The Singapore education system has been noted for the high stress of participating students. The education system, with its unique characteristics and unique needs, had led to the establishment of the streaming system in 1984.
The implementation of streaming was to cater to the needs of each student according to his or her academic ability. Streaming sought to prevent the occasion where academically inclined students become insufficiently challenged with the educational curriculum and weaker students struggle to keep afloat. Hence, by streaming students, it allowed for the academically stronger students to be categorized and placed in a more rigorous course, whereas weaker students are given more time and guidance in their learning.
However, this system has instilled high stress levels in the students as individuals strive to get into the top stream to be given a more challenging education. To be able to cope with a challenging and rigorous course curriculum is tied in together with an individual’s pride, where being enrolled in the top stream meant that an individual is more ‘intellectual’ than others in a lower stream. Stress comes not only in the form of academics. Students also compete on the basis of who can ‘do it all’, excelling both in co-curricular activities as well as academics. A successful student, in this case, not only excels academically, but also participates actively in co-curricular activities, community service projects and holds leadership positions in school. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~han20a/classweb/challenges.html
Anybody who has gone through 15 to 20 years of studies in Singapore will tell you the same thing. There is an overbearing focus on grades and paper qualifications are elevated to unholy heights and worshipped. Students are taught to be risk-averse in our rigid and conformist education environment. Plenty of precious energy and attention is diverted to practicing answering questions...
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