In 1994, the SDP stated: “A major problem of streaming is the effect of self-fulfilling prophecy…It is not difficult for children in lower streams to feel less valued.”
A quarter-of-a-century later, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung echoed: “Entering a stream that is ‘lower’ can carry a certain stigma… It becomes self-fulfilling.”
In 2014, the SDP wrote: “Currently, the main providers of preschool education are private playgroups and kindergartens. The government does not provide preschool education at the national level.” We called for pre-school education to be nationalised.
In 2017, the MOE announced that it would institute government-run kindergartens.
These are just a couple of examples of how the PAP has been following the SDP’s lead in formulating our nation’s education policy.
We will continue to show the way when we launch our education policy on 13 July 2019. Our current system is heavy on rote-learning and exam-taking. This approach is out-dated as we head into an era of innovation where critical thinking is of the essence.
The PAP cannot continue to point to the high achievement of our students in the PISA assessment. This index tells us nothing about how prepared our students are after graduation.
The current system emphasizes paper qualification to the detriment of knowledge and skills essential for dealing with the realities of the present age.
An OECD study showed that in the area of literacy, the average Japanese high-school graduate is as highly-skilled as the average Singaporean tertiary graduate. The study defined literacy as “understanding, evaluating, using and engaging with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”
We can continue to delude ourselves by believing PAP’s rhetoric that its education policy is number one in this and that.
Or we can come to see the reality for what it truly is: That the PAP continues to wield education in Singapore as a political tool by stifling critical and independent thinking and adopt an enlightened and transformative policy that the SDP is proposing.
Event: Launch of Educating for Creativity and Equality: An Agenda for Transformation
Date: 13 July 2019, Saturday
Time: 2-4 pm
All are welcome