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Many Singaporeans’ parenting style not helping children succeed

I was disturbed to read the report “MP proposes piloting cluster of schools without exams, streaming” (Jan 22).

Foo Mao Cheen

I was disturbed to read the report “MP proposes piloting cluster of schools without exams, streaming” (Jan 22).

In the current debate on how best to restructure the education system, more people seem inclined to wash the outside of a dirty cup and call it clean, but leaving the inside filthy as ever.

An examination-free education system would serve only to mask the inadequacies of the current generation of pupils, rather than help them to succeed. While some of the pressure they face is due to the existing system, my experience as an educator tells me that the root problem lies with the quality of young people now.

Born into a world where advanced technology is at their fingertips, our children are accustomed to having everything quickly and with little effort. Over-reliance on technology can breed an impatient, attention-deficit, as well as mentally and physically slothful generation who cannot cope with anything that requires them to sit for hours to concentrate.

Many Singaporean parents lead busy, distracted lives and spend little quality time with their children. Even when they do so, they are preoccupied with their mobile devices half of the time. Over time, this sends their children a message that they are not that important to their parents, and the bonding process is weakened. Children who feel unloved or second-best are often less able to cope with the stresses of life.

Part of the loving process is physical discipline. The experience of pain can help children learn how to harness wayward passions responsibly and constructively. Sadly, many Singaporean parents are discarding this mode of training their children.

Without direct and consistent parental presence in the form of both tender loving and hard discipline, a child’s psyche can become unstable, and his/her thoughts misdirected. When pressure comes, the cracks show up easily.

This is why many parents wish to do away with school examinations; they do not want to have the fruit of their unsuccessful parenting exposed.

One could eradicate testing and allow children to play through pre-school and primary school. One might even do away with the O- and A-Levels. But when this exam-free and fun-centred generation take over the reins of our nation’s future, would they cope when problems arise? They can escape pressure for only so long; unexpected situations will reveal their inadequacies eventually.

For our children’s sake and our nation’s future, we must clean the inside of the cup also. That begins with parents.

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