Singapore

Helping kids with tests or exams a top source of stress for parents

Helping kids with tests or exams a top source of stress for parents
Many parents cited having to help their child with tests or exams as their top source of stress. Photo: www.freeimages.com
Published: 4:00 AM, July 17, 2017
Updated: 9:43 AM, July 17, 2017

SINGAPORE — While parents here hope that schools can do more in the area of character-building and providing a more holistic education, many still continue to place much weight on academics.

As a result, many parents cited having to help their child with tests or exams as their top source of stress,  a recent Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) study has found. 

In a survey on perceptions towards the Singapore primary school system involving 1,500 citizen or permanent resident (PR) parents, 70.8 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were stressed or anxious from having to help their child with the numerous tests or examinations in school .

Two-thirds of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were stressed over having to juggle helping their child with school work, as well as ferrying the child to and from school, and tuition or enrichment classes.

Some 63.4 per cent of the parents polled also felt stressed as they were concerned that their child might lose out in the education system in the long run, while 58.7 per cent were stressed as they did not know how to help their child with the challenging syllabus.

About 1 in 2 parents were anxious as they felt their child was not keeping up with what was being taught, or obtaining the grades he or she was capable of. Also, slightly over half felt stressed over the huge amount of homework and projects their child had to undertake.

Parents experienced more incidences of stress as a result of their child’s schoolwork, with 36.1 per cent stating that they had to discipline their child once a month or even more regularly due to school work, for instance. 

In exploring parents’ views on whether the school curriculum should have more emphasis on character-building, the study found that the majority of parents felt that more importance should be devoted to this area, with 65.2 per cent of them wanting more emphasis on moral education and slightly more than 60 per cent wanted greater stress on traditional family values. About  50.3 per cent felt more emphasis should be place on racial and religious harmony.

Some 63.3 per cent of parents felt that the English language should be given more emphasis. 

However, for the subjects of mathematics, mother tongue and science, the parents polled were evenly split between those who felt that these subjects needed more emphasis and those who thought that the current level of emphasis was just about right.

Acknowledging parents’ aspirations for an all-round education, IPS’ senior research fellow Dr Mathew Mathews said: “The bulk of parents no longer just (focus) on hothousing their kid and drive them to get all the As ... Parents do know that education, at least at the primary level, is a lot more than that, it’s about character and values ... Yet, we still hold on to the traditional markers (like academics).”