Singapore would be a great place to consider if you are looking for world-class education. Modern education in Singapore focuses on each student’s creative ability and intellectual progress. In the Singaporean educational system, children spend the first six years in primary school and then face their first public exam – the PSLE. Let’s discuss the importance and benefits of the PSLE for students.
A Brief Overview of the PSLE in SingaporeWhat does PSLE stand for? The Ministry of Education in Singapore holds the Primary School Leaving Exam every year, usually in October. Every school-going student is mandated to take the exam at the end of their primary school education. It is considered one of the milestones in the student’s academic life and determines how their higher education will proceed. The PSLE helps ascertain what the student has been able to retain over six years of primary school education. Students are compulsorily tested in four major subjects in the PSLE. These include Mathematics, Science, a mother tongue language of their choosing, and the English language. Preparation and practice for the exam take place throughout the primary education period. Students become familiar with testing methods and preparation strategies as they take similar exams in primary class 1. In this way, they become familiar with the different formatting of questions based on the subject and can handle everything from open-ended questions and multiple-choice exercises. PSLE holds a place of great value that goes beyond the field of education in Singapore. For many, these public exams add value to the country’s culture. Consider this interesting fact to understand why Singaporeans are so proud of their testing system: The PSLE testing format has been adopted as a benchmark in many Southeast Asian countries, including India, China, and Japan. Their questions and patterning methods are circulated to these countries and serve as a meter for testing intelligence.
A Brief History of the PSLE SystemThe first PSLE was conducted in November 1960, and over 30,000 candidates attempted it. It was conducted in four different media – Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and English. First publicly announced by then education minister Yong Nyuk Lin in March 1960, the PSLE was an attempt at standardizing and uniting varying educational syllabus. In the process, he hoped to bring together various ethnicities and garner greater loyalty to the mother country. Before the unification, English-medium schools conducted private exams for entrance. The Secondary School Entrance Exam was implemented in 1952, and it is still in effect today. Though the public exam has been conducted every year since then, there have been voices that have been raised against it in recent years. In March 2018, there were several public protests against the examinations. As a result, Ong Ye Kung, the Minister of Education, effected the removal of several mid-year and end-year exams to give the students a chance to relax and focus on more than just book-based learning.
Appreciating the Importance of the PSLEIn many homes, the PSLE does not take on any importance until the year the child has to take the exam. But here are a few reasons why it is important to take this exam seriously:
- The PSLE tests the child’s aptitude for retention and recall over a long period. With mid-year and year-end exams, short-term retention is being tested. When we encourage children to learn for more than a high score in a short-term exam, we inculcate the importance of life-long learning. The PSLE enables the board to gauge the child’s abilities and interests and assign them to the secondary school they are best suited to.
- The PSLE can be crucial in deciding how your child’s future is drawn out. Many companies hire freshers based on the choice of secondary school and the PSLE scores. That is why it is important to put a plan of action to tackle the PSLE and get your child comfortable with performing their best at an early stage.
Benefits and Advantages of the PSLEThere is a lot we can all learn and adopt from the PSLE. With its encouragement of students to focus on long-term goals while building up a firm basic foundation, there is a clear life lesson in the experience. Their testing methods consider the four major basics of any good education – English language, mother-tongue language, Mathematics, and Science. The other advantage we can glean from the PSLE experience is the streamlined allotment of children into a higher education system based on their abilities and interests. In this way, the child is guided in the right direction academically, and the burden of the parent to guide and nurture the student in the right direction is shared by the educational system. A system like the PSLE forces the parents to look at the child’s holistic development. Every parent is encouraged to help their child live a healthy lifestyle to perform their best in the public exams and even carry forward a healthy lifestyle into their future. This will mean a lifestyle that encourages:
- adequate sleep and right sleeping patterns
- healthy food choices that promote optimum performance
- making exercise a part of daily life
- the encouragement to adhere to specific deadlines and limitations