Monday, October 18, 2010

Is there a serious educational gap?

Oct 18, 2010

MS LIM Zi Kun's letter ("Generation Y: Don't assume we're not serious"; Oct 8) is a breath of fresh air, coming as it does from an 18-year-old with everything to live and strive for still ahead of her.

If what she claims is true - that she and her peers are still quite unaware of "Singapore's legislative machinery, government policies and political culture" after 12 years of education - then something ought to be done quickly.

She has identified a serious gap in the education of our young, a gap that could seriously compromise Singapore's continued progress.

Those in the position to change the status quo should ensure that she and her peers, and all those who come after them, understand the importance of their personal contributions and are able to make intelligent and informed decisions about things that affect their lives and Singapore.

Singapore would be so much the poorer without citizens of this calibre.

Lee Seck Kay

[I read that same letter, and a part of me was thinking, yeah right. There is a critique of Singapore's education system, and Singapore students that the system and the product of the system are not very pro-active about learning. They are spoon fed. Whatever they need to know, they expect to be spoon fed. I must say that when I was 18, I probably didn't know everything about Singapore politics or Singapore history. But I probably knew quite a bit, from personal interests, from reading the papers, from questioning the situation, and just wondering why things were the way they were.

When I was 18, there was no internet. At least not the internet of today, and certainly I had no access to the rudimentary internet.

But there's wikipedia today. And if you're 18 years old, and you profess an interest in Singapore's politics, legislative system, and history and you have not found out from wikipedia, then you are either lying about your professed interest, or every time you log onto the internet, you are facebooking. Distracted.

Or did you want the official version of everything to be spoon fed to you? Then I guess, you are a product victim of our education system.]

Oct 8, 2010
Don't assume we're not serious
AS A 'Gen Y' Singaporean who is turning 18, I realise that despite 12 years of national education and two years of social studies, I remain quite unaware of Singapore's legislative machinery, government policies and political culture.
Likewise, most of my peers have never heard of the Women's Charter, and are clueless about the laws of estate, marriage, inheritance, censorship and so on.
Most adults around us have neither discussed nor spoken to us about Singapore law and politics in an open and impartial manner. This has created a false impression that these subjects are taboo, unrelated to our lives and exclusive only to the academic elite. We must correct the misconception among young people that law and politics do not concern them.
When adults instil in them the belief that they have a stake in the law, governance and their own future, perhaps they will not be as apathetic as adults claim they are.
To help create awareness, private organisations could work with schools to hold talks, symposiums and the like to actively inform young people about Singapore's law and political culture in an unbiased and objective manner. The Ministry of Education could also make it a mandatory part of the curriculum for pre-university and tertiary students.
If young people are more informed, they are more likely to make informed decisions and they might also actively seek to improve the quality of legislation and governance in Singapore.
What is needed is an informative platform for youth to understand their place in the nation's 'eco-system' in real terms. It should be a springboard for civic thinking and, by all means, activism.

Lim Zi Kun (Ms)
[I wanna say, go Google it, you twit! But decided she has a point also. The school hasn't taught her to go find things out herself. Sad.]

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