"your school improve!"
Every(which Singapore celebrates this year from 28 Jan. to 11 Feb.), this is one of the most commonly heard for students in Singapore. As married couples red (similar to otoshidama) to their school-age family members, they often say "学业进步!" 学业 means school grades, 进步 and means improvement.
As in many Asian countries, parents in Singaporegrades, and from a young age. Many are sent to "brain improvement" courses, even if they can understand what the instructors are saying. Older kids take lessons in language , speech and .
Some parents prefer to let their kids have more free time. But those kids may be thein class. A friend told me how her daughter to because all her classmates were going to an extra class , and she felt . Another friend how her son's teacher advised her to send the child for maths enrichment, because all his classmates were learning in-depth stuff outside of school, and he might .
"Doesn't this create a?" she asked. "Everyone gets stressed out because everyone else is learning more difficult work, and the teachers end up ."
I wonder if this is one of the reasons why Singaporean kidsin international tests. A global released in November showed that Singaporean students are the world's best in mathematics and science. Our Primary 4 pupils (usually 9- and 10-year-olds) and Secondary 2 students (13- and 14-year-olds) both subjects in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, an widely recognised by and educators worldwide.
The results were widely discussed in the media. Some people asked why Singapore couldn't produce topor despite these excellent results. Others said that doing well in a test did not mean we had other crucial qualities such as innovation and .
Whatever the test results may mean, perhaps what's more important is what we want for our children. Do we want to measure their worth through academic grades? Or are we willing toand think about what is truly essential for a child? Of course it's important to try our best in what we do, but if our grades fall behind despite trying our best, does it mean we've failed?
So as Ired packets to my nieces, nephews and cousins this Chinese New Year, I'm not going to say "学业进步!" Instead, I'll say, "开心学习!" ("Happy learning!") and "笑口常开!" ("Keep smiling!").
The Japan Times ST: February 10, 2017