Singapore’s PSLE: Rewarding right behaviour over results

PSLE. The four-letter acronym that strikes fear into pretty much every primary school student (and their parents) in Singapore.

In two days’ time on November 21st, the results of the 2014 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will be released by the Ministry of Education.

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When children as young as 12 are allocated to schools based on their academic performance in the PSLE, the pressure is on to do well. After all, which kid wants to feel “Normal” against their peers who get streamed into the “Express” course? (yes, those are actual terms)

Talk about dampening a child’s morale from a young age.

So when my sister said the following words, boy was I glad.

“I think it’s important that a child knows their value doesn’t depend on how well they score in their exams. That’s why we brought Ben for a good dinner treat before he sat for his PSLE. That was to reward his diligence and good attitude towards learning – regardless of his final results.”

Such statements are rare in Singapore’s results-centric education system.

And so this short post is a shout-out to applaud positive parenting mindsets like that of my sister and her husband. One that goes against the ingrained notion that results determine how smart a child is, and how successful he/she will grow up to be.

100% for rewarding the right behaviour over results 🙂