It is a widely held belief that in Singapore, academic achievement is highly valued and overly competitive. A nationwide poll was recently carried out by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) to determine how parents perceive Singapore's education system. A majority of the parents polled revealed that a good school is one where teachers care about their students' social-emotional development and emphasize on character-building and discipline.
The Ministry of Education has been at the forefront in ensuring that the country moves away from over-emphasizing a child's academic performance by putting in a raft of measures. These include:

    -Moving away from naming the top PSLE scorers
    -Doing away with school rankings
    -Changing the PSLE scoring system

In a big way, these measures will help children discover their talents, interests, and develop life skills and shape their personality.

Students learn to express themselves

In Singapore, every child receives a compulsory six-year primary school education. Schools in Singapore have adopted a holistic educational approach that encourages students to express themselves more, gain the knowledge and competencies that will prove helpful in this digital era. The education system has recently experienced an overhaul that enhances the child's abilities beyond the classroom. The child develops their physical robustness and creative skills while also shaping their cultural identity.

Holistic Learning

While most international schools have already adopted a holistic approach, teachers are now placing even more emphasis on applied learning to develop the child's character and life skills, all of which will are crucial in shaping a child's personality. How do they ensure the child receives holistic education? The Primary 1 and 2 students, for example, don't sit for any weighted examinations; instead, there are assessments carried out which do not account for any overall grade or mark. As they progress to Primary 4 and 5, the students are exposed to practical skills like learning how to prepare basic meals, adapt to the outdoors, and build resilience and sociability. All this happens while the students are on a three-day cohort camp to break the monotonous school environment. Other curriculum aspects like pastoral care, career guidance, national education, moral education, project work, science, and social studies are gradually introduced as they progress with their primary school education.

Learn life skills

With the adoption of applied learning, students are more aware of their strengths and areas of improvement. They also find it easier to communicate with their teachers and parents about their needs and set learning objectives. Teachers are also reporting that students are more engaged in class with active participation than the rote learning curriculum. Students, on the other hand, find school more enjoyable. Studies have indicated that this approach has led to more confident and motivated students.
According to the Ministry of Education in Singapore, teaching methods that teachers are employing include:

    -Investigative tasks
    -Real-life activities

These methods keep the child actively engaged during the lesson. Other aspects that have helped boost the child's personality in school are introducing the Form Teacher Guidance Period (FTGP), Programme for Active Learning (PAL), and co-curricular activities. FTGP is allocated one period per week where the teacher can have quality time with the student to equip the child with social and emotional competencies. PAL engages the student beyond the classroom by allowing them to get involved in sports, outdoor education, performing, and visual arts to discover new interests while developing character.

Post-Primary Education

Once the students move on to secondary school, they are sorted into bands. The secondary school curriculum includes learning the major subjects like English, Mathematics, Science, Literature, History, Geography, Arts, crafts and design, and home economics. Additionally, the students are taught mother tongue, which helps the students appreciate their values and culture. Mother tongue learning is introduced in the primary school phase through songs, fables, stories, and proverbs and continues to secondary school.

The Ministry of Education has also granted students an opportunity to choose a school before sitting for their PSLE based on their talent in sports, co-curricular activities, and specific academic areas. Also known as the Direct School Admission (DSA-Sec). This approach has also been extended to higher education learning centers where students can omit grades to some module in their first semester. Universities are shifting to aptitude-based admissions where they allow students who don't meet the pre-requisite grade but show passion and interest to get into a course of their choice. Education experts opine that the shift on emphasis from academic qualifications to the current trend will help arm students with life skills. In turn, shaping their character and personality in the long-term.

School plays a significant role in the development of an individual's personality. At school, a child gains the necessary social skills, identifies hidden talent, and develops a sense of self-esteem and individuality. Children studying at international schools have an additional benefit of cultural diversity and world-renowned curricula. The exposure children receive from school helps them deal with different situations and challenging tasks to build their social-emotional skills, which shape their character and personality in one way or the other.

Author's Bio: 

Educational Expert