SINGAPORE: A school assignment requesting students to pen an appeal for pop superstar Taylor Swift to visit their school has generated mixed reactions among netizens, with some viewing it as an opportunity for creativity and engagement, while others question why the school has taken a light-hearted comment by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing seriously.
On Friday, Mr Chan said on Instagram that he had had numerous requests to declare a school holiday when Swift comes to Singapore to perform next March. He said:
“I hear you, I feel you. But I am concerned how fans of Coldplay, Blackpink, BTS, Beyoncé, and others will feel too. I am also concerned that this may further fuel inflation as some overseas reports have suggested.
“How about this? If any creative and enterprising fan can invite her (or any other A listers just to be fair) to your school to perform free of charge, we can have your school declare a school holiday?! Then everyone gets to enjoy this inclusive concert!”
Making it clear that his remarks are made in jest, Mr Chan added: “Oops… If she turns up and your school declares a school holiday, then will you all still turn up that day?? Ok, if you can invite her to your school to perform free of charge, your school will have the next day off? Better? Try not to have her come on Fri then…?”
Some teachers, however, may have taken the Minister’s stab at humour seriously.
A netizen posted on Singapore subreddit an assignment for students at a local school and said that their cousin is among the students who were told to complete the task.
The assignment is a situational writing exercise that appears part of a test. Worth 30 marks, the assignment’s detailed instructions position the Minister’s comment as a challenge to the students and ask them to write a persuasive appeal to convince Taylor Swift to visit their school.
Netizens quickly took to social media to express their amusement and disbelief at the assignment. Some questioned the school’s decision to take the Minister’s comment seriously and criticized the assignment as a potential distraction from academic pursuits.
One netizen, responding to the assignment on a Telegram chatgroup, humorously remarked, “Will the next assignment be drafting a letter to invite unicorns for a tea party?”
The overall sentiment expressed online suggests a prevailing perception that the assignment may have missed the mark in terms of appropriateness and relevance to academic learning.
However, supporters of the assignment argue that it encourages creative thinking and imaginative writing skills among students. They believe it provides an opportunity for students to explore persuasive writing techniques while engaging with popular culture. Some also assert that the assignment helps foster a sense of fun and lightheartedness in the school environment.
Others took a more neutral stance, highlighting the importance of maintaining a balance between academic rigour and incorporating elements of creativity into the curriculum. They suggested that assignments should be well-aligned with educational goals and provide opportunities for critical thinking and analytical skills development.