The importance of education and scoring well in PSLE and GCE O’ levels A* and A1, SG50

Tips, Hints, and Focus for the PSLE Examinations.

SEAB MOE Syllabus PSLE and GCE O’ levels Singapore for Primary and Secondary Schools is by far the main contributor to the social mobility of Singaporeans.

PSLE Student doing Mathematics MOE SEAB Syllabus Singapore in Tampines Tuition Centre Class
PSLE Student doing Mathematics MOE SEAB Syllabus Singapore in Tampines Tuition Centre Class

It is the first major exam that starts the path of development for a young individual by training, developing and constructing the psyche of the ultimate student and turning them into a complete Singaporean adult that is capable of competing in this 21st Century workforce.

With SG50, we have now witnessed the effectiveness of education in transforming us into a metropolitan first world country, one that only has human resource that drives this country.

We survived, and then thrived against all odds, whilst in the face of competition against many other resource-rich nations. All this did not come from just plain luck.

We have witnessed too, with the PSLE and streaming of students into secondary schools, how much their PSLE scores alter their outcomes when they grow up.

And I am sure we have to keep our education world class in years to come, even more so with the huge external forces from other markets within the burgeoning Asian region as well as pressures from the international market to keep up-to-date and solve every problem that we will face in the future.

We cannot be naive and think our problems can be solved with a normal, mediocre education, with a low-skilled and highly unmotivated work force. That is not the mark of a first world country. We need to have something special to keep competition at bay.

Dynamism is a highly valued characteristic our children should possess.

I shall loosely quote Gordon Ramsay, “You can’t run a “country” if you can’t even run your own bath.”

And hence, education, training, intelligence, creativity, innovation and persevering hardwork are the hallmarks of a successful country. We need to adopt the mentality that we are larger than what we are, that our world is not restricted to the red dot that makes Singapore a country. But rather, we are in a global community that requires global competitiveness and social skills. And that comes from a world class education.

We need a large canvas of intelligence and expertise, multitudes of captains of industries, pools of talents, and scores of highly skilled individuals to deal with the increasingly convoluted society and economy of the future. And that comes from a world class education.

We, as a nation, bear witness to social mobility, from our previous generations to current generations, and am sure, to our future generations, that doing well in education equates to better salaries, better standards of living and a stable economy. But this didn’t just happen to an individual, and the last 50 years, we have all moved up the social ladder as a collective community. And we have continued to be socially mobile. And that again, comes from a world class education.

As a nation, we have improved leaps and bounds, again, that didn’t just happen by plain luck. We have our PM Lee Kuan Yew to thank for that. But even more so, our society as a whole has taken those steps to rid ourselves of the third world status and decided that this should be the way to go, forwards. And that should always be the way to go, forwards.

All this leads to one conclusion, that of a student that does well in his/her education, will do well in life. That is a rule of thumb of any Singaporean student, and its the easiest and distinct way by far to move up the ladder and achieve success in life.

Let not detractors say that PSLE is getting too hard, for being soft only weakens our pool of talented future human resources. For in Singapore, strength comes from advancing together, and we have to be careful when a minority wants to re-invent the wheel and begs for an easy PSLE.

Let me quote some articles statistics that shows our education is working:

Forbes.com: Why Asian Nations Dominate Global Education Rankings-Not surprisingly, the top four countries overall – South Korea (No. 1), Japan (No. 2), Singapore (No. 3)….put an emphasis on their students developing basic skills….numeracy and literacy.

Straits Times: “Singapore takes third spot in global education rankings

Wikipedia.org: “Singapore’s education system has been described as “world-leading” and in 2010 was among those picked out for commendation by the former British Tory education secretary Michael Gove…As of 2012, both universities are ranked among the Top 50 in the world.”

Insing.com: Education minister pleased with Singapore’s PISA ranking “To do well, a student can’t get by with just memorisation; he must have real knowledge and the wits to apply that knowledge to unpredictable real-life problems. This is exactly what we want our students to learn in school — the real skills to think critically and creatively so they can succeed in the 21st Century,” said Heng Swee Kiat.

We do need changes to adapt to the ever changing world, and so our education shall be tweaked to allow such changes. But changing the whole system, on something that has worked well, is just suicidal and cataclysmic.

The problem with education is that the effects are not seen straight off, and only in 20 years time, and maybe another 5-10 years after that when the student graduates and starts climbing up their career and contributes to society. Only then will we feel the effect that will be shouldered by the next generation with a wrong education model.

