Competitive Society causes Stress to Children

Parents always want a better life for their children. This is true for most parents in Singapore. Who doesn’t want their precious kids to do well in schools? This mindset is so ingrained over decades of phenomenal progress in Singapore since independence. During my times as a kid, I was consistently reminded that children must study hard. The saying then was that if we did not study well, we would end up sweeping the roads. I certainly did not want to be a sweeper. (I was too young to understand that road sweepers had pride too for us to belittle these people in this manner. They too played an important role in society.)

Over the years of economic success, Singapore depended on scholars to helm the government ministries and government agencies. In order to be hired for jobs with higher wages, educated employees with good academic results stood better chances of getting it. This explains why there are more people going for post-secondary school education. More than 9 in 10 of today’s Singaporean youths are expected to have a post-secondary education. (Source: Mr Heng Swee Keat’s Budget Debate Round-up Speech) A secondary school’s education is not sufficient in today’s competitive society.

It does not help when there is still stratification at Secondary School level even after MOE had decided to do away with Express Stream, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) Streams. (This is a good policy to remove Express and Normal streaming. But it did not go further.) The Integrated Programme (IP) is desirable to strive for by primary school children. It is a feather in the cap if the child can get into the coveted IP schools. Stress still remains if students push to get the grades for IP schools. (In my earlier blog post, I had advocated removing Integrated Programme. I am happy that The Straits Times’ reporter Chua Mui Hoong had the same opinion in The Sunday Times’ Thinking Aloud column, 10 March 2019. )

Finally, we can only do that much to reduce stress for our students and to help them cope with studies. Ultimately, we live in this world where competition comes from not only among citizens, it comes from the talents of the globalised world. This is the real stress of the competitive world. Coping with stress and failures is the way forward.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

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