Sunday, September 21, 2014

Education in Singapore


Education does not start nor end with literacy which is just one of the important rungs on the education ladder. A baby's education -- learning, starts the day it's born, along with the caregiver's. A prime example of learning is; crying brings food or a change of diaper or company!

If the child doesn't have the two fingers and a thumb grip, it's difficult to hold a crayon. If a teacher is not well trained, the child does not learn at its optimal ability. 

In today's post Sagar and Sapna talk about education.


Education in Singapore

Twelve year old Sapna found her sixteen year old brother, Sagar reading from an old newspaper.

Sapna asked, "Bhaiya, are you reading a Hindi newspaper? How much do you understand?"

Sagar, "I am trying to figure it out, and it's not Hindi, it's in Marathi!"

"I didn't know Hindi and Marathi write the same way."

"Yeah, they are both in the Devanagari script, the same as Sanskrit."

Sapna said, "Oh, I get it, it's like English, Spanish, German and others that have the same letters but different pronunciation and vocabulary."

Sagar said, "Right. But listen to this, when a student in Singapore writes the wrong answer to a question in the answer sheet, the teacher writes the correct answer before returning it to the student. The teachers get punished if a child fails to understand! And if you want to be a teacher, you have to be in the top one third in your twelfth grade."

Sapna nodded, "That's cool, unless the teachers know, they can't teach."

Sagar said, "That's all fine and dandy but the population of Singapore is just around five million! I wonder if it can be implemented in the US or India or anywhere else in the world!"

Sapna agreed, "I guess, it can't be done here." 

Sagar said, "Hey, listen to this, the students get 'skill education', vocational education in different fields including, baking and experiments in farming!"

"Experiments in farming?"

"Yeah, there's no farming in Singapore. Also, if you want to study beyond the twelfth grade, you must take military education too. Now I like that. Of course the education after twelfth stresses research.  Hmmm, now they want to invest in 'critical thinking'!"

Sapna said, "I am okay with all these points except the military education."

Suchi and Soori had joined their brother and sister by now. 

Soori said, "Military means shooting, does the school you are talking about have guns?"

Suchi said, "That sounds neat, learning to use a gun, safely I guess."

Sagar patted her head, "Dream on girl, you are not going to this school, it's in Singapore."

Sapna asked, "What else does it say?"

Sagar smiled, "Yeah, no exams in the first grade, board exam after the sixth grade. You get only letter grades. And you start school at age seven!" 

Soori said, "Start school at seven? That means, Suchi, we'd be in the first grade just now, and no exam for us!"

Sapna laughed, "Ha! Again, dream on girls, we are not going to Singapore. And, you'd be in second grade, you are eight."

Sagar said, "But Suchi-Soori, you get four vacations for going to school from January to December. I'd say that's a good deal, right Sapna?"

Sapna said, "Yep, four vacations -- study in Singapore."

Suchi said, "Okay, we'll pack our bags and go to Singapore."

Soori said, "Yeah, we'll go to Singapore, Bhaiya, you and didi will have to come with us because we need chaperons!"

Sagar said, "Okay, let's all go to Singapore, we'll have to study Tamil and Chinese along with English."

Sapna said, "Girls, Bhaiya is just pulling your leg, let's do our homework, we all have a test tomorrow."

Suchi said, "I want to learn Chinese..."

Soori added, "And Tamil is fine with me. Let's go." 

Sapna, "Yes, sure, let's go to do homework."

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

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