The local education system: advice for parents

Interested to get your child into a local Primary School? Discuss the opportunities here.
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Post by nanana » Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:10 pm

x9200 wrote:Surely you are right but I have always thought teachers are the core part of the system.
Let me put it this way, say this school has a fantastic program that will ensure holistic development of the child. But, the teachers at the school just can't deliver the program efficiently, for whatever reason that might be (e.g not passionate about teaching, personal issues, attitude problem, over worked, over stressed etc). Don't think the child will benefit much if he/she is in the class of this kind of teacher.

and PNGMK was right about the stupid ass meetings, and not to mention all sort of stupid paper work, documentation, and other stupid side duties apart from teaching.

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Post by Dalila2 » Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:40 pm

My son goes to a local school here, he is in P4 and good English is not your problem. Now that we have that out of the way, excessive cursing IS a really big problem. He is very social and has lots of friends, when they come to our house before they can enter they have to promise they will not use foul language. The promise is often out the window as soon as they take their shoes off, but I have no problem telling them about it.

You should be more worried about math, .... and science ...
I know other politicians are coming to Singapore to ask how they can implement that into their own countries school systems, but let me tel you right away that Singapore math and science curriculum is not a joke. I have even meet some parents who have put their kids to local school just for the world praised math

If you want your kids to go to a university you will either need to study with them our hire a tutor. Now, you could argue that my son is just not smart enough, but that is only because you have never seen the test.

The real question here is is your child ready for the local school curriculum? And don't be fooled by P1-P3 results. My son was over 90% in all subjects until P4, now only English is still above 90% and he is not an artist or a poet.

You have to fully embrace the Singapore culture for your children to be able to thrive in the local school. If you have negative thoughts about any part of it your kids will feel the same. You live here, be part of it.

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Post by aster » Sat, 16 Aug 2014 3:16 am

Dalila2 wrote:My son goes to a local school here, he is in P4 and good English is not your problem. Now that we have that out of the way, excessive cursing IS a really big problem.

The real question here is is your child ready for the local school curriculum? And don't be fooled by P1-P3 results. My son was over 90% in all subjects until P4, now only English is still above 90% and he is not an artist or a poet.

You have to fully embrace the Singapore culture for your children to be able to thrive in the local school. If you have negative thoughts about any part of it your kids will feel the same. You live here, be part of it.
English is a problem with the local school system. Unless you are from an English-language family your kid will be semi-illiterate after going through the local school system. Even the whole idea of it being an English-language educational system is just a gimmick.

Parents here seem to get a kick out of pushing their kids early (it's like some obsession similar to those tv reality shows where some parents enter their young kids into beauty pageants). But education isn't a sprint - it's a marathon. Where you are after 3-4 years isn't important, it's the "end product" that matters.

IMO education here lies in the parents' hands, it's mostly up to them to make sure that the kid doesn't end up as a semi-illiterate person with a lack of communication skills. If you just leave the child's education to the school then things will not look good...

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Post by x9200 » Sat, 16 Aug 2014 7:19 am

nanana wrote:
x9200 wrote:Surely you are right but I have always thought teachers are the core part of the system.
Let me put it this way, say this school has a fantastic program that will ensure holistic development of the child. But, the teachers at the school just can't deliver the program efficiently, for whatever reason that might be (e.g not passionate about teaching, personal issues, attitude problem, over worked, over stressed etc). Don't think the child will benefit much if he/she is in the class of this kind of teacher.

and PNGMK was right about the stupid ass meetings, and not to mention all sort of stupid paper work, documentation, and other stupid side duties apart from teaching.
Again, I agree, but it does not change anything. If, despite of a good program the teachers can not deliver, still something is wrong and if this is not a single teacher but like majority of them, this is the system that is wrong (IMHO).
But frankly, I don't think this is the case in Singapore. This system, as mentioned earlier, seems to be focused on academic achievements (rewards, scores etc.) and it does it very very well. Something like this is not a side effect of bad or busy teachers as this requires directed effort. The effort is there, but it is the effort put in a wrong area.

Personally I think, most of these teachers are educated based on rota type of learning. How can they teach to think if this is completely outside of their boxes? Why should they do it if what is expected are just the achievements, scores, numbers? Do not question anything, memorize vs question everything, memorize just basics, learn to recognize the connections/relationships (a good school).

