Responding to Education Minister Lawrence Wong’s advise to 12-year-olds that they are not defined by their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results, some netizens have asked why some prospective employers demand to see job applicants’ PSLE scores if what he said was really true.
On Wednesday (25 Nov), Mr Wong had urged pupils who were collecting their PSLE results against dwelling too much on how they did. Encouraging students that there are many pathways to success and that the PSLE is just one assessment in their learning journey, Mr Wong advised on Facebook:
“Whatever your results, there is no need to dwell too much on them. Your scores do not define you, and certainly do not determine your future. There are many late bloomers who didn’t so well in school, but later blossomed and excelled in their chosen fields.
“Conversely there are also cautionary tales of those who scored high early in life, but then became complacent and never quite achieved their full potential.”
He added: “The point is that PSLE is just one assessment in your journey of learning, which will continue for the rest of your life. So take it in perspective. What’s more important is an attitude and mindset to keep on improving and learning, and to excel at whatever you do.”
While the Minister’s advise drew praise in some quarters, it was criticised in others. Although the Government has been trying to move away from an over-emphasis on academic results, some Singaporeans feel that the PSLE remains a tremendous source of pressure for 12-year-olds since their scores determine which secondary schools they can enter.
PSLE scores form a large part of secondary schools’ admissions process. Those who perform very well may get admission into schools like Raffles Institution (RI), which is widely considered an ‘elite’ school, while the options for those who get average or poor scores are far more limited.
Some netizens responding to Mr Wong’s comment that individuals are not defined by their scores also asked why hiring managers ask to see their PSLE scores if this was the case.
Netizens also asked why the Government imposes a national exam on 12-year-olds if they need not dwell too much on their scores and why initiatives like the Gifted Education Programme is not available for all students if they are not defined by their scores.
Others also shared anecdotes of how firms in the public sector and prominent companies like Singapore Airlines allegedly ask to see prospective employees’ PSLE results even though they can rely on more up-to-date academic results instead of the scores from an examination taken at the age of 12.
While some netizens felt that the pressure over PSLE is caused by society, others felt that societal pressure is a result of government policies and that the stories of those who have broken barriers are not as common as one might like to think. Read the top comments here: