Former Education Minister Ong Ye Kung opined that how young Singaporeans do on their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) does not determine their future, as 12-year-olds across the nation collected their PSLE results yesterday (25 Nov).
Mr Ong served in the Ministry of Education (MOE) for close to five years, since he was first elected to Parliament in the 2015 general election. Right after the election, he was made Cabinet minister and shared the education portfolio with fellow first-time MP Ng Chee Meng. He became the sole Minister for Education in the 2018 Cabinet reshuffle.
After the 2020 general election, which took place in July, Mr Ong was moved to the Ministry of Transport. Former National Development Minister Lawrence Wong now leads MOE.
Although it has been a few months since he left MOE, Mr Ong made a point to share his well wishes to students who were collecting their PSLE results this year. He also shared the story of a Singaporean – Shawn – who took an alternative path to success after doing poorly in his PSLE.
Mr Ong recounted that Shawn didn’t take his studies very seriously in primary school and didn’t do well for his PSLE. He enrolled into a Normal Technical course thereafter.
A turning point in Shawn’s life occurred when his brother decided to stop studying and join the workforce because he felt he could give Shawn a chance to go to university by contributing to his family finances.
Revealing that this was a wake-up call for Shawn, Mr Ong shared that the young man completed his N-Levels, enrolled in an Institute of Technical Education (ITE) course and went on to study at a Polytechnic.
Despite his hard work, Shawn could not get into a local university, because 20% of the University Admission Score needed to come from O-Levels at the time – Shawn had not taken his O-Levels.
Shawn’s dreams of attending university came true when the Land Transport Authority noticed him and offered him an overseas scholarship. Revealing that Shawn is an engineer working on the Thomson-East Coast Line today, Mr Ong said:
“The system in #Singapore is designed with many inter-linked pathways. How a child does at 12 years old does not determine his future. All the best to those who are collecting your PSLE results today.”
Read Mr Ong’s post in full HERE.