Balancing Competitive English Education with Personality Building

English is the lingua franca of Singapore, for so many people are native to different dialects and backgrounds. It unites its people economically and politically. Its learning is introduced as early as the preschool age. Parents encourage their children to speak English more than the native tongue and introduce the language through interactive videos and programs from a very young age. Although the top subjects that are being taught in tuition centers are mostly math and science but Secondary English tuition centres are also being sought after.

Singapore has topped internationally in the exemplary results in math, science and overall reading. It undoubtedly comes down to the highly trained teaching staff with impressive credentials. The children go through an extensive study regime as soon as they start school. Regular school classes are backed with a growing trend of private tuition. Parents believe that starting learning as early as possible will help the children more so. In fact, in Singapore teens spend around 14 hours of their time on school work excluding the morning classes and the private tuition hours. The age of these students is mostly 15 years. Now, there does come a thought in the mind that aren’t we stripping these children and young teens of their childhood?

Research has suggested that all work and no play will eventually create a dull personality. There has to be a balance in the listing of subjects that are being taught in school. Around 60% of secondary aged students receive private tuition. When the hours of homework and private tuition are combined, one can only frown on the burden on these poor children. Where the childhoods should be making memories of blowing bubbles and eating cotton candy we push our children to attend dull tuition centers for hours. Imagination and creativity, who thrive upon an open mind have certainly taken a hit. In Singapore education is a billion dollar business and tuition centers advertise that if your child does not go through our training program than he might not be able to fit into the society. Parents have become victims and slaves of these organizations and push their children, while taking a big chunk out of their pockets to pursue education whatever the cost.

The anxiety that the child at 11 years goes through is equal to that faced by a teenager at an HSC (Higher School Certificate) exam. The long hours of study create a strain in the way the child develops relations with family, relatives and friends. The extracurricular activities that build creativity in a personality are almost completely undermined. And let’s not forget, the child has no resting time.

The schools and heads of education should realize that this is not a healthy way of how a child should spend their life. The extra-curricular should be given as much attention as any other subject and should be made mandatory for every child to attend. The homework schedule should be reduced so a child can rest and spend a good family time. There should be more outdoor parks for children to play in. After all Newton did learn a good deal about gravity just by relaxing under the apple tree. Thus, work and play should go side by side.