MERITOCRACY is about more than just academic grades


MERITOCRACY in Singapore is about more than just academic grades, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as he stressed that everyone here has a shot at success.

“When we say ‘merit’, we are not just talking about grades or scores, but also character, leadership and a broad range of talents,” said Lee said in a speech to more than 1,500 students and their parents at a bursary and Edusave award ceremony in his Teck Ghee ward.

He said: “We make sure that whatever your family background, whatever your circumstances, you may be poor, you may be from a single-parent family, you may be having some learning disabilities, but if you work hard, you can succeed.

“It does not matter what your background is. We make sure we identify you, we give you the opportunities and also the resources and the support so that if you succeed, you can do well for Singapore.”

Yesterday was the second time in just over a month that PM Lee stressed that meritocracy cannot be narrowly defined as being just about grades. He also spoke on the topic at a PAP conference on Dec 2 last year.

In that speech, the Prime Minister said he was worried when Singaporeans reject meritocracy and asked what could replace merit as the basis for decisions on jobs or school places.

The principle has come under considerable scrutiny in recent months, especially in the field of education.

While the Prime Minister repeated the same call on broadening the definition of meritocracy, yesterday he focused on what roles parents and students can play in it.

He urged parents to set an example: “Guide your children, set good examples and instil good moral values in them.”

Turning to students, Lee urged them not to neglect their studies even though there would be more focus on character, leadership and service.

“Results and grades are not the only measure of success or the only things that matter in life,” Lee said, adding: “It is important that you learn and study to give you a good foundation for what you can do in life.”

He pledged that the Governm­ent will continue to help all students achieve their potential. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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3 Responses to “MERITOCRACY is about more than just academic grades”

  1. @Karen_Fu Says:

    I don’t know how to react to this because from the grounds today, we have scholars who breech contracts, teachers and principals who do hideous things. So character in this perspective is doubtful. As for scholarship, there is a trend that poor kids do get disadvantaged. Not so much that they are marginalized by the education system on its own, but other factors like the ability to hire the best tutors and tuition to get ahead in class. It really makes you wonder how teaching is done in schools. But without seeing it myself, I can’t say it for sure. Then again, based on the way students coming home for more private learning, one has to doubt. It used to be that all students, rich or poor, are based on this merit system though the problem then was it wasn’t exactly a great environment to nurture the very talented and the gifted. Today, if you were to look at prestigious places of learning, there is a far higher proportion of kids from very well off families. Those who are scooted in cars, sometimes driven by their private chauffeurs. This is, in great contrast, a main difference of what it used to be – if you were studious and very smart, you relied only on what school resources gave you. Everyone had the same resources and teachers were very dedicated though the pay then was much lower than today. As long as you worked hard, and as long as you are typically bright, top schools are at your step regardless of social status. Even when you can only afford old china made canvas shoes with old socks that probably had a tiny hole or two.

    Like

  2. @Karen_Fu Says:

    Reblogged this on Daring to Change and commented:

    I don’t know how to react to this because from the grounds today, we have scholars who breech contracts, teachers and principals who do hideous things. So character in this perspective is doubtful. As for scholarship, there is a trend that poor kids do get disadvantaged. Not so much that they are marginalized by the education system on its own, but other factors like the ability to hire the best tutors and tuition to get ahead in class. It really makes you wonder how teaching is done in schools. But without seeing it myself, I can’t say it for sure. Then again, based on the way students coming home for more private learning, one has to doubt. It used to be that all students, rich or poor, are based on this merit system though the problem then was it wasn’t exactly a great environment to nurture the very talented and the gifted. Today, if you were to look at prestigious places of learning, there is a far higher proportion of kids from very well off families. Those who are scooted in cars, sometimes driven by their private chauffeurs. This is, in great contrast, a main difference of what it used to be – if you were studious and very smart, you relied only on what school resources gave you. Everyone had the same resources and teachers were very dedicated though the pay then was much lower than today. As long as you worked hard, and as long as you are typically bright, top schools are at your step regardless of social status. Even when you can only afford old china made canvas shoes with old socks that probably had a tiny hole or two.

    Like

  3. rightways Says:

    “The country that tops the I.Q. charts isn’t America or in Europe. It’s Singapore, at 108. (The reason may have to do with Singapore’s Confucian respect for learning and its outstanding school system”.

    Sources:It’s a Smart, Smart, Smart World
    http://rightwaysrichard.blogspot.com/2012/12/its-smart-smart-smart-world.html

    Like


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