Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Absence of Creativity in S'pore

Govt through control of mainstream media likes to tout about awesome grades scored by top scorers during PSLE, N, O, A levels. What's missing is how come they don't follow up with what happen to those top scorers later in life?

During secondary school i loathe the idea of memorising & spitting out whatever memorised onto paper during tests & exams. During industrial age it may makes sense but with advent of internet with answers readily 'googleable' & walkthrough tutorial videos on youtube it makes memorising pretty much useless.

School system is perhaps the slowest to reform & is primarily a tool by govt to churn out primarily worker cogs to fill the economic machine. In the past govt promote engineering (which has pretty much hollowed out), then biotech, then waferfab. I see casinos as last ditch effort after the above mentioned industries didn't take off.

After being exposed to taiwanese dramas & current affairs talkshow is apparent creativity & educating the public is higher than in S'pore. Is also a reason i don't watch local shows & buy local papers.
Road to creativity

MR TAN Jiaqi's letter ('No template for creativity'; last Saturday) makes the excellent observation that the considerable absence of creativity among Singaporeans stems not merely from the pressures within classrooms but also from our socio-economic circumstances.

Far from being an exclusive Singaporean problem, educators around the world are beginning to recognise that a system that emphasises rote learning & the regurgitation of information in tests stifles young minds & limits the application of creative methodologies.

Situation is far more pronounced in Singapore - with our limited manpower - where parents' & students' expectations are premised on the need to be economically productive, fuelled by materialism and pragmatism.

Conformity is encouraged from the moment a child enters primary school. Not only are children exposed to standardised assessments & pressures, but they are also forced to go through a framework which places disproportionate emphasis on rigid teaching-learning processes.

Our society treats differences with disdain & expects everyone to turn out exactly the same. The message we should stress is this: Not every child is meant to be an academic, & so should not be trained or educated as one.

Problem is compounded when education is seen merely as a means to an end - the end being landing a good job & enjoying the comforts brought by material gains.

Co-curricular activities & leadership avenues are there to help students further their interests, but many have become obsessed with beefing up their portfolios to 'look good' in scholarship & college applications. Even something like community service has been abused for personal, pragmatic purposes.

Creativity can be nurtured only by giving a child the space & freedom to pursue his strengths & interest himself in endeavours or areas that he is passionate about & talented in. An educational institution's role should be to equip the student with the right skills to achieve his dreams & aspirations.

-Kwan Jin Yao

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant piece here! Can't believe this was written 4 years ago - it is still the same 4 years later, and it has been this way the (X times 4) years before that!

    The education system, coupled with NS (for the boys), helped by the dumbed-down TV programs and controlled press has more or less shaped Singaporeans to be what we are today. Plus, they make houses and cars so expensive so that the ordinary folks will have to work hard to put the dough on the table and have no time nor interest to even think of opposing the PAP. Also, it controls Singaporeans such that they/we will always be looking to attain our basest needs in "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs", and not be able to climb higher up the pyramid of needs.