Has academic kiasu-ism gone mad?

By The Keys Academy

It’s a fact that Singaporeans are no strangers to competition. Whether you are a student aspiring to enter some of the nations’ top schools, a fresh graduate vying for a stint with a distinguished firm or a parent doing your utmost to guarantee your child’s academic success, the kiasu-ness in us demands that we come out on top of the competition.

However, when more and more parents are sending their kids for tuition classes years in advance, one cannot help but wonder, has “academic kiasu-ism” truly gone out of control in Singapore? A recent article in The Straits Times seems to suggest this; and by extension, has our perceived reliance on tuition classes made education less enjoyable for students today?

This trend is not entirely doom-and-gloom – it is a sign that, to quote the article, “[more well-educated parents] want to play a hands-on role in their children’s education”. Parents play an integral role in fostering a child’s development, and that more parents are getting involved in their child’s educational well-being indicates the awareness of that critical responsibility.

Parents should be mindful of the fact that, when signing up their children for enrichment or accelerated lessons, their children’s interests and abilities should be their compass.

However, those are points for another day. The issue at hand is if private education is truly beneficial to a student’s learning. To that, the answer would be – yes, with certain qualifications.

While schools and schoolteachers are constrained by syllabuses, bureaucratic measures and performance indicators, tuition centres need only concern themselves with one objective – transforming learning into a more enjoyable and more practical experience. Instead of simply getting students to remember and understand what they study, the opportunities provided by tuition centres allow students to analyse, evaluate and even create new original work. English language classes with The Keys Academy, for example, allow students to critically evaluate real-world issues, and texts, by participating in speeches, presentations and mini class-debates.

Students can only take advantage of a unique learning environment if the learning is particularly customised to their strengths and weaknesses, and that is another feature which private education excels in. A personalised teaching system transforms education-as-transaction into education-as-dialogue by involving students’ feedback and needs in developing a syllabus. Effective tuition centres are able to not only promote a more positive learning experience, but also adapt lessons to better suit the needs of students. In a conventional class setting, this would be practically impossible.

Ultimately, while tuition centres may offer a greater level of personalised education, constant feedback and more flexible lessons, parents need to ensure their children are truly benefiting from additional classes. Parents only want the best for their children, and naturally wish for them to have the upper hand. But more tuition should not lead to more stress. If tuition is “enrichment”, then let it be that – a more enriching and fulfilling learning experience.

One thought on “Has academic kiasu-ism gone mad?

  1. There is a huge amount of truth to this article. All over the world intelligence and educational success is based upon achieving a specific level of academic achievement, yet this is selling our kids short.

    Not every child is a natural mathematician, scientist, artist, writer, musician or computer programmer and one of the most significant problems in education today is that the majority of parents and teachers alike expect a child to the same mould, and if they don’t, that child id deemed to be a failure.

    Most adults pride themselves on being an individual with individual talents and skills, yet we see our children quite differently. In an age of technology where creativity and innovation are to be encouraged and fostered, our education system still operates as a system of mass production ignoring and failing to identify and develop the talents and skills that every child is born with.

    Worst of all we marginalize those children deemed as having Special Needs. yet so many of those children are blessed with a talent and skills in a particular A perfect example are those 1 in 7 children with some form of Dyslexia, yet look at just how many of our past and present, respected and esteemed business, political and scientific leaders are Dyslexic. Yet under our existing system of education, they are often deemed as being failures.

    We should be doing so much better as society.

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