education in singapore and social mobility

today i came across a commentary on an issue that i’ve thought about quite often. so i invite you to take a look at it as well.

(for further reading on this you might want to look at this which is essentially a deeper look at the statistics presented and how not to jump to conclusions based on them)

(but basically the first link is all you really need lah)

all in all, i agree with sze meng’s general sentiment. coming from ‘branded’ schools myself (nyps, ri, vj – fine vj is probably lessbranded than some other colleges but you get my drift), i’d noticed quite awhile ago that a surprising number of my classmates had nice houses. when you go to friends’ places to do projects and stuff (but end up playing games all day, though that’s a different story) and the options for whose house to go to is peppered full of condos and landed property, it’s… cool. in the sense that you had a lot of big nice places to drop by and ‘do projects’.

but as i grew older i realised that something was wrong with the equation. where were all these outstanding “taxi drivers’ children” my mother would always talk about? (no offence meant, these are just examples my mum loved to use) what about those “hawkers’ children” and other scions of less-educated families who did well and excelled in our wonderful meritocratic society? (i was brought up in that type of household where these rare creatures were legends to be emulated, in the sense that if they could do it, privileged me better do it too… OR ELSE!)

they exist, truly they do, but they are few and far between.

and now we have these wonderful stats to support the idea that our glorious meritocratic society has evolved into an elitist one. i’ve wondered before, what exactly the difference between the two was, but it seems to me now that i’ve got an inkling of the idea.

there’s always been a great debate over whether the nature or nurture is more important, regarding intelligence (or academic success in this case, i suppose). while i think that genes play no small part (gasp do i secretly support MM Lee’s now-abandoned eugenics programme?), but the environment a child grows up in matters greatly as well. perhaps even more.

and with economic disadvantages, as well as perhaps academically weak parents, how will those under-nurtured kids succeed in our wonderful meritocratic society?

if only i knew the answer…

but i don’t. so.

sigh.

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Posted on July 29, 2005, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. i’ve always agreed largely with MM Lee’s eugenics whatever thing. it doesn’t go well with the rest of the people (thats why the big hoo ha over it) but i think if were to sit down and think abt it, its act very true

  2. I’m too lazy to cut & paste, so you can read my e-mail reply on my blog :)

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