"The supposed purpose of education, as promoted by the training industry, is career advancement, higher pay, and empowering a school graduate's job search. [However, this should be considered only as] the existing personal need for education" (BFuniv. com, 2010, para. 2) and the result of being informed - for the selfish advantages of the individual rather than the world - rather than being the goal of education. The goal of education, or to be educated, is more than that. Before, the goal of education is to pass on social, ethnical and moral principles, traditions and religions, and skills to another technology (Kendall, D. , Murray, J. & Linden, R. , 2004) to ensure the survival of the culture and future era. Today, education is still widely seen as a mean to impart knowledge and skills, and also to help people develop the capability to make the 'right' selections and decisions. However, as mentioned in Confucianism, "in order to be truly informed, one must to start with be able to learn extensively, enquire accurately, reflect carefully, separate clearly and last but not less, practice earnestly" (Yao, 2001, p. 212). Out of this, the purpose of the education can simply be concluded concerning create morally upright, educated, analytical and action-initiative individuals and leaders who are able to contribute to the different aspects - communal, economical and political - of any society.
The first aspect of the goal of education is to instill knowledge in the learners. You can find two different kinds of knowledge, the technological knowledge and the annals and social knowledge. Scientific knowledge contains facts and information that are purchased through long monotonous process of testing and looking at before it is accepted and acknowledged by the contemporary society (BusinessDictionary. com). Background and cultural knowledge, on the other palm, are information of past events and ideas that are gained from previous activities (Hoerr, 2007, para. 1). One can only be looked at as educated when you have the mixed understanding and knowing of both methodical and record and ethnical knowledge. However, prepared with only knowledge, it is not enough for an individual, even only as a follower, to add much to the modern culture.
Equipped with knowledge, another aspect of the purpose of education is to nurture these competent specific to be analytical people. Education will not desire the development of a generation of men and women whose brain are so packed with only knowledge and the only real capability to memorize and regurgitate facts. With the ability to analyze every piece of knowledge gained from literature or encounters and learn from it, one do not need to have dread when confronted with problems and issues in life as they could be triumph over through careful evaluation, followed by appropriate applications of knowledge and skills. Folks who are successfully equipped with these two aspects of the purpose of education will be able to think out of the box and contribute to the society financially or even politically.
With the rise of countries like China and India who have a good amount of cheap labour, Singapore can no longer compete effectively in the labour-intensive production market. As quoted by Alvin Toffler (1990), "The main monetary development of our life span has been the go up of a fresh system for creating wealth, predicated on longer on muscle but on head. " (p. 9). To make sure its survival, Singapore shifted its focus to working towards a knowledge-based contemporary society which demands creative and critical thinking skills. The differ from a labour-intensive industry to a service-driven market impacts "the demand for education, the uses put to education, and the demands made on education for tailoring the labor force to those demands. " (Riddell, 1996, p. 1363). Quite simply, this change demands more self-employed learning, imagination and innovations. Hence, the "Teach Less, FIND OUT MORE"1 system (TLLM) that is started in 2006 under the "Thinking School, Learning Nation"2 (TSLN) vision is implemented in the Singapore education system to fulfill the first two aspects of the purpose of education.
"Show Less, FIND OUT MORE" is about teaching easier to participate the learners and prepare them forever, rather than teaching more for testing and examinations (MOE). It develops on the building blocks laid in place under the TSLN perspective and the soul of Creativity and Venture3 (I&E). The partnership between TSLN, I&E and TLLM can be seen in the Shape 1 (taken from MOE website) below.
Figure 1: Chart showing the partnership between TSLN, I&E and TLLM
Figure 1: Graph showing the relationship between TSLN, I&E and TLLM
TLLM is designed to help learners broadened their opportunity of knowledge, apart from the ones had a need to rating well in testing and examinations, and also encourage learners to be analytical as it is no longer about memorizing and regurgitating facts and data.
While I&E also promotes learners to be analytic, its primary goal is to promote the willingness to try new and untested routes without fear of failing and produces market leaders who are ready "to be flexible, to multitask, to consider responsibility and inspire clubs and organizations to adopt leaps of development" (MOE). As quoted by Riddell, he is convinced that the most important skill that education can inculcate in the learner is overall flexibility (1996). This leads to the third areas of the goal of education which is to cultivate authority, initiative and flexibility in the average person. This is to ensure that there will always be several leaders that is ready to take the first rung on the ladder out and lead the rest of the contemporary society towards success in the uncertain future by being flexible and open to new untested ideas when exploring the street to success.
These three aspects of the purpose of education will of course have several implications on the instructors and students in Singapore. Professors need to be innovative in teaching in order to ensure that learning was important and pleasurable to the students (Ho, 2009) and effectively encourage self-directed learning in all students. Which means that there should be less reliance on drill, practice and rote learning (MOE). Thus, the role of any teacher should be that of a mentor, facilitator and model rather than being someone who only do "teacher discussion" and lecturing (MOE). Educators are also necessary to be prepared in curriculum development, research and pedagogical skills by joining workshops on curriculum development and different pedagogies, and with the establishment of the Research Activist Scheme, teachers can find out more on research methodologies (Ho, 2009). All these prep and learning is to ensure that instructors have the ability to recognize and cater better to students' unique and various learning needs.
