Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

Examine the stone

This phrase is going to be very popular : Leave no stone unturned. Some stone turning is already being done. I’m referring to the scrapping of the banding exercise for schools or what used to be called the Schools Ranking exercise. I am all for lifting stones but I’d suggest we look at the original reasons for the stone being there in the first place.
So what was the rationale for the ranking exercise way back in 1992? If I recall correctly, it was to help parents pick a school for their children and to spur schools to do better. The template I believe was the British ranking of schools done by a British newspaper. In fact, the literature at that time was all for ranking of schools, so that teachers would be aware of what else needed to be done in class to raise the school rankings. I suppose in the typical Singaporean way, it became ultra competitive and new stuff was added along the way, like bands instead of ranks, various versions of “value-added’’ schools and then awards. Some of it made sense. I mean, some schools pipped others by such insignificant percentage points that ranking became meaningless.
Then top schools started skipping O levels because of the through train programme and the list got shorter….
I think we should give ourselves some credit for having school rankings instead of now moaning and groaning about how it has led to such stressful lives for everyone. I am quite sure, for example, that the exercise DID push all schools to do better academically. So knowledge is acquired, and tested.
I am for scrapping of ranking and banding, because my view is that we have achieved what we set out to do. That’s my layman’s point of view anyway.
My hope is that in this national conversation we are supposed to be having, we won’t just go hooooo-ha because some sacred cow has been slaughtered. Let’s be clear about WHY it is a sacred cow in the first place and whether those reasons still hold

Written By

An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

Further reading

News Reports

ADVERTISEMENT Ex-journalist/blogger/university lecturer available for homework-completion projects. Fees will start at $200 an hour, and will vary according to degree of difficulty and immediacy...


A discussion between Vee Meng (vocal minority) and Si Meng (silent majority) VM: “….what did say? ’’ SM: “…erm…what? Didn’t say anything…Eating my prata...


My class of undergraduates told me recently that they had to do a compulsory module to get themselves “future-ready’’. They told me of how...

News Reports

I like reading G replies to MPs’ questions. Sometimes, the questions are asked orally and since the G gets up to answer and take...