SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore’s education system cannot do away with the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
However, he felt Singapore should look at how it can reduce the pressure of a single examination and a single grade.
Mr Lee said it will take some time for the authorities to think about it, and the government is not in a hurry to make any changes.
Mr Lee explained that the PSLE is needed for two purposes.
First, to assess the child having finished primary school, has attained the standard expected of him.
Second, Singapore needs some way to post people to secondary schools and for the schools to choose the students.
The Education Ministry also has the Direct School Admission Programme, and that is an important scheme to free up the system.
Mr Lee said: "Does it have to be exactly the way the PSLE is now done? I don’t think so. But how to change it, that we have to consider very carefully... Any change means students want a lot of notice, parents want a lot of notice and we should not upset or unsettle kids who are heading in a direction and need enough time to adjust to a scheme."
Mr Lee felt the basic reason why there was so much pressure on the PSLE was because people took the secondary school admission so very seriously, which he felt was not correct.
He added: "There are many points in life where you have to prove yourself and demonstrate what you can do. You don’t have to get into the right school and thereafter think that you are on an escalator... So really it’s your own ability and effort you have put in, the dedication of your teachers, and then you demonstrate what you can do at the stage of your life."
PM Lee was addressing the top 10 questions which received the highest votes on Singapolitics.sg.
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Lee said Singapolitics received some 400 emails containing questions which gave a picture of the concerns and interests of Singaporeans.
Among the issues posed were healthcare affordability and cost of living.
Mr Lee said one of the reasons why people feel that the cost of living has gone up is because people’s spending habits have changed with rising expectations.
He said: "What we did not use to spend on, now we are spending on, and therefore we need to spend more beyond what we can easily afford... Rising expectations, that’s a real concern."
Mr Lee stressed that one important decision of the government is that it has kept taxes low for middle—income earners.
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