Earlier this year, Singapore emerged top in Mathematics and Science in a study conducted by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This may hardly come as a surprise to many parents who have been through our country’s education system – remember the amount of homework, remedial classes, tuitions and the teachers’ and parents’ emphasis on good grades that has been drilled into us?
For now, let’s take an in-depth look on what might have contributed to this success.
1) Enrichment/Tuition Centres
In almost every heartland area, there are more and more enrichment centres that are popping up. And the demand is there too. June holidays? Go for tuitions! December holidays? Go for enrichment classes! Parents are increasingly sending their children for Maths and Science holiday bootcamps, enrolling them in various academic competitions like the Mathematical Olympiad and the usual after-school tuitions.
Fun-fact: There are over 850 tuition and enrichment centres that are registered with MOE to date!
Another fun-fact: Singapore spent $1.1 billion on tuition last year!
Read more about Singaporean parents' top choices of enrichment activities. 91% parents have tuitions for their children!.
2) Well-trained teachers
Think it’s easy to be a teacher? Prepare to go through the long process first! Every teacher teaching in a primary, secondary and junior college, has to go through rigorous training in National Institute of Education (NIE) before they are fully qualified to do so. Along the thorough process of selecting teachers, NIE sieves out the best candidates and they are then sent to schools to undergo a teaching stint. And let’s not forget about their post-grad studies as well!
With such qualified teachers, it’s no wonder more and more students are exceling in school!
How should you choose tutors for your child? What should you look out for?
3) Educated parents
From the 60s to even the early 90s, not every parent was highly educated, for many reasons. Thus they were unable to help with their children’s homework. Now the times have changed – most parents have a diploma or a degree and they have also gone through a similar education system. These advantages allow them to support their children in academic matters.
“Daddy, I don’t know how to do this problem sum”.
“Okay girl, come I help you. Use this method, can solve easily. See, it can be done!”
That example pretty much explains it!
4) Assessment books
Does the name “10-Year Series” rings a bell? It should! It was the book we swore by during our preparations for the major examinations! And there is not only the famous series; there are so many other assessment books categorised by subjects, topics, term papers, guides and so on.
Do you know that we have over 20 local publishers of assessment books? Well now you do!
Apart from homework, kids are encouraged to practise using these assessment books, which lets them apply what they have learnt in school and to highlight their plus and minuses in each topic. Parents are also knowledgeable when it comes to choosing the right assessment books for their children. They know what’s better suited for their child and how to bring out the best in them.
Now we can understand why Singapore is topping such academic rankings. Our children spend plenty of time on homework, being in tuitions, going for holiday enrichment classes – it’s no wonder they are reaping the benefits. And these are not possible without the parents’ part.
A thing to note though - like the proverb “all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”, it is not emotionally and physically healthy for kids to be cooped up within 4 walls and focus on their school work for too long, so from time to time they should be out playing in the sunshine as well!
What other factors do you think contribute to having kids excel in school? Share with us!
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