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Posts Tagged ‘alignment

This STonline article lead with this opening line:

The education system needs to be aligned with the structure of the economy, so that people will continue to be armed with the required skills to find jobs in the current age of disruption.

We probably take this stance for granted in Singapore. The refrain is like white noise and the blue sky that envelops our tiny Red Dot.
 

 
The economic focus has its merits, of course, and the news article mentioned a relatively low post-graduation unemployment rate and a renewed focus on skills over pure academic results.

But surely our education system must align itself, without conflict, to more than just the economy.

  • How about the arts in all its forms?
  • How about the development of individuals to their fullest of their abilities?
  • How about helping these individuals by focusing on equity instead of equality?
  • How about nurturing citizens of the country and the rest world who are compassionate problem-seekers and solvers?
  • How about not calling these approaches idealistic and investigating how they actually contribute to the economy and more?

What else should an education system align to?

Last week I tweeted this opinion piece.

The article makes valid and important points, but one example troubled me.

Take the wearing of the school uniform, a practice that has been in place since before independence. By enforcing a standard dress code, schools send a symbolic message that students are all equal in the school environment, and reduce comparisons between students based on the brands and provenances of their clothes.

You can make people wear the same thing, but you cannot make them the same. Individuals wear those clothes and they can tell each other apart not just on looks but also on status.

Wearing a uniform is more about alignment, not conformity. It is about the values you associate with whether you already have them or will learn them.

Uniforms should be about identity, not equality. Let’s not confuse the two.
 


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