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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mother tongue still vital

"THE teaching of mother tongue languages remains a vital feature of Singapore's education system, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday" (Straits Times, May 4, 2010).

The PM issued a brief statement in the wake of strong reactions to Education Minister Ng Eng Hen's recent comments that the weighting given to mother tongue languages in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) may be cut.

The sudden announcement of "quick changes", quite obviously to please the electorate, like this one and other changes such as the upward revision of employers' CPF rate, are clear signs that the Election may be imminent.

It seems that each Minister is busy coming out with his own "quick fix" to test the response of the electorate or to please them. We are even assured of "total water sufficiency" by 2061 when the 2nd Water Agreement with Malaysia expires, as announced by SM Goh Chok Tong. (Mypaper, May 4, 2010)

If not because of the Election, such "productivity" in implementing policies is rarely seen and often handled with much "red-tape" ?

An educated and more sophisticated electorate should still look in depth beneath the surface of such "quick fixes"; by exercising their voting discreetly, in view of the outcry of "blunders" in policies by the incumbent Government, such as the heavy losses incurred by the two SWF investment funds, despite installed structural measures, supposingly to safeguard our national reserves.

Currently, mother tongue has a weighting of 25 per cent, similar to that for English, mathematics and science, the other three subjects in the PSLE. Quite obviously by lowering the weightage on mother tongue, the emphasis and burden in examinations is not going to be alleviated but shift to other subjects.

In a different perspective, objectives of our education system should not be so easily given up in just a feat to gain more votes during the Election.

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