A post by Jack Sim: What is the purpose of school education?

Jack Sim aka the Toilet Guy, asked the question “What is the purpose of school education?” I got to know Jack through being involved as a volunteer with Kampung Temasek, a NGO of which Jack is a founder. When I asked if any one in the KT group will like to share their views on 21st Century education on this blog, he was the first to respond, even though he was with his family in Disneyland Orlando USA! What a passionate guy:)

Here’s a little info about Jack if you are not familiar with him:

“Jack Sim (simplified Chinese: 沈锐华; traditional Chinese: 沈銳華; pinyin: Shěn Ruìhuá) is the founder of the Restroom Association of Singapore and World Toilet Organization. Formerly in the construction industry, he left to found the Toilet Organization in 2001.[1] For “creating good will and bringing the subject into the open” and “mobilizing national support in providing on-the-ground expertise” he received the Schwab Foundation award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year, also in 2001.[2] He was elected a Fellow of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in 2007, and as of Fall 2007 he was assisting in the United Nations plans for the International Year of Sanitation in 2008.[3]” (Source: Wikipedia).


It’s time MOE revisits what is the purpose of school education:

-Do scoring high academic marks mean the child will be a good leader? Why do we reward academic excellence IQ when what we want are leaders with more EQ?

-What is the competitive edge of our nation? Is it the ability to be more efficient or to be more innovative?
If it is both, why are we not able to identify the innovative ones and instead condemn them as naughty boys?

-At the national level, how do we compete with the world when information is a commodity available to all on internet? Where universities degrees can be obtained through downloading best answers and changing the grammar to technically avoid plagiarism but is in de facto copying?

-At a personal level, are there other pathways to a fulfilling life besides the self-destructive Rat-Race?

-What is it that is uniquely Singapore in our ability to punch above our weight?

In my view, a strong society is one that cares for each other and holds itself together through a sense of community. The competitive edge of a nation is rooted in the virtues of its people: Hard work, ethics, learning culture, sense of responsibility, a strong family nucleus, love, compassion, patriotism, open-thinking and communication, and the strategic integration of all these virtues into a cohesive power plus the wisdom to exploit opportunities presented to us everyday without turning us into the prostitutes of the Rat-Race.

Merry X’mas,

Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

One reply to “A post by Jack Sim: What is the purpose of school education?

  1. The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people. ~K. Patricia Cross, Education Scholar

    My philosophy is that education should bring out the best in everyone. If the child is academically able, then by all means stretch the child to excel in studies. If it is in the arts, bring out the creative talent. If it is sports, bring out the competitive sports person in him/her. If it is a skill, bring it out to be the best.

    Give them the confidence to be winners in whatever field they are in.

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