Responding to public feedback that school curriculum is being a main source of stress, Education Minister Ng Chee Meng said that he had no answer because it is a “multiplex” issue. In his interview with state media ChannelNewsAsia, Minister Ng Chee Meng made it clear that he will not change the school curriculum and instead called for Singaporeans to change their mindset.
“I need employers to not just value the diploma or the university certification; I need employers to reward workers with skills. I need our principals to understand that teachers have wide responsibilities, and some really go beyond their call of duty in helping students that is not seen.”
In recent years, there have been growing number of feedback from teachers, students and parents saying the Singapore’s education system have too many syllabus and subjects to cover, with emphasis on time-consuming rote learning and little or no coverage on critical thinking and risk-taking. Singapore students have to pick up private tuition classes as the school teachers were too busy “clearing syllabus” instead of helping students to understand.
Another common grouse from the public is why are some prestigious junior colleges prefer to accept students with subjects as many as 9, instead of the national standard of 6 O Level subjects, L1R5. A student from a neighbourhood school who score 6-A1s will be put second-choice to a student from an elite secondary school with 8-A1s, the problem is worsen by the fact that only elite secondary schools attended by the rich offer more than 7 subjects for students.
Minister Ng Chee Meng is however adamant on not changing the school curriculum and instead called for the people to “change their mindsets”. The Minister instead extended school time by adding more outdoor education programmes, in which he claimed, “to nurture ruggedness, tenacity, collaboration and leadership skills”.