SINGAPORE - The shifts in education policy announced in last Sunday's National Day Rally (NDR) must catalyse mindset changes among parents or they will have no impact, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said last Wednesday night.
"If parents' mindsets don't change, whatever changes we make will not have any impact," he said, rounding off a public forum on the Rally held by government feedback unit Reach.
About 180 people - ranging from grassroots leaders and unionists to business representatives and students - attended the forum at Rendezvous Grand Hotel.
Some of the 21 participants who spoke were sceptical about the effectiveness of proposed moves, such as replacing the T-score for Primary School Leaving Examination results with broader bands of grades.
In response, Mr Heng said the changes announced in the Rally should not be seen in isolation.
In education, for instance, the overarching aim is "to be able to create opportunities for every child regardless of background".
He reminded the audience of his ministry's work in that regard over the past few years, from investing more in pre-schools to giving needy children a stronger foundation in basic skills such as mathematics and languages.
And in the NDR speech, one measure to create opportunities was giving flexibility to Secondary 1 students in all streams to study subjects at a higher level, if they are good enough.
"If you look at this whole package of measures, it is not about one measure announced by the Prime Minister... It is part of our whole philosophy or approach," he said.
The minister also defended the ideal of making every school a good school.