School Exams: “Time to unwind without losing fundamental principles of meritocracy”
PUBLISHED ON 29 Aug 2019
Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung said that it is time for parents to unwind without losing the fundamental principles of meritocracy.
Speaking at a forum with parents and students which examined the Ministry of Education’s (MOE's) efforts to reduce emphasis on grades and examinations, Mr Ong said that parents should re-evaluate the things that add stress to their and their children’s lives. These include parents' WhatsApp chat group and examinations being used to measure a person.
Mr Ong said that Singaporeans value meritocracy and that means places, jobs and promotions will be allocated based on performance.
He acknowledged that examinations could still be the best way to gauge a child’s performance but he said, “We have reached a stage where we might be overdoing it and I think it is time to unwind without losing the fundamental principles of meritocracy.”
While cutting exams would not “change the system fundamentally”, Mr Ong said that it is a step towards introducing an alternate mode of entry to secondary school and beyond, based on the individual talents a child possesses and the authorities are trying their best to “make a sea change in the system”.
On the emphasis on paper qualifications, Mr Ong said that it is reasonable for employers to ask for qualifications, especially when a job requires knowledge in a specific subject, but it cannot be the only yardstick. “Increasingly, you have to decide what kind of skills, what kind of competencies, what kind of character suits (your) company and you must have more sophisticated techniques to sieve out such people,” he added.

Image: TODAY Online