Lately, governments around the world have been taking extra steps to ensure the well-being of younger generations. In Oregon, students are encouraged to take mental health days. In Italy, 18-year-olds are given a “culture bonus” to boost their engagement with the arts. And, effective next year, students in Singapore will no longer be required to take exams.
For years, Singaporean primary and secondary school students have been ranked according to their standardized test scores. This, however, fostered an unhealthy environment fueled by competition—a system that Education Minister Ong Ye Kung views as an inherent threat to education.
“I know that ‘coming in first or second,’ in class or level, has traditionally been a proud recognition of a student’s achievement,” he said in a statement. “But removing these indicators is for a good reason, so that the child understands from young that learning is not a competition, but a self-discipline they need to master for life.”
So how will students be assessed? For younger students, teachers will use “qualitative descriptors” to evaluate each child’s discussion participation, homework, and other less competitive means.[…]