High averages not enough

Tharman said that our education needs to become more multi-disciplinary as opposed to specialised so that our students may be better prepared for changes in interest and careers later in life. I beg to differ. It can be multi-disciplinary at the beginning, but it needs to be focused at the end because a jack of all trades can never master anything. Also, more often than not, it is not because their interests have changed but rather they have discovered their real interests that they change careers later on in life.

What the school really needs to do is to discover the innate talents and interests of the students and then encourage them to pursue those talents or interests wholeheartedly. What that means is to expose the students to as many subjects and topics as early as possible. Organise talks, visits or even attachments so that students know first hand what the major professions entail and can better choose their future careers. Rather than let them discover their real interests 10 years after they’ve left school, would it not be better that they’re exposed to all the various career choices while they are still in school so that they need not make that painful career transition later on in life?

The problem is that what the school offers is often linked to what the industry demands which in turn depends on what the government has decided to focus on. In other words, students do not have the luxury of choosing what they love most or what they are best at but has to instead choose from what is available.

Tharman also said that the most intrinsic outcome of education is to mould characters that pursue excellence. I beg to differ. The most important purpose of education is to make good citizens. Citizens with moral kindness, compassion and a sense of righteousness. When we have professors spitting on taxi drivers or taking revenge on his mistress, we can’t help but wonder if we’re not encouraging blind pursuance of excellence at the expense of basic moral goodness. When we have our mountain climbing hero, Khoo Swee Chiow forsaking his team mates so that he could achieve personal glory, we wonder what kind of sick society are we becoming? When we have our own prime minister openly bargaining with the people about how much money he should be getting, we can’t help but wonder if our education has truly failed.

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