Side point: do you know how it shows in uni* students (the end product of the process)? In the level of micromanagement required to complete any complex task. It also shows as highly specialized but isolated knowledge. You successfully completed and defended your PhD on a market price variations in the sells of fountain pens and you are a God of it knowing practically everything in this area, but you have no idea what the fountain pen is because it was not required.

*) unlikely an average parent will see anything wrong at the early-mid stages of the education, but as the other poster mentioned, this is a marathon with the end product that matters.

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Post by aster » Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:35 pm

x9200 wrote:*) unlikely an average parent will see anything wrong at the early-mid stages of the education, but as the other poster mentioned, this is a marathon with the end product that matters.
I was recently approached by some early teens who wanted to ask some questions for their school project, and already at that stage I was startled by their dire English and extremely poor communication skills. Already at this stage the local system does more harm than good...

What locals don't realise is that academics have their role to play but they should never be at the cost of a child's development in other areas. Just looking at some of the elite schools in the world like Eton that have regularly churned out prime ministers or other leaders - it is not academics that make their pupils stand out.

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Post by Dalila2 » Sat, 16 Aug 2014 4:12 pm

aster wrote:
x9200 wrote:*) unlikely an average parent will see anything wrong at the early-mid stages of the education, but as the other poster mentioned, this is a marathon with the end product that matters.
I was recently approached by some early teens who wanted to ask some questions for their school project, and already at that stage I was startled by their dire English and extremely poor communication skills. Already at this stage the local system does more harm than good...

What locals don't realise is that academics have their role to play but they should never be at the cost of a child's development in other areas. Just looking at some of the elite schools in the world like Eton that have regularly churned out prime ministers or other leaders - it is not academics that make their pupils stand out.
It is more about being at the right place at the right time ... and knowing the right uncle sure helps. I have met way more than one manager with extremely poor command of English. Two years ago Regional CEO of a big MNC sent out an email that was going around as a bad joke

Does this impact their job performance and people around them? Yes it does, they don't understand what they are doing and are therefore making wrong decision. Does anyone care? Nope, not one little bit, some of them are even being promoted. They are not from Singapore, so you can't blame the government on this one. :)

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Post by aster » Sun, 17 Aug 2014 2:13 am

Right, so now your tone has changed from "oh, what a wonderful educational system we have" to "it's all about connections" or people not knowing what they are doing so they make bad decisions... but get promoted anyway? So what exactly is your point then?

I'm not blaming the gahmen at all. Every educational system has its pros and cons, nobody is perfect. It's just that (some, not all) local parents seem to think that the Singaporean way is vastly superior and light years ahead of the rest of the world. But then these same people think that it's an English-language educational system, so I guess they'll believe *anything*... :)

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Post by Dalila2 » Sun, 17 Aug 2014 12:16 pm

I wasn't talking about Singapore alone, I have lived on 3 different continents.
And there are many good and bad succesfull people.

My point is that proper English will not guarantee success in life (I thought it was clear we are discussing English). If you can't recognise a good oportunity in life then your 30k a year school diploma is worthless. Do not discard the local schools just because you think their English is not up to your standards. International Schools, beside the price, have lots of shortcomings too.

As for the uncle, I just said it's helpful, not that it is the norm.
Try to have a career path in any western country. Most of the positions are already taken and people sitting on those chairs are not moving, jobs are scarse. But here, on the other hand, is not so hard to get a good job. So no matter how good your English is or how expensive your schooling was, your career is most likely dead in the West. Unless, of course, you are lucky enough to work at a field that is very in right now. In that case, more power to you.

As I said before, the more important question is can your child cope with local school's math and science?

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Post by aster » Sun, 17 Aug 2014 6:30 pm

Dalila2 wrote:As I said before, the more important question is can your child cope with local school's math and science?
All kids can, you just have to push them from P1. The real question is where is all this leading to? Yet another gimmick ("my kid can play with numbers up to 100 in P1, woo hoo"), perhaps? :)

Loads of countries seem to have a proper maths curriculum without the need to go overboard with P1 pupils. In fact this is one area that matters in the latter years and doesn't need to be shoved down kids' throats to such an extent, at such an early age. See anything wrong with Japanese or German engineering? Didn't the US put a man on the moon in 1969? Every time you step onboard Singapore Airlines' newest planes (or in fact any of their jets), who do you think designed those? :)

Seriously, time to stop with the gimmicks and look at the complete picture.

