SINGAPORE - Last Sunday's article ("Report card on reforms still mixed") on Hong Kong's major education reforms reflects the dilemma within Singapore's own system.
On the one hand, there is a need to develop all-round and creative students, but on the other hand, we have to assess them through high-stakes exams for the purpose of entry into institutions of higher learning.
As long as there is a limit on the number of places in such institutions, there will be stress.
The challenges we face today are similar to Hong Kong's 13 years ago. Where Hong Kong is today may well be where our education system will take us in 13 years' time.
Are there lessons our Ministry of Education (MOE) can draw, so we do not end up with an increasingly stressful and tuition-dependent system like Hong Kong's? Has the MOE thoroughly examined how the recent changes to our system can be implemented, to determine their feasibility?
Thus far, our education system has invested and reserved the best resources for the brightest.
Perhaps it is time to reverse the focus and make the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) the envy of all schools in Singapore and the world. Lecturers from world-renowned polytechnics could come to teach in the ITE.
In a nutshell, reserve the best resources for ITE students.
Then, the fear associated with ending up in the ITE will be greatly reduced. Major exams will not be feared, tuition will no longer be necessary, and study stress may become manageable.
Grace Chua Siew Hwee (Madam)
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.