Recent news stories explored tensions among parents whose children were struggling with a math question; this became another talking point on how education has changed through the years. Even though it wasn’t simple or difficult, it brought me back to the days when our syllabuses were more straightforward.
Education has never been undervalued, and if a student could complete a prestigious course like law or medicine, it could change a generation. This could be one of the reasons why students wanted to get into prestigious primary schools to set themselves up for success.
Nevertheless, Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) is one of the most important exams one could take that would determine the next phase of their education.
There is no doubt that it is a big change for many of us, and many believed that the influence of their school environment would shape their education path and their career ambitions. Beyond that, I didn’t see any problem with the question, but I pondered about the real intention behind it.
Why is that math question so controversial? Don’t we have any other more challenging questions?
It demonstrated to me the level of preparedness our nation has for the disruptive future. From a first glance, it seems to tap into many aspects of analytical thinking, which is vital for this VUCA world.
In today’s world, technology dominates everything we do — from leisure to work — and integrated communications have made traveling convenient. Besides, the financial markets went through an unprecedented boom resulting from technological advances that changed even the way we do business. We have experienced a major upgrade in every aspect of our lives, but our conventional education system could not keep up.
Today, experiencing a paradigm shift in education is not unexpected. But how far should this shift go and how can it benefit our next generation?
In light of schools embracing further technological disruptions with coding classes, the move may seem like a good idea, but one cannot ignore the fact that it is indeed stressful for students to bear additional stress from a young age. In addition, since it requires logic, removing math will not solve any problems for students.
We can educate our future generations in many ways, and being tech-savvy should definitely be at the top of that list. Enabling them to learn and work with more ambiguity, more data, and new ways of living is empowering them to reach their full potential, rather than preparing them to understand the reasons behind old school science and math.
Though I would agree that some mathematical theories still hold relevance today, they shouldn’t be our only tools for learning in the future. There is more we can do and it should start at a young age.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the future, it is impossible not to worry about many things in this post-pandemic age.
How can we enable our current generation to embrace further disruptions and, even more importantly, how can we equip the next generation to deal with new problems?
Though I am not exactly confident that technology wouldn’t replace me, I certainly have time to prepare for it. As a nation, when we slowly transition and reposition ourselves to embrace big technologies, we should also expect that our conventional education will not help us advance further with outdated methodologies.
Without the right knowledge and mindset, we should expect more uncertainty and see things as more irrelevant and obsolete. This math question serves as a reminder that the post-pandemic era will be not as straightforward as before, and it never will be.
About The Author:
Vince Law is an Accountancy graduate from Singapore Management University. Having a keen eye for numbers and a bent for problem-solving, he is currently working as a business consultant at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms, focusing on both consulting and assurance. He’s into street photography and enjoys reading as well. During his free time, he writes on topics related to personal development and current affairs through his lens.
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