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Monday, August 18, 2008

PM Speech 2008: On Education

1. Let kids learn at own pace
2. Manage Stress and take it in Our Stride
3. Know them and let them develop the way their nature inclines them

PARENTS who complain that the education system here is stressful for their children should look at other Asian countries where it can be worse.

In South Korea, there is a school where students can snatch only a few hours of rest each day, are not allowed to make friends or keep items like magazines in their bags.

It is like a prison, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday night.

'We are not like that. We have some stress but we should manage it, we should take it in our stride,' he said.

He referred to the South Korean school when highlighting to parents that some stress in school was inevitable.
But he reminded parents that they should also let their children grow and learn at their own pace.

He noted that parents push their children further by sending them for extra enrichment lessons. And during examination, they would ply their children with chicken essence.

Singapore's competitive school system has been named as a culprit by couples who choose to have no or few children.

But, Mr Lee said: 'I think some pressure is inevitable. It is part of Singapore's competitive spirit.

'Other East Asian societies are even more ruthlessly competitive.'

Mr Lee acknowledged that it was natural for parents to want the best for their children.

But that meant understanding their needs, attitudes and talents, while encouraging them to shine, he added.

'Press them to do better but also know them and let them develop the way their nature inclines them

'It may not be academic but may be in sports, may be in arts, may be in music. But let them go with their nature.'

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