Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Recent reports have suggested that the recent PSLE is going to produce a whole crop of failures. The countless of complains and tears from children and worried parents alike seem to grip the front pages of our newspapers.
I wondered what all the fuss was about. I mean I forgot how difficult PSLE was considering I was only 12 when that happened. I was more determined then to make fun of classmates than waste precious time tackling 5 mark problem sums at the back of test papers.
My mum used to be a worried wreck when she saw me idling and spending more time in front of the computer than on the Andrew Er maths assessment book. After all, friend A's son was about to finish the book and friend B's son was moving on to intermediate problem sum solving for Primary 6 pupils. And here I am still stuck on page two trying to figure out the problem BoB and Harry had when they had 40 bucks with a 5:3 ratio.
Ah, those were the days. I didn't bother what Bob or Harry was going to get, I was more interested in seeing White Ranger and Blue Ranger(remember power rangers?).
So, the report on the PSLE papers being a killer again did not ignite much interest in me. After all, every year the paper is a killer, if not how on earth is Raffles instituition and Raffles girls going to take in students? They need killer questions to define the best from the best.
The 3 5 mark questions at the back of the maths booklet is essential to determine how many schools in the Top 10 rankings are going to accept you.
This year, the dispute was again on this controversial 'killer questions'. With all the thinking out of the box, creative learning crap, you were almost going to expect thinking out of the box, creative learning type of questions. And with these type of questions, children who are not prepared to think out of the box and be creative, they are preparing themselves for a school in the "Remaining Schools" section.
That would not only be detrimental for papa and mama who have high expectations on their only child(due the the high cost of bringing up a child), it would be almost the end of the world. I know, I been through it.
"Eh, My friend's Son is in Raffles leh, you leh? I haven't even heard of your school name!"
"Huh? good in soccer? but My friend still haven't heard of it leh! Aiyo so paiseh don't know what to tell her when she ask what school you are in!"
Sounds familiar? Ah, I can safely say 3/4 of the PSLE cohort every year experiences this problem.
It's sad that our society of lovely 12 year olds have to go through this baptism of fire so young in their lives. After all, they are young and more interested in playing football than working out which way the rod tilts when the fire burns up the metal side of it. I mean, what is the creativity in that? How would this knowledge affect their lives? I for one do not know which side the rod goes but I can consider myself mildly successful for having completed my A levels.
Is this nightmare going to happen every year when a child comes home crying because of questions he does not know in the PSLE? Are parents going to complain every year to the press? Come on, there is more to life than just these absurd questions. To boost creativity is to allow children to pursue their interest. If a child is interested in the subject, no matter how 'creative' the question is the child would be able to find out.
Children at 12 are at their most inquisitive. If the schools can't find out how make use of this , then students would forever be plagued by the misery of difficult PSLE questions. Children's inquisitivity should be transformed to hunger for knowledge on rods and ratio. Then PSLE would be a breeze. The trick now is to how this is done. If successful, we could see a breakthough in education. Now that is what educators should work on.

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