This article will first highlight the value of education in contemporary society before deducing the goal of education in society. The focus of the article will be narrowed down, focusing on the primary reason for Singapore education system. This short article surveys the execution of the policies in Singapore education, indicating the strengths of these regulations. At the same time, areas of inside contradictions and where questionable assumptions may have been made are also suggested. Implications on educators and students of these adopted guidelines are also explored. Troubles that lie forward in the future are also discovered and alternatives for the perceived ineffectiveness in these regulations made are also provided at the end of the article.
Key Words: Reason for Education, Implications, Difficulties, Solutions
Education has an immerse effect on human society. It serves as a program to impart knowledge and skills to make mankind a rational animal. Without education, humans would not be rational to have the ability to differentiate between the rights and wrongs. Thus, it is evident that the "reason for education is to get the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed and fair decisions. " (Howe, 2000, para. 1) It is through education, a region is then having the ability to achieve growth and development.
In a recently available "Global Competitiveness 2010" record, Singapore's market is positioned first in Asia and third on earth ("World Economic Forum", 2010, para. 1). What factors constitute to a little nation for reaching such a amazing result?
Being a small country with limited resources, Singapore can only depend on its precious advantage - human resources, to aid the country in its economical growth. Hence, the government has started trading closely in its people by putting great emphasis on the education ever since it gained independence in 1965. Based on the information of Singapore Budget 2010, an amount of $9. 664 million has been assigned to Ministry of Education ("Singapore Budget 2010"
"The quest of the Education service is to mould the continuing future of the nation. The service provides our kids with a balanced and well-rounded education, develop them with their full probable, and nurture them into good residents, conscious of their obligations to family, world and country" ("Ministry of Education", 2010, para. 2).
From the aforementioned mission statement, we can tell that the role of education is to "mould the near future" of Singapore by giving students with "balanced and well-rounded education" in order to reach their "full potential" to become great investments for the country.
There are many different ways a person or an organization can do to become an asset for the united states. In a recently available fraud case in Singapore, a reliable "executive secretary of an director of one of the "Big Four" accounting firms", Siew Siu Yin was found guilty of forging her boss's signature and supporting herself to $642, 000 of his money (Singh, 2010, p. B6). If each individual is informed academically but not holistically, she or he would be making profits through the wrong way.
This explains why education in Singapore is geared not only to the coaching of academic themes, but also towards a alternative education, creating well-rounded future Singaporeans to be competitive and endure in the modern world. This goes to show that the best purpose of Singapore education is to accomplish national success and economic success - in a socially and morally erect way.
Adoption of Realism as Educational School of thought & Meritocracy as Key Policy
In order for a country to boost its economy, it is well suited for staff to be talented and well-educated to be able to maximize monetary growth. "The emphasis on intellectual capital has prompted many countries to start to see the role of universities primarily as getting ready students to be knowledge personnel who will improve the country's economical competitiveness. " (Tan & Wong, 2008, p. 8)
In Singapore, the educational idea of Realism which has been adopted since the independence of Singapore in 1960s "has been acknowledged with promoting a down-to-earth form of education that prepares students for a knowledge-based economy. " (Tan, 2006, p. 25) Therefore, academic institutions in Singapore are seen as academic organizations entrusted with the function of equipping students with the essential skills and knowledge for the world of work and life based on a subject-matter curriculum.
Also, it is very common to see most businesses or organizations recruiting employees predicated on their academic certification as the basic requirement. For instance, "Skillsforce Management Consultancy Pte Ltd" is looking for an Accounts Supervisor. One of its mentioned recruitment requirements is the academics qualification of the "minimum [d]egree in [a]ccountancy" ("Skillsforce Management Consultancy Pte Ltd", 2010, para. 4), followed by other delicate skills that they are looking for in employees. This implies that even if one has other attributes or tender skills but without achieving the minimum academics qualification, she or he would not have the ability to qualify for the interview.
In other words, academics qualification still takes on a major part in getting one a good job with good pay in Singapore's population. Obviously, there are people like Steven Paul Careers (Co-founder of Apple), a college drop-out, who do not need to possess high educational qualification to become successful ("Encyclopedia of World Biography", 2010, para. 3). However, such exceptional case belongs to the minority group.
Furthermore, because of the fact that Singapore is a tiny nation, missing of natural resources, "meritocracy is the better means to take full advantage of the various capacities of your human population" in a good way ("The Education System in Singapore - Meritocracy", n. d. , para. 4 ). This points out why Singapore adopts the ideology of Meritocracy in education.
As Meritocracy in education seeks to bring the best in everyone by streaming students based on their capability in academics through examinations, students work hard to get what they need so that they can be the best among all. Generally, the more they are doing, the better off they are really. This ends up with intense competition and hostile competition amongst the students.
Implications for Teachers and Students
As a result, because of how Meritocracy works, Singapore became a result-oriented population. Producing students with good marks tend to be the very best priority for most teachers. We often listened to teachers showing students to work hard to ace in their educational studies as it will guarantee one with bright future with good job and good pay. Quoting from a famous philosopher, Aristotle once said that "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is nice"; students who want to stand out in life will continue to work extremely hard academically. So, many students and educators "see education merely as a stepping stone to extrinsic rewards in life, overlooking its role in students' moral and intellectual development.
(Tan & Wong, 2008, p. 8)
Furthermore, exam-based topics like English, Mathematics and Science are still the primary matter for curriculum to equip students with the abilities and knowledge they want for the working culture. As such, higher emphasis has been put on these content neglecting the part on alternative education which is one of the missions of education.