We have come far from where we began 50 years ago, and our success has come from truly hard intelligent pragmatic work. The recipe for success did not come from being weak, or having a compromised education/society. We do have to be careful how any changes will alter our state, as if its for the better, no one complains; but for the worse, everyone pays, ultimately.

Generally, and critically, the higher the education of a Singaporean, the higher they climb up the social ladder. And that is fact. And that starts with the PSLE. And that, is one that parents should never waver in their child’s education.

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Punggol Female Tutors attending to Primary students when they find it difficult to understand. Explain when they need it, or if we find they can do it, we will make them think independently

Singapore Studies and Education Statistics 2014

Here’s some perspective of our education in Singapore. All data obtained from http://www.singstat.gov.sg

Singapore literacy rate (for 15 years and above) is at 96.5% with males at 98.5% and females at 94.6%. However, there is no change for males literacy from previous years but females upped 0.2% from 94.4% previously.

Singaporeans with Secondary education or higher (for 25 years and above) has increased from 67.7% to 68.8% with males 71.8% and females 66%.

Our mean years of studying are 10.5 years with males at 11.0 years and females at 10.0 years.

Also interesting, our social indicators have improved with 20 doctors for every 10,000 population as compared to 19 doctors from the previous data.

by Wong Kin Leong eduKateSG

Pinevale Tampines

Top 10 Things to do for the school holidays Nov-Dec

10) Botanical Gardens Orchid Gardens Students Special

Singapore Botanical Gardens organizes a programme for students, a holiday special with Orchids as their main theme.

extract from their website:

Description:

Did you know that orchids are one of the largest and most diverse families of flowering plants in the world?

From 8 to 23 November 2014, we are extending free admission to National Orchid Garden to students and accompanying adults.

Opening hours: 8.30am to 7.00pm daily (last admission is at 6.00pm).

Free admission criteria
1. Children 12 years old and below
2. Students are required to present valid student cards
3. Adults accompanying children and/or students

9) Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck

See Singapore from another point of view, its all about perspective. Your kids will love the views from the top of Singapore’s famous landmark.

extract from their website:

Please check for Sands SkyPark closures before your visit.

Prices:

S$23 for adults

S$17 for children (aged between 2 – 12 years*)

S$20 for senior citizens (aged 65 years and above)

Children under 2 years may enter for free.

  • Tickets can be purchased for a specific date up to one month in advance.
  • Same-day admission tickets can only be purchased at Marina Bay Sands Box Offices.
  • Please note that a condition of sale is there are no exchanges or refunds once the purchase has been made.

Where to buy:

Marina Bay Sands website

Ticketing Hotline: +65 6688 8826

Marina Bay Sands Box Offices

  • ArtScience Museum Lobby
  • Concierge Desk, Hotel Lobby Tower 1
  • Retail Concierge, The Shoppes L1
  • SkyPark Ticketing Counter, Tower 3 B1
  • Theatres, The Shoppes B1

for the visit
4. Not applicable to tour groups and tickets purchased in advance

8) Chinatown Heritage Centre

This is a fairly hidden gem in Singapore’s local highlights but its a truly brilliant gem indeed. Three shophouses at Pagoda Street recreates our Singapore history in complete historical settings. How our forefathers lived and eat is faithfully recreated in this beautiful building. Your kids will learn how Singapore started and its rich cultural history, and there’s even a kopitiam in the building when you get hungry or thirsty.

7) Haji Lane

Food? Check. Culture? Check. Shopping? Check. Art? Check. Haji Lane is a smörgåsbord of all things new and old, chic and traditional, young and elderly. It is the cross junction of our past, present and future. There’s lots of things to do for everyone and with Orchard and Marina Bay area a stone’s throw away, Haji Lane has established itself as a fringe community with a strong-willed resolve to show the world that there’s more to do in Singapore than eating, banking, shopping, shipping, flying and going to the movies. Walk into its varied food joints to taste local food, or run into its many beautiful arty cafe’s. Or just walk around and soak in the art installations by the side of the buildings. Shopping is a good idea too, with plenty to offer along the shophouses.

6) Dempsey Hill

My army camp was located here before it revamped itself into Dempsey Hill, the placed to go when you want to get away from the city and cosy up to some beautiful restaurants and shops. Its old world charm redefined for the present. My favourite cafe there will definitely be” jones the grocer”. And its not even exactly a cafe as they sell grocery and speciality food items.

To be Continued… wait for the next installment where we reveal the top 5. Hang in there.

by Wong Kin Leong

edukateSG

Pinevale, Tampines St 73

Idioms and Phrases in the 21st Century

Modernise your writing with new phrases or idioms.

