S'pore students brightest, 'but should enjoy learning too'
IN A programme this week, American television station CNN examined an official finding that named Singapore's secondary school students as the brightest in the world, by interviewing international experts.
While world-renowned education experts spoke highly of Singapore's education system in the report, some local experts believe there are still shortfalls.
Associate Professor Eugene Tan, who teaches law at the Singapore Management University, told Lianhe Wanbao there is still room to strengthen the ability of local students to apply what they have learnt.
"Most of our students acquire knowledge just to pass exams, and they do not really enjoy the learning process," Prof Tan told the Chinese evening daily.
Also, many develop a set formula and adopt a conservative approach in learning for fear of tasting failure, he pointed out.
Hence, teachers play a vital role in motivating students so that they are not limited to being just "exam-smart", added the associate professor.
According to findings by the Programme for International Student Assessment - a triennial survey conducted by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - Singapore students outperformed peers from 64 other economies in tests on skills and knowledge.
The CNN programme interviewed Marc Tucker, president of the United States National Center on Education and the Economy, and Andreas Schleicher, OECD's education director.
"They (Singapore) source their teachers from among the best kids coming out of their high schools," Mr Tucker told CNN in giving one reason on why the country's students are brilliant learners.
Mr Schleicher said: "The emphasis on the application, the creative use of knowledge is very, very strong in Singapore and other Asian countries."