On top of this, "because moral education has not been accorded examination status, many educators [are inclined] not to take it significantly and [ ] often use moral education times as a buffer time for you to complete the syllabuses of exam subject matter. " (Tan, 1994, p. 68) Instructors who do that are setting an awful example to students that Moral education is not important. Matching to Albert Bandura's social learning theory, "most human behavior is discovered observationally through modeling. " (Wagner, 1977, para. 1) In so doing, teachers are mailing a message with their students that CME is not as important as the academic subjects like English, Maths and Technology. Therefore, emphasis on alternative education is again neglected. Actually, the Singapore education should place equivalent emphasis on all natural education in the curriculum alternatively than focusing more on academics achievements. In this manner, the mission of education is then achieved.
Emphasis on Holistic Education shouldn't be discounted
Hence, bottom-line is the fact developing the honest side of a kid is the key to creating a socially in charge nation, which in turn allows it to attain more economic goals. If an example may be not socially accountable, fraud circumstances like the main one mentioned prior and corruptions will be developing very commonly in Singapore. This will create a feeling of dread to the international investors and stop them from establishing their businesses in Singapore, resulting in decline in financial growth.
According to a recent research by NUS Job Centre Guide 2010, delicate skills are also another component that corporations and organizations want for when recruiting an employee. For example, DSO National Laboratories emphasized that "[they] bottom part [their] evaluation on the candidate's complex aptitude for the position appealing, as well as gentle skills that are essential for performing face to face. [They] also look for applicants who promote [their] core values of integrity, quality, teamwork, development and customer focus. " ("The NUS Profession Centre Guide 2010", 2010)
Therefore, it's important for the future generation to experience emotional and subconscious well-being including morally and socially responsible. Hence, Singapore education has created Personality Development with several activities like CCAs and CIP to help students develop such features.
For occasion, Community Involvement Programme (CIP) seeks to "nurture [the] students to become socially accountable and grows their sense of belonging and dedication to [the] country. " ("Ministry of Education", 2010, para. 1) One of the most frequent types of fund-raising activities is the "Flag Day", where students would be sent out to different locations of Singapore to ask donation from the public in the avenues. Through this activity, students learn the total amount collected from the general public is perfect for the less needy; consequently you need to not be taking the money collected inside the tin for self-usage.
At the end of your day, all CIP activities performed by each university student are clearly recorded so as to accord the appropriate CCA things to him or her. CIP activities are logged predicated on the amount of time that the learner performs the experience for.
By construing CIP into something that is on educational basis, CIP would lose all its first intent on doing voluntary work that does on "voluntary basis", and so they might not start to see the value in participation of CIP. Students seem to be to be more functional nowadays to do CIP with regard to clocking in their hours so as to build-up their customer feedback or continue increasing their chances of getting recruited. If there are no CIP time incurred, will the students volunteer to do CIP independently accord?
How is CIP in a position to ingrain the value of empathy deeply into students and exactly how high is the service learning when they randomly ask donations from the public with a tin in hand?
Schools should revise their activities to increase the service learning. If time permits, university should allow students to plan what to do for his or her CIP, rather than pre-planning for them. In my opinion, institutions can collaborate with different beneficiaries such as World for the Physically Disabled that will require volunteers to work together and help the less fortunate directly, through activities like taking these to the catalogue and reading tales to them on a regular basis. After several weeks of service learning, reflections should be done and evaluated to ensure that students have truly benefited from the programme. "The training experience wouldn't normally be complete without allowing an opportunity for students to share and reflect on the different experience they had during the service day. " (Rizzo & Brown, 2006, p. 8) Suggested lesson plans also needs to be included that can be used to help the students discuss the day's occasions and have a far more meaningful volunteer experience.
In addition, creating a greater sense of moral principles like empathy within students especially the near future generation of market leaders of Singapore is essential. Among the problems Singapore is currently facing is the ageing populace. If younger generation of Singaporeans lack of empathy, there would not be graciousness seen on general population transports especially on the trains, where youngsters quit their chairs to the elderly. If Singapore were to make a batch of future leaders who are lack of empathy, many requirements to meet the ageing population such as building of fuss-free infrastructures for older people wouldn't normally be attained. The welfare of the nation would thus be neglected because of the lack of value in empathy.
Efforts from the federal government have been discovered to help gear Singapore education towards a alternative approach. Integrated programmes are introduced to allow the top students in the extra university to bypass the O level assessment with desire to to "stretch pupils and provide greater breadth in the academic and non-academic curriculum. " ("Ministry of Education", 2010, para. 1) However, till today, a minority of only nine academic institutions offer this kind of substitute.
With the educational beliefs Realism and Meritocracy implemented as the building blocks of the Singapore education, Singapore education has prevailed in achieving its primary purpose of attaining economic prosperity. However, to be able to attain in success in holistic education, more emphasis should be located on it. The value of CIP should be further increased to ensure that students learn from it.
Holistic Education is important as it takes on a component in teaching someone to become a morally upright person. A country cannot have people who are knowledgeable but have no moral principles. Moral worth should be inculcated within each and everyone from young and these ideals follow us no matter where we go. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that emphasis should not be placed merely on the academic things, but also on all natural education. To be able to become successful in holistic education, CIP should be revamped and make known of its value of involvement to the students.
Of course, there are other purposes of Singapore education, such as promoting racial harmony. However, the objective of promoting racial harmony in Singapore is to ensure that there wouldn't normally be any racial riots to cause a decline in output for economic growth. It all would go to show that the goal of education in Singapore is at the interest of the nation - to help achieve monetary growth in a morally erect way; if not the Singapore federal would not spend such significant sum on the training sector.
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