Let’s break up the PSLE core 4

Let’s break up the PSLE core 4
Dr Dennis Shirley noted that teachers here are highly skilled and valued. Photo: Wee Teck Hian
Published: 4:02 AM, July 5, 2013
Updated: 7:20 PM, July 5, 2013
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There have been calls for a more rounded education for our children, from parents and educators who find the four subjects of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) too academics-based.

Children who are not academically-inclined feel that they are failures in the current education system. We cannot afford to let them believe, at that age, that they have no future simply because they are not good in maths or science or language.

Education should be about exposing students to a variety of experiences, so that each child’s talents can be discovered, developed and celebrated. We need to provide a wider range of subjects and options, especially at the primary level.

If we want to develop creativity and innovation, we need disciplines that will enable them to see possibilities rather than standard answers. In his book Out of Our Minds, Sir Ken Robinson talks about how the narrow focus on maths and science in almost all the education systems around the world will not be able to nurture the kind of creative, innovative people needed in the 21st century.

He recommends a balanced curriculum, where equal status and resources are given to numeracy and literacy, the sciences, the humanities, the arts and physical education.


What should we consider in Singapore? For a start, the Ministry of Education (MOE) could allow grades for some of the subjects currently covered in primary school — such as music, sports and arts — to be used in the subject combinations considered when applying for secondary school places.

Instead of the current fixed quartet, MOE could allow students to select their own combination: English language plus any other three subjects, be it mother tongue, science, maths, arts, sports or music.

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Jake Goh