Updated: Sep 15
Whatever you might be feeling, you are not alone. Let’s unpack how you can look upon your options.
Change is coming
“We will no longer have fishes swimming down three separate streams, but we have one broad river, each fish negotiating its own journey.”
This was the image then-Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung painted when he announced major educational reforms made to Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), O- and N- Levels in March 2019.
Under the new Full Subject-Based Banding (FBB) system, students will take subjects in different tiers depending on their capabilities in secondary school. After which, all students will sit for one common national examination, which is the merger of the O-Levels and N-Levels we know today. The new framework is scheduled to take full effect in 2027, kicking off with the fresh batch of secondary one students in 2024.
For many, the move was lauded as a right step towards bridging the divide and stigmatisation brought about by educational streaming. Those who have gone through the system can certainly attest to the additional edge if you either i) had the means and resources to supplement your learning or ii) were good in studying (in other words to put frankly: in memorising and regurgitating).
While the winds of change may have begun to blow, the fact remains that for now, most of us have already been conditioned to hold academic excellence to the highest regard.
Change is coming, but mindset shifts take time. If we are not – by society’s definition – book smart, are we still then worthy of finding success? The quick answer is yes, of course. The not-so-straightforward answer is that’s a journey you must walk to find out.
State of Mind
To those who underperformed, many might offer words of consolation.
You may perhaps never find any comfort in the sea of attempts to do so. It’s a terribly lonely feeling to fall short of your personal goals. At this point, ou