For exams or knowledge?

Kelvin Oh /

Currently 15 of age, I’m a student of a neighbourhood school. After reading what others had to say, I decided to contribute my own views and opinions.

I was glancing through twitter when I saw the open letter to the Education Minister, and even though I’m a year younger, I could relate to her problems. I also read this article, written by a senior of mine who encouraged me to put up my views as well. I probably can’t write as well as the former two, but I’ll try.

I have to agree with this, that our education system has not encouraged us to be curious. Curiosity accelerates the human race. If different inventors or great thinkers of the past did not ask themselves “Why can’t I do this?” we would probably still be living in the past. We are taught in a way whereby we should only question and not ask.

Older generations often say we are a lucky ones, who get good books, good facilities and a good learning environment. But there is a difference somehow, the difference being a motivational force. The older generation sought knowledge, they studied because they were curious. On the other hand, we, as the Y Generation, study for a different reason. We study to overcome exams, get a good job and lead a good life.

So, what is the purpose of education? To educate, or to get over with exams? And I thought exams are indicators to measure how good you are.

I have always been taught by people around me that “what is important is not the results, but the process”. But this line, sadly, does not seem to apply to education.

Is the education system too competitive? For average students, we have class tests at least once every 2 weeks. We have vast chapters to cram into our brains and we have exams every term. Furthermore, for teachers to ensure every piece of homework is done, they make our homework graded assignments, adding it in to our exam component. Graded assignments are practically useless because of the low percentage it has for our report book . For example, I may have got full marks for all my graded assignments, but an average of 50 marks for my exam scripts – my combined score will probably be about 51%. So what’s the use of calling them graded assignments, when they hold so little weight?

I believe all students and youth alike have their own thoughts and aspirations. I want to be a lawyer. But like what Vivien mentioned in “Is the current Singapore the Singapore we really want”, what’s the point of logarithms when you probably don’t need it in the future? Are we actually learning for the sake of O Levels? So what’s the point of education, when education is meant to teach you to prepare for exams and not for the sake of knowledge?

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