I happened to be out at the mall closest to my home on Tuesday around lunchtime. It was the end of the PSLE for many (who were not sitting for higher MT).
Students were chatting excitedly as they queued together outside food outlets and drink stalls. Smiles were plastered on their faces as I could hear snippets of their post-examination plans while passing by them.
As I rode on the public bus back home to my place, I passed by basketball courts with students joyfully playing a game of soccer or basketball, even in the mid-day heat.
I couldn’t help but smile all the way home as I thought about how happy my own students would be after they completed their last paper.
As much as I have issues with the amount of academic stress our students face at the tender age of 12, I once overheard a Singaporean explain to a group of foreigners what the PSLE was. She said that it was a ‘rite of passage’ that all Singaporean children had to go through. She was right. I went through the PSLE too…but without the current fanfare and academic pressure. In fact, even without all the tuition and stressful exams, I turned out not too bad 😛
Over the years, our ‘rite of passage’ has been set at an increasingly higher level. Every year, I analyse the PSLE English paper and in my opinion it is set to be more challenging yearly. I repeatedly warned my students this year not to expect an easy paper!
The newest changes in the education system is welcomed news. Who in their right mind would not want to build a love of learning for each child through his or her elementary school years? Eliminating examinations at certain stages of their school life can be one of those ways.
But will the examination system remain the same at the end of their Primary school years?
Will the PSLE papers keep increasing in the level of difficulty?
Are there other means of testing that can quantify a child’s capabilities to move on to a secondary school?
Will the P5 student be prepared for the PSLE year if they are tested only at the end of the year?
For now, I celebrate with my 2018 P6 students as they relax and have fun after their stressful year.
At the same time, I welcome my 2019 batch of students as we begin our journey on our PSLE year.
I wish them a wonderful and fruitful year ahead!
Happy Children’s Day!