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Post by PNGMK » Sun, 17 Aug 2014 7:53 pm

Dalila2 wrote:My son goes to a local school here, he is in P4 and good English is not your problem. Now that we have that out of the way, excessive cursing IS a really big problem. He is very social and has lots of friends, when they come to our house before they can enter they have to promise they will not use foul language. The promise is often out the window as soon as they take their shoes off, but I have no problem telling them about it.

You should be more worried about math, .... and science ...
I know other politicians are coming to Singapore to ask how they can implement that into their own countries school systems, but let me tel you right away that Singapore math and science curriculum is not a joke. I have even meet some parents who have put their kids to local school just for the world praised math

If you want your kids to go to a university you will either need to study with them our hire a tutor. Now, you could argue that my son is just not smart enough, but that is only because you have never seen the test.

The real question here is is your child ready for the local school curriculum? And don't be fooled by P1-P3 results. My son was over 90% in all subjects until P4, now only English is still above 90% and he is not an artist or a poet.

You have to fully embrace the Singapore culture for your children to be able to thrive in the local school. If you have negative thoughts about any part of it your kids will feel the same. You live here, be part of it.
Good post and good points. I do think English a problem in the local school system and swearing is actually symptomatic of the problem (they don't understand the words and are not articulate enough in English to use other words).

Singapore - where everyone is semi literate in two languages and inarticulate in three.

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Post by PNGMK » Sun, 17 Aug 2014 7:58 pm

aster wrote:
Dalila2 wrote:As I said before, the more important question is can your child cope with local school's math and science?
All kids can, you just have to push them from P1. The real question is where is all this leading to? Yet another gimmick ("my kid can play with numbers up to 100 in P1, woo hoo"), perhaps? :)

Loads of countries seem to have a proper maths curriculum without the need to go overboard with P1 pupils. In fact this is one area that matters in the latter years and doesn't need to be shoved down kids' throats to such an extent, at such an early age. See anything wrong with Japanese or German engineering? Didn't the US put a man on the moon in 1969? Every time you step onboard Singapore Airlines' newest planes (or in fact any of their jets), who do you think designed those? :)

Seriously, time to stop with the gimmicks and look at the complete picture.
+1. The day Singapore wins a prize in mathematics at a global level... I'll retreat on my opinion that the local school system pushes MAth at the expense of other subjects.

The current winner of the Fields medal is an Iranian WOMAN FFS! I know Iran is a leader in engineering but that should really put Singapore to shame.

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/maryam-mir ... lds-medal/
http://www.wired.com/2014/08/maryam-mir ... lds-medal/

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Post by PNGMK » Sun, 17 Aug 2014 8:01 pm

nanana wrote:
x9200 wrote:Surely you are right but I have always thought teachers are the core part of the system.
Let me put it this way, say this school has a fantastic program that will ensure holistic development of the child. But, the teachers at the school just can't deliver the program efficiently, for whatever reason that might be (e.g not passionate about teaching, personal issues, attitude problem, over worked, over stressed etc). Don't think the child will benefit much if he/she is in the class of this kind of teacher.

and PNGMK was right about the stupid ass meetings, and not to mention all sort of stupid paper work, documentation, and other stupid side duties apart from teaching.
Don't ever get my wife started on the software they have to use and that the school head of IT (a real dick by the sound of it ) INSISTED they all had to migrate to macs... guess who can do their work now? Only the ones who insisted on not handing in their Acers at the end of last year.

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Post by earthfriendly » Sat, 25 Oct 2014 1:37 pm

"I urge you to lead well in this respect, building a culture of teachers growing teachers in your school, where each person takes ownership of his or her own learning," he said. He also urged the educators to reflect on the educational and career guidance given to students.

"In society today, there, unfortunately, exists an unhealthy lack of regard for certain jobs," he said. "But... teachers should help students discover the path best suited for them.

"We should work towards encouraging them to pursue their interests, regardless of their qualifications, and help them to turn their passion into their careers."

He said shifting the mindsets of parents, students, and fellow educators was a work in progress.
From the Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

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Re: The local education system: advice for parents

Post by joydesiree » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 3:49 pm

Hi everyone, I'm a reporter from TODAY newspaper. We heard a rumour that expat parents here received a notice from MOE saying you can no longer place your children in local schools. Was wondering if this is true and if any one has received such a notice? Would love to find out more and to chat!

Please feel free to contact me at joyfangz@mediacorp.com.sg or 6357-4724 if this affects you :)

Thanks much!

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Re: The local education system: advice for parents

Post by maneo » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 8:13 pm

Are you asking here because you don't believe the answer that MOE gave you?
:-k

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