Ease workload of primary schools – Will it happens?

Getting your child into that dream Primary school is just the start of a 6 year journey. Discuss issues you face with supporting your child's studies in Primary schools.
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Ease workload of primary schools – Will it happens?

Postby tianzhu » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:55 am

Ease workload of primary schools – Will it happens?
Ease workload of primary schools. Will their cries for change be heard?

http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BForum/ ... 45775.html
June 9, 2008
Who cares about the happiness of students here?

I HAVE three children, aged 12, nine and under two. I also have nieces and nephews who have migrated to Australia and hence, have the privilege of observing educators across both countries.
Regarding the use of sure-fail scare tactics in schools here, I would like to ask: What are the key performance indicators for our educators? Do they include a measure of the happiness and well-being of the students under their care?
On this subject, I would like to compliment Ms Rosalind Heng, the former principal of Singapore Chinese Girls School (SCGS) Primary, as well as its current principal and teachers. SCGS has a strategy to cope with the Ministry of Education's (MOE) quantitative demands while driven by love and concern for the well-being of its students.
The workload is light from Primary 1 to Primary 3 - my daughter hardly faced any stress in her first three years there. Parents were informed that the focus was to achieve a love of reading, and a clear grasp of mathematical fundamentals. The pressure steps up from Year 4 but, by then, the child is better equipped to manage the stress.
The school recently implemented a 'recess hour' once a week when the kids are free to play without a concern. It brought back memories of my own carefree school days.
Perhaps, MOE could highlight the school and its teachers as an example for other schools as SCGS has not compromised on its students' performance.
My son, however, had a very different experience. In his first year, he came home with 10 pages of assignments on a daily basis. The teacher-in-charge refused to meet my wife and myself until after several months. When we met, she defended her methods and told us that she was preparing the child for 'the system'.
Compare this with Australia. There are no exams at the primary school level there.
Yet, my niece in Perth - who is studying at a level equivalent to Primary 6 - just won a scholarship to a prestigious private school. When I spoke with her teachers, it was absolutely clear that their primary concern was the happiness and, then, the intellectual well-being of the kids - in that order.
Children were encouraged not so much to be orderly, but to be curious and to ask questions.
During our holiday in Perth, I encouraged my son to join his cousins in their school programme. Within days, he was asking questions and communicating with the adults as equals. Kids appeared rowdy but the teachers seemed to have a high tolerance level. They paid close attention to the questions asked - even silly ones - and answered them with a respect I have not observed here.
Within days, my son had gained in self-confidence. They do not have tablet PCs but they have weekly prizes for the simplest individual progress - for example, a school assembly award for a student who had become neater in his work.
Is the school system here able to identify and reward teachers, principals and policymakers who place the happiness of our children as a top priority? I would imagine that most parents would like their children to be happy and successful - but in that order.
Philip Wu

http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BForum/ ... 45771.html
June 9, 2008
Ease workload in primary school to curb myopia

SINGAPORE has one of the highest myopia rates in the world.
Myopia progression can be very rapid in the primary school years, with an average of 125 to 150 degrees a year and occasionally reaching 200 to 300 degrees a year.
This slows down to only about 50 degrees a year in late secondary school.
If we can cut the amount of reading and computer usage in primary school, and increase the time spent outdoors, then we can reduce the incidence and severity of myopia in our children.
They can always catch up on their reading and computer skills later in secondary school.
Dr Khoo Boo Kian
Consultant ophthalmologist

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