Scholar Yow Lih Hern: Are We Teaching Too Much To The Younger Generation? PDF Print E-mail
Jan 17, 2009 at 03:55 PM

Awarded 2002 Singapore

The Chinese High School Scholarship

荣获2002年新加坡华侨中学奖学金

 


In the midst of preparing for the start of semester in university and watching how my sister gearing up herself too for her last year in primary school, I realised the pressure threshold of students in each successive generation has been escalating in an exponential rate. Although the workload will definitely increase tremendously in the last year of primary school due to the upcoming of important examinations, the amount of work and preparation that has to be done far outnumbered the past generations not just in primary school, but also in every stage of education. It is paradoxical to have observed that the more successful the education is, the more the young age will be enslaved to education itself because of the increasing amount of knowledge that will be classified as basic or must-know to one. So, by introducing more and more contents into the syllabus, are we really pushing the younger generation for the betterment of themselves or instead towards a bottomless pit of knowledge regurgitation?

It is irrefutable that the sole purpose of education is to empower students with knowledge and to pick up skills that will enable them to contribute back to the society. Hence, it is utmost important to constantly update the syllabus with the latest and most relevant information while keeping a history of information to learn from past experiences. This eventually leads to the sheer amount of work in the education. Students will struggle at the beginning but the broad based education will give a firm foundation. In this way, the hardship could be said to be more spread out and students will find it easier to pick up more complicated concepts later on. One example will be in the science subject. I happened to read my sister’s science textbooks and impressed by the level of difficulty. Many concepts such as structures of viruses and bacteria, which I vividly remember only to have learnt them in secondary school, are now included in her textbooks.

In spite of preceding consideration, expanding the curriculum subconsciously promotes the idea of learning more equals to having an advantage over the others, which inevitably introduces unhealthy competition. Thus, another issue that has to be considered will be the consequence of injecting competition among the students at young age.

Under peer pressure, students will mistakenly reinforce the mental attitude that learning is only about grabbing as much information as they could. They do not know how to apply what they have learnt. Also, some students who are unable to cope will resort to plain memorization without understanding. This produces mindless robots and contradicts with the original purpose of education.

It is, however, impossible and ridiculous to reverse the order of education to its old state. This is because creations and discoveries are needed for improvements of current existing knowledge which may be flawed. It is this constant effort to seek for knowledge makes us what we are today. In conclusion, the ever increasing required knowledge in syllabus is a result of civilization and essential to ensure future advancement. Despite that, checks and balances have to be imposed to make sure that the purpose of education is being met while crafting the syllabus for schools.

Yow Lih Hern

Malaysia, 11 Jan 2009

Awarded 2002 Singapore The Chinese High School Scholarship


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