Singapore — In the wake of a PSLE math question that went viral last week, Mdm Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, shared a Facebook post condemning the criticism of the Ministry of Education.
In Mr Ng’s much-shared post, he said, “Authority-bashing is really easy on Social Media too.”
The PSLE maths question went viral on social media on Friday (Oct 1) after parents lamented the tears their children shed over the extra difficult questions.
It reads, “Helen and Ivan had the same number of coins. Helen had a number of 50-cent coins and 64 20-cent coins. These coins had a mass of 1.134 kg. Ivan had a number of 50-cent coins and 104 20-cent coins.”
Candidates were asked who had more coins and by how much. They were also asked for the mass of Ivan’s coins in kilograms based on the weight of each 50-cent coin being 2.7 grams heavier than a 20-cent coin.
It is unclear if the question was shared precisely how it appeared in the exam or paraphrased by the adult who posted it online.
After the question went viral, several parents took to Education Minister Chan Chun Sing’s Facebook post to call for a “revamp” of the country’s education system.
However, Mr Ng, and presumably the team behind Singapore Matters as well as Mdm Ho, have an entirely different view.
“𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚 𝐬𝐲𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐦 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧,” wrote Mr Ng, adding, “Do we really want to dumb the standards of our examinations just to make sure every child achieved top grades?”
He went on to say that the majority of people who complained online about the question are adults who “led the way and their children will now think that this may be the way to go to assess their own performance in future, ie. *it is MOE’s fault that I obtained a not-so-desirable score.’”
He seemed to take exception to the possibility of the score being moderated if the complaints gain traction, and children becoming trained “to always find fault with others each time they don’t do well.”
This, he said, would ultimately be to the detriment of the students.
“You are also giving your kids the wrong sense that the World out there is all roses and butterflies, and that the world should revolve around the kids. You are just setting your kids up for more disappointment later in life,” he wrote, later admonishing his “educator friends who are also participating in the big outcry against the paper.”
Mr Ng also warned that the students may lose “completely the beauty of a growth mindset” and “may cease one day to take personal responsibility for their own performances.”
Furthermore, he added that good education prepares students for the real world.
“Must parents and the many adults out there still insist the PSLE is nothing but Life and the only elixir to a good and successful Life?,” added Mr Ng. /TISG
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