For the students, they will no more to be spoon-fed by the teachers. This calls for self-directed and self-motivated learning which is in tune with the Desired Final results of Education. Students will have to take up the mantle of being "a self-directed learner who will take responsibility for his own learning, who questions, shows and perseveres in the quest for learning" (MOE) and "an active contributor who's able to work effectively in clubs, exercises initiative, will take calculated risks, is ground breaking and strives for excellence" (MOE). Furthermore, as syllabuses will be trimmed, students will have more time for it to focus on primary knowledge and skills (MOE) or even to widen their range of knowledge. Students may also be required to learn how to apply their knowledge to solve or overcome the issues and challenges presented to them. Only memorizing and regurgitating knowledge will never be enough to rating well. A good example of this Problem-Based Learning will be the Project Work4 introduced in to the Junior School syllabus to encourage knowledge research and applications.
The above three areas of education may efficiently mold a generation of internationally competitive citizens much sought after by the global market but it does not automatically ensure that these capable people wouldn't normally use their intellect to build trouble for the contemporary society or even just forego their homeland to pursuit a high-flying career. As Teo said, "Of what use is the education system if it produces smart crooks or selfish individualists who feel no obligation to population, or loyalty to region? Education must imbue another technology with the right value system. Through values education, we must develop future individuals with upright figure who can donate to their community. We must also inculcate in our young a profound sense of bonding to the nation, in order that they will anticipate to stay and fight in times of adversity. " (1998).
This leads us to the last and most important aspect of the goal of education which is to create morally upright people that is specialized in serving and contributing to their country. As beliefs are a set of social norms that tutorials the actions of an individual and the culture, values education is thus used as a mean to instill a sense of morality in the learners. "Values are either innate or acquired. Innate values are [the] inborn divine virtues such as love, tranquility, pleasure, mercy and compassion as well as the positive moral qualities such as esteem, humility, tolerance, responsibility, cooperation, honesty and convenience. Acquired prices are those exterior values implemented at [one's] 'place of beginning' or 'place of development' and are influenced by the environment. " (Reddy). Hence, ideals education consists of identity education, which creates on the innate values, and the nationwide education, which is often considered as an integral part of the acquired principles as it is influenced by the federal government of the country.
Character education means that the average person will abide by regulations and protect the peacefulness and tranquility of the culture through "sociable and psychological learning, moral reasoning/cognitive development, life skills education, health education; violence elimination, critical thinking, moral reasoning, and issue resolution and mediation" (Lickona, 1998). The well-being of the modern culture and the health and great things about the other individuals will be made certain.
National education seeks to inculcate countrywide loyalty and a feeling of belongingness in the learners. This is essential in the monetary and public development of a culture as the survival of an country depends seriously on the contributions of its individuals - whether it is attempting to keep one's country before others in the global market or being another educator to the future generations.
In Singapore framework, values education takes the proper execution of the curriculum subject Civics and Moral Education5 (CME), National Education6 (NE) initiatives (2008) and Sociable Studies7. Especially at the border of the 21st century and with the pass on of globalization, students are more likely to exhibits characteristics like materialism and bad consumerism which might have "severe economic repercussions in the future" for a resource-limited small country like Singapore (2008). The work of the educator in cases like this would be to instill a sense of thriftiness in these students and at the same time. Of these lessons, instead of basically preaching about good governance, teachers should permit the students to identify the professionals and disadvantages of certain procedures like the execution of the Central Provident Account7 (CPF) or the Electronic Road Costs8 (ERP) and get them to see the need for these insurance policies in the point of view of the government so as to "[foster] cultural cohesion and rootedness to" Singapore. In addition, instead of only droning on and on about the moral issues and ideals that arises in Singapore's population, teachers can attempt to interest the students by getting them to believe critically about these issues and draw up possible alternatives. To successfully indulge students in prices education, professors themselves should play an active role in imparting the principles to the students rather than use the NE or "CME class period[s] for revision of other academics subject matter" (2008).
Students should not study Public Studies for the sake of rating well in the "compulsory and examinable subject matter". Prices should be learn and recinded to be applied in the later part of these life when they step in to the society of virtues and vices.
In conclusion, in order for a country or culture to flourish, it is crucial that the educational procedures implemented by the country leaders must be in line with the goal of education. This is especially significant whenever a nation wants to prepare and provide its residents with the necessary tools to fight the difficulties of globalization. Education in the 21st century will be "flexible, creative, challenging, and complex" as it addresses the many issues that will occur from the speedy progression of the world (21st Century Schools, 2008, para. 3) but there also needs to be a increased emphasis of principles education so as to counteract any undesirable attributes that are destined to show up in the whirlwind of relatively impossible changes. The continuing future of Singapore rests in the hands of its future citizens; hence the training of today's young ones should not be taken gently.