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Scrap the PSLE

September 18, 2012

There is resistance in change when we already got so used to it, it’s part and parcel of our life.  No, I’m not talking about daily exercise routine or daily morning trip to the nearest Kopi Tiam, I’m talking about the Primary School Leaving Examination (aka the PSLE).

It’s amazing that despite inconvenience of this exam to a family, there is still little parents want a change.  This might be foriegn to the Western world (unless you have a Tiger Mom at home), but in societies like South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is not uncommon to see a whole family “grounded” merely because someone in the family is taking the BIG EXAM.

“Let’s go to the Botanical Garden this Sunday!”

“Let’s eat out today and spend the whole day in VIVO city,”

“Mom wants to hang out for a while with Auntie Ah Lian and Uncle Ah Beng…”

All those simple requests that sounded so harmless, will be frowned upon and basically the whole family is discouraged from any activity that can “distract” the potential 状元 (Zhuan Yuan).

“When I took my PSLE, it wasn’t like that…”

I said that in a facebook/blog comment somewhere in response to some friend’s frustration.

“Those days are different…”

Basically I still don’t see any difference except parents nowadays are more conscious and more kiasu.  It’s like that one single exam could “make or break” the child’s life.

So I’m for scraping the PSLE.  That will be a bold statement to say in front of conscientious Singaporean parents.  More bold than “ban banding” of Secondary Schools.  Tantamount to asking for a hundred million dollars from the government to invest on Student-initiated Start-ups.

Wah! So difficult ah?

Actually a big group of people/parents are for scraping the PSLE.  The concern will be the replacement.  Something more gentle, more acceptable by modern educationist has to be in place.  I’m for any replacement that can give the other family members the rights to go to VIVO city, shopping, church, outings again.  I am for something that students can all take in their stride, without having to study and spend hours all over again for double confirmation and re-assuring that those so-called “knowledge” are still in the head.

Frankly, I go to places and did errands for my family during my PSLE month as if it was any ordinary day.  And I was half drunk during a CPA exam in my first year of NUS (I remember that exam was taken in World Trade Centre).  So if I am going to have fun or spend a whole day out, I am not going to allow my child’s PSSA, ‘O’ level, ‘A’ level stop me.  And even after doing that and my child came back with an F, my conscience is absolutely clear.


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