PAP Nominated MP (NMP) Chia Yong Yong yesterday (Feb 28) made an absurd suggestion proposing that school children study “full-day” and force them to complete homework in school. The PAP NMP said that this will bridge the gap between poorer children who cannot afford tuition and the rich who can pay for enrichment and tuition classes:
“To level the playing field for children from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds, and break out of the country’s tuition culture. That way, the children will complete their homework during school hours, and be able to spend more time on push-frontier practicals aimed at training them to become more comfortable in tackling problems and to grow an appetite for risk-taking… The current academic model runs the risk of not harnessing the potential of all our young people who do not have access to enrichment and tuition classes. As a result, those from more advantaged socio-economic backgrounds who have access to these classes will outperform their peers. Every school is a good school, but not every home is equal, the current system has been abused such that inequality continues to be perpetuated and deepened. Full-day curriculum in schools can be a good tool to eliminate a part of that inequality.”
The PAP NMP then said Singapore children will then no need to attend tuition classes or have homework:
“That way, we have children study together, grow together, spend time together. (It creates) greater opportunity to level up, greater opportunity to bond. When they go home, parents should be encouraged to reduce reliance on external contractors in providing additional teaching and hothousing, and use the time for family bonding. Full-day curriculum schools will also facilitate a move away from an environment in which children cram or are hothoused for better grades, to one in which they challenge one another by creating, and devising solutions to problems.”
PAP NMP Chia Yong Yong’s suggestion however contradicts the public calls to reduce school curriculum and examinations which have built significant stress leading to student suicides every year. In Jan 2018, a 16 year old jumped off a HDB building after failing his O levels. Two months before in Nov 2017, an 11 year old committed suicide after he did not perform in his PSLE examinations. A 12 year old girl also committed suicide after she failed an examination in the same year.