Published on 02 Feb 2024

Heart of the Matter Podcast: Singapore students rank top in math and science, but how useful is this in a changing world?

15-year-olds in Singapore top the ranking tables when it comes to math, science and reading. But how do they fare in communication and teamwork?

Out of 81 countries, 15-year-olds in Singapore topped the Pisa table in reading, math and science. But how important are these metrics in a world where social and creative skills have become critical and artificial intelligence is taking centre stage?

Steven Chia gets answers from Liew Wei Li, director-general of education at the Ministry of Education, associate professor Jason Tan from the National Institute of Education, and parent of two and lecturer, Ian Tan. 

Liew Wei Li, director-general of education, Ministry of Education: 

Tracking these three areas will help us to understand whether our fundamentals are still strong, our foundations are still strong, which we can build further from. But ... it is only one measure, and it's insufficient.

Associate Professor Jason Tan, National Institute of Education:

(We need to) intelligently interpret these sorts of league table results. Because for one thing, Singapore has decided to move away from an excessive focus on ranking tables ... so I would urge a degree of caution about rigid, hierarchical ranking.

Ian Tan, parent and communications lecturer:

My two kids are very different in aptitude and the interest ... I have never told them please be a doctor, please be a lawyer. I've seen other kids being very resentful of the path that their parents encouraged them to go on.

Listen to the podcast here.

Source: Channel NewsAsia © Mediacorp Pte Ltd. All rights reserved.