Time shifts language and adopts new words/phrases. As we continue into the 21st Century, usage of idioms have changed significantly in our society and time dictates certain idioms/phrases to be out of date and some that becomes fashionable.

Here’s a few fun ones:

  • take things easy
  • suck it up
  • keep in touch
  • speak of the devil
  • slip past
  • send me up the wall
  • you got me
  • hit it off
  • mixed up in
  • in summary

These phrases are definitely useful and fashionable right now, and gives a contemporary and modern feel to your writing. If your composition is written in a modern setting, keep the words trendy and fresh.

Or it depends on the characters that you use in your composition. When the person is older, he/she can take on an older vocabulary/phrase/idiom. But when the character is younger, then keep it trendy, like “Whoa! Nellie”.

So keep that in mind when you write your next composition. Certain phrases might sound archaic and eventhough it is contextually correct, it just gives a slightly musty feel to your writing, dusty covers and all.

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English Tuition with Yuet Ling doing Cloze Passages.

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Punggol Tuition Centre for English Math and Science

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In the 21st Century, how important is it to be able to read, write and speak English in Singapore?

This is an English composition written by a student doing Cambridge O’ levels in 2014.

Standard: GCE O’levels.

In the 21st Century, there has been a vast technological advancement compared to the 20th Century, especially with the development of the internet as a tool for social networking with English as lingua franca. English is a tool in Singapore to communicate effectively with people, locally and internationally. English has two main functions in Singapore’s community: To communicate internationally, and to unify the three main ethnic groups of Singapore.

Singapore is made up of three main ethnicities, Malays, Indians and Chinese, with their own distinct cultural heritage and language. Under the directives of the Singapore Government, English is a compulsory subject for education and represents a disadvantage to those that do not incorporate English into their linguistic abilities to complete their education, as well as to secure a job in an English speaking business environment that Singapore adopted. However, if Singaporeans communicates only in English, this will lead to a loss of culture from the ethnic groups and our ability to engage with our neighbouring countries in South East Asia.

The government of Singapore has a bilingual approach to our education system, with English as its compulsory medium of communication. This approach is effected from kindergarten onwards, with English taught to ages four and above. Learning English for the three ethnic groups is based on equality and where no advantages are built in for these groups. It requires all three groups to adopt a new neutral language of English, and puts every group in equal standing and fairness. With English as the main economic language in Singapore, it is imperative for these ethnic groups to master English to gain economic viability. Securing a job and access to a career in Singapore is one of the main reasons for acquiring English as a language.

Singapore is a business hub with multinational companies (MNC) setting up its branches here. Their lingua franca: English. With the United Kingdom and United States of America being strong driving forces economically, English has become a common language that is used throughout the world. With MNC’s setting up in Singapore, it also becomes an economic question that Singaporeans have to answer. To attract more businesses to Singapore, we have to create an environment that can support and service these businesses. If their mode of communication is English, it is only wise and economically beneficial that we converse in that same language. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Of course, being solely dependent on English has its disadvantages, mainly, a loss of culture and our ability to communicate with non-English speaking people or countries.

Singapore’s three main ethnic groups presents a rich and diverse heritage which makes Singapore unique in presenting a harmonious and thriving society to visitors of Singapore. The inability to converse in their own mother tongue will eventually dilute their heritage and lose their ability to experience their own culture, alienating themselves from their own historical background. It is a case of adopting an English language and its culture, and losing their own. Diversity brings pride to its occupants, interests from others and a curiosity to be discovered and shared. With 21st Century cosmopolitan cities looking more alike, similar architectures, built up areas, services and facilities, tourists will be looking at unique countries to spend their savings on as they would be more likely to be attracted to historically and culturally different landscapes than their own.

We will also lose our ability to engage our neighbouring countries, mainly Malaysia and Indonesia. Their predominant use of Bahasa is similar to the mother tongue our Malay community uses, which is an advantage as it lowers any friction from misunderstandings and miscommunications if we were to use English with them, and needing a translation to bridge that language gap. To converse with them in their Bahasa is a sign of respect to them, and our efforts to maintain cordial relations with them will not go unnoticed.

The 21st Century brings with it fresh challenges and a more dynamic world than ever before. We cannot predict what happens next, nor what information or skill set will be needed to survive the near future. English lets us relieve some of these apprehensions. As it is an internationally accepted language, knowing how to read, write and speak it allows us to be adaptable to change. With readily available literature and media in English, it helps us to learn new skills, acquire new information and news easily. Fleet footedness is the key to survival. Since the spine of learning is the English language, then blossom we will with English to grow upon.

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