Education in Singapore has been receiving a lot of praise. When Singapore gained independence from the British, it was a low skill labor-driven market. However, over a period of 50 years, the government managed to create an incredibly advanced education system, where graduates went on into highly skilled jobs. How did this happen?
A Success Story: Education in Singapore
In 2015, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rated Singapore as having the best education system in the world. OECD director Andreas Schleicher says that students in Singapore are especially proficient in math and the sciences. In English, the average Singaporean 15-year-old student is 10 months ahead of students in western countries and is 20 months ahead in math. Singaporean students also score among the best in the world on international exams.
Education in Singapore is superior because the classes are focused on teaching the students specific problem solving skills and subjects. The classroom is highly scripted and the curriculum is focused on teaching students practical skills that will help them solve problems in the real world. Exams are extremely important and classes are tightly oriented around them.
Authorities in Singapore are also constantly trying to reevaluate and improve the education system. Recently, many students have reported rising levels of overstress and psychological problems brought on by academic rigor. In response, Singapore has stopped listing the top-scoring student on the national exam in order to ease some of the pressure students may feel. The country has also incorporated a strategy called Teach Less, Learn More, which encourages teachers to focus on the quality of education, not the quantity.
Another reason the education in Singapore is so excellent is simply the Singaporean culture. Parents play a crucial role in their child’s education. The “talent myth,” which states that some kids are naturally smarter than others, is non-existent in Singapore. A local newspaper, The Straits, reported that 70 percent of parents sign their children up for extra classes outside of their regular school hours. In local bookstores, over half of the store is dedicated to educational material.
The education system in Singapore is, in many ways, superior to the education system in the Western world. This is largely due to the country’s culture and first-rate educational leadership. Singapore has a lot to teach the rest of the world; if other countries would adopt some of Singapore’s strategies, there would surely be improvement in education around the globe.
– Bruce Edwin Ayres Truax