Education should be the village’s job

It’s been almost two years since I wrote about my dream for Singapore’s education system. Over the past two years, with Covid-19 and all, the system has move towards a worse state for many teachers, with students not any much better-off. With the pandemic as a crisis or shock to the system, I had hope that more changes would come forth – but it seemed to me the most major one was just bringing forward the plans to deploy more education through technologies by getting every student to have a ‘personal learning device’ from Secondary 1.

There is a sense that families by themselves are finding it hard to cope with kids studying or learning at home. The parents are definitely unable to work from home under those conditions. At the same time, I think they have for far too long, outsourced the responsibility of coaching their kids, occupying them and thinking about their development to teachers, tuition and enrichment classes, or various different computer devices. They are out of touch as parents to take on holistic responsibility of the development of their children the way parents of the past did.

Sure, we got more efficiency and productivity out of it; probably most parents are able to make a better living and raise the standard of living for their children; but at what cost? If there’s one thing to learn about education and raising a child through the pandemic, it is that the society must jointly undertake the effort together. Education in the mainstream system, tuition, enrichment and all, must not be transactional or seen as such.

We need more support and aspiration towards an education system where everyone feels more vested: teachers, parents, students and young people who needs to work with the future leaders. Together, we can build a different system that will be able to serve our future and our people better.