Rather than trying to outperform others, the focus for a student should be to do his best to surpass himself, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said.
In an enlightening interview with Berita Harian (15 Dec), reported by the Straits Times, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said that Singapore must not have just one narrow yardstick to measure success for everyone.
This is because different people have different talents.
The education ministry recognises this and is constantly encouraging society to broaden the definition of meritocracy, Mr Chan said.
Individual fields should stay meritocratic. But there is no one path to success, so success cannot be narrowly confined to a few jobs, Mr Chan said.
The Singapore’s education system will continue to move away from narrow yardstick to more diverse ways of measuring success.
“Whether you’re singing, you’re cooking or you’re doing engineering – all these are different skills. All these are diverse skills and they are all required for the resilience of our country,” said Mr Chan.
Surpass yourself, not outperform others
The focus, Mr Chan said, should be on encouraging students to do well and surpass themselves, to outdo their personal bests rather than on outperforming others.
It is more challenging to outdo one’s own personal bests than to outperform others because when you have outperformed others, the question still remains if that is the best that you can do for yourself, Mr Chan explained.
“Life is a long journey where we constantly want to improve ourselves, regardless of whether other people are competing with us. I think that’s a very important cultural issue,” he said.