‘I am all for slaying the PSLE sacred cow,’ wrote a member of parliament in his blog. The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) issue once again came under the spotlight. Popular opinions have been rising for scrapping the PSLE, for it puts unnecessary stress on young students and limits their holistic development. However, proponents of the system have been equally strong in their support for the exam, arguing that no viable alternative exists to ensure the fairness of selection. According to an online poll, the PSLE has been ranked the top ten most pressing issues faced by Singaporeans. It is high time for us to engage in the debate, as education is becoming more and more important in determining the future of a child and the the…show more content… The repeated drilling in such areas usually backfire in reducing students’ passion, which defeats the purpose of education.
The PM Lee recently pointed out the increasing availability of choice as a way to alleviate the problems of the national exam. For example, we can enhance the exercise of the Direct School Admission that allows students talented in non-academic areas to be admitted before they go for the leaving exam. Moreover, we may also set up some pilot secondary schools that admit students based on their own standard other than the PSLE, and parents have the choice to opt out the PSLE to go for such schools. Academic performance and practice of such schools will be monitored by the MOE to assess the viability of such academic alternative.
Increasing choice is critical to reducing stress of students and parents. Because it is not an absolute necessity to go through the PSLE to enter a good school, students will have more freedom to pursue their interests and develop their qualities in other areas. But at the end of the day, we still need to have some scheme to differentiate capabilities, reward talents and provide incentives for hard work. It may not be a wise decision to scrap the PSLE. But rather, we need to diversify the schemes of assessments to discover different talents, while still maintaining fairness of education that is