite schools, and JCs, but that will will mean giving less room to six-yr programmes, so one step at a time.

For starters, let’s make Every Primary School A Good School. After all we have a new Acting Minister of Education (Schools). He’d surely want to win his spurs to be in the running to be a future PM? But then his priority might be to avoid becoming another Lui or the CEO of NOL?

———————

*The Ministry of Education (MOE) will work towards making the education system more diverse, by taking into account “not just top down national needs but also bottom-up aspirations”, said Acting Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, the other acting minister. [Added at 6.45am]

Security: Kampong spirit or software better?

In Public Administration on 07/06/2015 at 9:56 am

DPM Teo called for what I consider the “kampong spirit” to combat radicalisation after it became known

A Singaporean youth has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for terrorism-related activities since April this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced on Wednesday (May 27).

…another youth was arrested in May under the ISA for further investigations into the extent of his radicalisation.

–  –  –

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean said Singapore faces real threats from radicalisation, similar to other countries. He noted that attacks can still happen, even if a country is already on high security alert.

“Our community leaders have worked hard to counter radical ideology. And we should all, from all communities in Singapore, support one another … All of us must play our part. If you know or suspect anyone who is becoming radicalised, please notify the authorities early,” Mr Teo said.

“You may be helping to save that person from harming himself and others. And our security agencies will do their utmost to detect and prevent any terrorist attacks.”

“We must strengthen our community resilience so that if an incident were to occur here, we can recover and emerge even stronger, and more united,” he added.

(CNA)

Err what about more high tech stuff?

In the UK, schools are being offered new software that helps teachers spy on pupils’ potentially extremist online activity.

It alerts teachers if pupils use specific terrorism-related terms or phrases or visit extremist websites on school computers, laptops or tablets.

Teachers are encouraged to look for a pattern of behaviour rather than raise the alarm after a single warning.

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-32996327

Seems we don’t have similar software because “Fortunately, another person who knew Arifil [the detainee] noticed the changes in him, and had brought him to the attention of the authorities, who were then able to investigate the matter and take action before he could carry out his violent attack plans in Singapore,” said MHA.