Stop setting your sights on Singapore

28th January 2011 at 00:00

William Stewart mentioned that Singapore's school system may be one of those used as a model in the curriculum review because high results are achieved ("Wipeout? Subjects could disappear in curriculum overhaul", January 21). I cannot be silent. I attended a typical Singapore state primary school until June 2000.

Discipline was routinely enforced with the cane. Children had to attend school in two sessions, either in the morning, starting very early, or in the afternoon, ending very late, due to the unwillingness of the government to provide enough classrooms for all.

Most teachers of English could not speak English well. Parents were prepared to sacrifice much to pay for private tuition in every subject, and certainly it was all this coaching outside school which produced good results.

Finally, even the government cited the school system as one of the primary factors persuading middle-class families to migrate (to Western countries) and it was one of the main factors which persuaded my own family to do the same.

We came to England and I have since been very grateful to have left the Singapore school system, where I was left behind and would have been unable to go to university. Here I have obtained a good degree from King's College London and am training to become a teacher.

Francesco Kor, Bristol.

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