12 Nov 2012

We now interrupt the examinations for a brief rant

I'm at the first pit stop of this demanding race. This was never meant to be a continuous marathon, but still the rest is more than welcome.

"Oh but shouldn't you take this time you're given to revise for the other exams?" Hold your horses. I of course will do that. For now I rest. I still have three days before the next paper.

But for now I can bid farewell to Maths and GP... well it's more like sending it away for a while on a vacation because it's inevitable I'll meet both again in some form. These are the topics that seem more or less indispensable to many people of various occupations. 

Well what now? I've been thinking about where to go from after the exams. Knowing that I've been labelled as PES E and very likely to end up with an 8-to-5 admin job in some office during my NS stint, I figured I'd have time for other commitments. Should I take up extra courses somewhere to further my education while I wait to be admitted into a university? Maybe learn some extra skills that need not be relevant to whatever I'll learn in the university, but still be useful in everyday contexts? 

Even now I'm still swinging between certain career paths: sure I do have inclinations towards anything music-related, but there are many other possibilities that I'm fine with. Perhaps game-making? Chemical engineering? 

Never mind, there's still time to sort that out after the 'A' Levels. 

Meanwhile, the education system is going through a few overhauls. The latest one is a "slight" amendment to the Singapore Youth Festival competitions. Instead of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, there are now their equivalent certificates, the intention being to alleviate the unnecessary stress placed on striving to "gain the gold for the glory of the school". And the name change to Singapore Youth Celebrations will also take effect next.

You know what I think they should do? Just straight up tell the teachers and students and parents and related staff to CUT IT OUT. You know, put TV adverts of a girl ballerina stumbling in the middle of a performance and not getting first place, but the teachers and parents and classmates are all proud of her anyway and she still feels like a winner. Or ask schools to decorate their campuses with posters telling students messages like "Excellence does not lie in medals or prizes, but simply in doing your best" or "There are some things more valuable than gold and silver" or other similar cheesy messages to remind students and teachers to stop being so thirsty for gold. Not to stop being thirsty altogether though, but at least to not crave it so much that you end up severely compromising on studies and certain aspects of well-being.

Hmm... you could extend it to other areas like PSLE. That's another area that parents have been incessantly complaining about the stress it places on their children at such a tender age. As though eliminating PSLE altogether or adjusting it to not filter students so finely would get rid of the problem completely... the attitudes of parents also need some adjusting. Even down the road with the newer system there would still be hordes of parents still complaining about their stressed-out children. 

Have they ever considered that part of the stress is imposed onto the students by their parents themselves? It's not wrong to strive to get into the best schools by scoring really great marks, but getting anything less isn't the end of the world. There are many people who didn't come from the top schools but still emerged as powerful influencers that made their mark on the world. 

Unless you happen to be the sort of parent who likes to show off his/her child's achievements to others as though they were the heads of game you killed, or the vintage bottles of wine you keep in your cellar. In that case stop it! Quit treating your child like a piece of bling to attach onto your waistcoat to flaunt at uninterested passersby with. Go find other better things to do that'd satisfy your craving for public recognition and acknowledgement, that doesn't involve putting unneeded stress onto your child. Improve your golfing skills. Learn to knit. Earn a diploma or degree in some course. Whatever.

So here we are, the education system and I both unsure of the next steps to take because repercussions are sure to arise. The question is which repercussion we're both okay to accept, either because we can deal with them, or we'd rather live with them than suffer worse fates. We've both been so tightly intertwined for so many years, and as we start to part temporarily, we also begin to step into areas of uncertainty.

I've just recommended some possible advice for some of the education system's dilemas. I wish it could do the same for my problems :/