The Summer vacation began and so ended my morning rush for a while. So, yesterday I read an interesting article in a Colombian magazine while I enjoyed my coffee at breakfast. The subject was the debate about providing more leisure time for children and teens, rather than too much after school work to prevent stress and isolation.
I took it upon myself to research the most recent PISA test from 2015 (the triennial international survey that evaluates education performance in math, science and reading for 15-year-old students in the world) and what I found confirmed my thoughts: seven out of the ten top scores where from far east. The same ratio was resent in the PISA 2012.
First on the list is Singapore, one of the four economies known as the Asian Tigers. It accomplished industrialization at the speed of light and an exceptional GDP growth above 7% since its independence from the UK in 1963. Currently, Singapore ranks fifth on the UN Human Development Index and third highest GDP per-capita globally.
This accelerated development is vastly attributed to the country’s commitment to quality education not only from the government, but also from parents. Its education system fosters meritocracy and excellency identifying candidates early on to nurture their individual development and leadership by constant practice and hard work.
Academic good grades are highly regarded and a key factor in job prospecting and opportunities. The training of all teachers is centralized and closely monitored by the government, and teachers are selected among the top 5% graduates from all Singapore’s universities across all disciplines.
Although Singapore’s approach has been criticized for its stressful standards and elitism, this “education tiger” has been able to train its work force head and shoulders above the rest of the world lowering the population dependency on welfare systems.
In other words, by lowering mediocrity Singapore’s education system lowers poverty.
Now, the responsibility of raising the quality of education can’t be transferred to teachers and school officials only. Even though children and teens spend a great part of their lives in the care of schools, at home reinforcement of the concepts acquired in the classroom is paramount.
It is true though, sometimes homework is ridiculous. I have not experienced it myself because my little man just finished kindergarten, but I have listened to friends and relatives telling their stories about school projects that very well could be NASA experiments.
Education systems, teaching methodologies, and length of instruction require ongoing updates to catch up with the evolution of the societies. Nonetheless, eliminating homework because teens feel “overwhelmed” is another way to pamper an already bored young population.
In my opinion, the question should not be, “Is homework necessary”, but rather, “What type of homework is efficient.” Young minds need to be challenged and motivated to excel. As golf wisdom says, “The more you practice the luckier you get.“
Thank you for reading and sharing.