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Singapore reducing exam pressure on students

world Updated: Nov 21, 2012 14:05 IST
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Singapore will no longer publish the names of top scorers in national student examinations to reduce academic pressure on children but the move has drawn mixed reactions, press reports said on Wednesday.

On Thursday, when the results of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) are released, the annual ritual of hailing the top scorers in the media will no longer take place.

An education ministry spokesman told the Straits Times that the move was aimed at showing pupils and parents that academic performance was "just one aspect of a student's overall development and progress."

The ministry will also stop naming top scorers in the secondary school national examinations.

Like many East Asian societies, Singapore puts strong emphasis on education but a traditional obsession with test scores has been blamed for stressing out students and parents, as well as fostering memorisation instead of creative and critical thinking.

Academic pressure has also been blamed for suicides and psychological disorders among children in the region.

PSLE high scorers are virtually assured entry into elite secondary schools as well as scholarships in overseas universities, but those who perform poorly sometimes suffer social stigmas.

Reactions to the ministry's decision to stop celebrating exam top-notchers was mixed.

"There are people who did not do very well in primary school but went on to excel on life," primary school principal Kelvin Tay told the newspaper.

But others disagreed.

"We love to read stories about people who excel in sports, in the world of business. That is because we all need role models," said Mazlita Abdul Jabbar, an accountant whose son was last year's second highest scorer.