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It's worth your life

I’m totally chagrined by an article by Tiara, “Mourning Over Loss Of Scholarships: Do We Want To Die For As?” which I read today. Even scholarships are worth dying for nowadays.

I do not have any first-hand experience with people who are in such alarming state of mind (perhaps only what I read from papers about cases in Hong Kong and Japan) that they would mourn, and even attempt suicide. At the same time, they aren’t totally sure what course they want to pursue or want to do in their life! This is not adding up rightly.

Maybe it’s the glamour of being a “scholar”, so to speak. Maybe it’s peer or family pressure, being afraid to “lose out” to your braggy neighbours or relatives. Maybe it’s our damn media that keeps hyping up top scorers. Nowadays, people get 10As like peanuts while years ago, we have work really hard for it. On top of that, it’s usually a creamy yardstick to be the best of the best.

There’s one more thing I don’t quite understand. Why are most top students overly-obsessed over doing medicine? Doesn’t anyone want to be a top computer scientist? Doesn’t anyone want to be top in arts and social sciences? Don’t people nowadays have their very own dreams? I’m afraid that a good majority who intend to pursue medicine only have in mind the big bucks they could get out from it. (IMHO, if you want big bucks, do business lah) Want to do medicine? Dedicate your life to the poor and needy!

I no longer comprehend what our entire education system is up to. Maybe there are underlying agendas (No, it doesn’t sound far-fetched. Just think about it). Maybe the policy makers (who are calling the shots) are doing absolutely nothing to improve on it. All parts of the entire equation don’t add up, and they are probably contributing causes to the impending downfall of our society—stereotypical mindsets of individuals, family, pressure, school teachers, the ministry, NEP (perhaps the most ridiculously discriminating thing on earth).

This excerpt from the article sums it all up.

Emails and stories like these are a core reason why the education system needs to break away from its obsession with perfect scores and go towards a more holistic, well-rounded, democratic, open system that really prepares students for the randomness that is life, and encourages them to pursue what they really desire.

3 comment(s) to this post

Firstly, she wrote back with a much better feel and a stronger resolve to pursue her dreams, thank goodness.

All of us play a part to break the cycle. Let’s start applauding the youths we know who achieve in different ways, not just grades. Let’s support their ambitions. Let’s truly inspire them. Let’s not suffocate them with stress. Let’s let them be themselves.

The agenda thing might not be too far off – it’s only certain “intelligences” that get emphasised, and anyone outside the norm is disregarded. And the policy makers aren’t really doing anything. They have this great platform to tell the country “hey, let’s look at other forms of achievement! let’s appreciate our youth!” but they never take it.

I’ve wondered the same thing about the medicine fetish – why that? Why does EVERYONE want to do medicine and only medicine? Is there some sort of historical precedent for it?

#1Tiara  ::  29 March 2006, 21:05  ::  #

hmmm… Yea, lots of medical and pharmacy students out there. I know quite a few. =P
I think it’s partly because medicine is seen as “honorable” and a career that gives one – and one’s family – a sort of “status.” Doesn’t apply to everyone lah… But I think there is that subconscious assumption in the minds of those not so acquainted with the variety of work out there.

I’m just glad my parents let me wander off into the arts instead of nagging me into something I’d hate to do. Heh. :D

#2yuiny  ::  31 March 2006, 02:45  ::  #

Hey hey, thanks for replying here Tiara. I guess you must have scoured through your Technorati tags or site referrals. :) Anyway, good to hear there were further, more encouraging emails from her. I don’t know what you think, but I noticed the absence of proper “counselors” nowadays, whether it is your parents, peers (or even seniors) or from the schools.

Everyone (from every level including right up to the government) seems to care more about the number of A’s, how many scholarships they are going to give, implementing “ICT” in schools (which I thought is almost non-existent except for a few urban schools), how many tuition classes one go to (I can’t believe they talk so much about that in the papers). Nobody cares what you like to do in your life, what interests you, what are your goals, what you can do FOR the country ala JF Kennedy (not what the country do for you, like provide scholarships) and so on, as long as you have 1) status, 2) money. Or, I should reverse the order instead.

Correction comes from the root upwards. Schools are deteriorating, teachers aren’t as good as before (because everyone wants to be the doctor, eh?), gov’s only thinking of more records to break and the media is happily thriving on their annual A’s report. It’s not a single-track problem.

Yuin-y, good thing you're doing arts, because you're really good at it. I like your drawings a lot, hehe.

#3johnsee  ::  31 March 2006, 10:44  ::  #

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