Dont burden pupils with too many subjects
Friday February 24, 2006
BY V.K. CHIN
The Government must think very carefully before introducing new school subjects as this may have an adverse impact and it will overload the present education system.
There is a recent suggestion that road safety be included in the school curriculum, no doubt based on the tens of thousands of motorists, motorcyclists and pedestrians killed or injured on the roads each year.
While this should be of concern to the Government, non-governmental organisations and individuals involved in this campaign, we should also not go overboard.
The number of fatalities, for example, has remained quite constant in the 5,000-figure mark. It will definitely be overreacting to introduce this as a subject because of this trend.
The important thing is to find a way to educate the young on the importance of road safety. The only issue is to find the best way of doing this.
This subject can be taught to the pupils without requiring them to study it at school, which will only distract them from other core subjects which prepare them for post-secondary studies.
Various interest groups have also tried to push their pet projects to be part of the school syllabus, ranging from the environment and consumerism to awareness of such vices as smoking and drinking.
If the education ministry were to accommodate all the requests, though they may inject the right values in pupils, they will have little time to do other things.
What is lacking is the number of periods for physical education, which seems to have taken a backseat in many primary and secondary schools as principals and teachers seem more interested in improving their pupils’ academic standard.
They all want their schools to be known for producing higher achievers at primary, secondary and upper secondary levels and not for having good athletes.
Actually, there are many primary schools with less than two periods of physical education per week, which surely is vastly inadequate.
The focus is always academic, with little time for physical activities to strengthen their bodies.
This is an area that the ministry should look into, to ensure that all pupils be strong not only mentally but physically, too.
There are already too many subjects being taught and adding more will be too taxing for the children.
While we wish our children to do well academically we also do not want them to end up with health problems later on in life due to lack of exercise.