A look at Singapore’s education System

A SPEECH

Why co- curricular activities should not be mandatory and why using it as a prerequisite for university admission is plain crap

Good morning everyone. Today, I am here to convince you that it is an absolutely wrong decision on MOE’s part to make co-curricular activities compulsory and a prerequisite for university admission.

To begin, I consider CCAs (co- curricular activities) as a violation of personal liberties such as the right of choosing what to want and not want.

The ministry of education thinks that CCAs develop us and help us to mature and work in a team. Well, when my PDP (pupil development programme) vice- president sent me a reflection to force me to reflect about what I had learned and what skills I had developed from my PDP and even previous PDPs, I thought hard for 2 weeks and came up with nothing.

My stand is that CCAs should not be compulsory and it is only characteristic of an authoritarian society to make it so. Joining an IT club can’t make you a technician. Joining a sports group doesn’t make you an athlete. Joining the dama club doesn’t make you an actor. Joining the choir doesn’t make you a singer. In fact, 10 years later, you’ll look back and think about all the time you wasted on your CCAs. Considering that less than 5% of the student population will never be able to make a living or becoming a true professional in whatever they are doing in their CCAs, CCAs should not be made compulsory and instead be an optional choice for people who want to stretch themselves in a certain area. For instance, how many top athletes from school CCAs manage to get a chance to represent Singapore? Conversely, how many never even make use of whatever skills they learnt in their CCAs after leaving it?

Students have to take tests to see if they are even able to excel at the area before being given a chance at doing something they actually like. For the rest, they are dumped mercilessly somewhere else where they are expected to be enthusiastic and active. Then they are told: you need to do well in it. You want to go to university, you remember? How can we do well in something we don’t like and don’t care for and won’t help us in future? How can something that is so useless be used to get us into university? Even math, the subject most of us can’t think of actual applications for, is much more useful for university entry, considering that it is useful to count money and even invest. Forcing students into joining some ridiculous activities in school doesn’t help them get a more holistic education anymore than building ERPs on every road would help solve congestion problems.

I know some of you here love your PDP and think the world of it. That’s not wrong. I’m glad the ministry has satisfied you. But for the rest of us suffering from the compulsory PDPs, we are not wrong either. In order for a person to excel in a field, I strongly believe that both the heart and body has to be involved. The person has to like what he is doing in order to expect the commitment required to develop his talent and abilities to the fullest. Our school time is already exceptionally long compared to the rest of the world. Let’s not make it longer by wasting time on PDPs.

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