Thoughts on PM Lee’s National Day Rally.
Well it was pretty much a massive disappointment, again. Didn’t put forward any kind of solutions to existing concerns, added fuel to the xenophobia debate, a couple of hypocritical statements and false promises.
I was particularly disappointed about his comments regarding preschool education. I was hoping this is the year that pre-school education becomes nationalized.
“While he said the government would not nationalize pre-school education in Singapore, PM Lee said that such a (statutory) board was necessary to “substantially raise the quality of pre-school education for children aged 5 and 6 years old”, while keeping pre-school affordable for middle and lower-income households.”
Frankly, making primary school education compulsory and privatizing pre-school education already puts enormous financial pressure on middle and lower income households. This just proves how the rich in Singapore get the early advantage in their educational paths, with only about 20% of the population from lower-income households making it to universities.
An even bigger disappointment was to come when he didn’t even mention ways to help the career progression of preschool teachers. Has he even read articles about how preschool teachers get paid less than cleaners? You can’t expect teachers to make their living with a $1000 per month salary package, nor can you attract new, young teachers into the industry with such wage suppression going on. Revenue from private preschools are limited since school fees are being capped, so that means the vendors are too cash strapped to increase salary packages for their teachers as well. Surely some steps can be taken to alleviate that problem? Reduce taxes/leases/rent/levies? I’m too tired to go on about this but here’s another article about the potential steps that he could have taken today.
He did end it off with a kick in the face tho.
“Pre-school means to learn through playing as well – you must not bring the primary one syllabus down to five and six year olds. No homework is not a bad thing,” said PM Lee, giving examples of overzealous parents who sent their children to two kindergartens or tuition classes well before primary school.”
The fact that parents would even do that highlights the failures of the current system. Academic results should not be valued so highly at lower primary levels. The fault is yours, figure it out and fix it.