An open letter addressing the flawed education system in Singapore

Initially starting out as side pocket money, teaching tuition has grown from a part-time job for Nicholas into one of his greatest achievements in life, Paramount Education.

To everyone out there who sincerely believes in the life long journey in education:

My name is Nicholas, and I understand the education environment extremely well. After all, I was in one of the world’s best education system for a huge part of my life. As Singaporeans, we have indeed done extremely well, where we are reported to be a ‘world-beater’ as we outshone countries academically, based on findings from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

I have had my fair share of tuition, straight down from primary school to tertiary levels. For certain subjects, it was to pull that failing grade up. But for others, it was to constantly build upon my knowledge so that I can secure an A+ in my exam paper. During my JC days, the only thing that is etched in my memory was school, tuition, homework, self-study – a repetitive cycle which I detested. To me and my parents, nothing else mattered other than the elusive A+ on my exam script.

Tuition didn’t come cheap. Teachers charge a premium because they know parents will never scrimp on an education. And they were right! Tuition had become the ‘norm’ and not having tuition conceived the mentality of their child ‘losing out’! Parents sourced for the best tuition in Singapore, the cheapest ones, and the most reliable. Tuition that guarantees A+ and highly rated based on its past performance.

However, in the relentless pursuit of grades, education seemed to have lost its meaning. Grades became the priority, no matter the cost. Students study for the sake of studying, and many forgot what they have learnt after completion of their exams. I find it extremely disheartening that our generation of students have forgotten that education is a life-long journey, and that learning is meant to by joyful, rather than torturous. Sadly, this is the truth of our flawed education system in Singapore. Our stellar achievements globally originates from our constant studying and cramming, rather than stemming from our innate curiosity to learn.

In order to break this cycle, Paramount Education was founded. Our purpose is to instil in every child a curiosity to learn, and to never stop learning. An A+ in your exams guarantees you a chance at an interview. From then on, emphasis on grades are less apparent, and prospective hires are judged based on their ability to think critically, be well-informed and opinionated in their thoughts. Being the brightest kid on the block no longer guarantees you a job, unlike in the past.

If the job market and hiring environment has evolved, it is inevitable that we too, must change. Our current education system lags behind in its teachings, and parents are too focused on results. Being result oriented is certainly not a flaw, but we must remember that there are more important matters than mindlessly producing results.

With this letter, I aim not to solve, but to question the status quo. I question our Singapore’s education system even though we are the ‘best’. I question the purpose of real education and what should be your end goal in this pursuit that takes up 20 years of our life.

I truly hope that one day, we will not study blindly. I hope that one day, we will learn for the sake of learning, and understand its application in our lives. An A+ in our exams is just part of the equation to a successful life.

Yours Sincerely
Nicholas Yon

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