Why China girl is top PSLE student

Were you surprised to read about the academic feats of the China girl who scored 4 A* and a Distinction in Higher Chinese?

Not me. My teacher friends have been feeding me stories of the impressive academic ability of foreign students in the local schools, both primary and secondary.

Barely able to speak English when she arrived in 2006, she really impressed with an A* in the subject.

I’m constantly nonplussed why our students are grammatically-challenged even after learning English for ten to twelve years. It’s not for want of intelligence surely. I think it’s largely due to the lack of interest and laziness.

The Chinese have this culture of “chi ku” which means the ability to put up with hardship. They work hard at improving their vocabulary using their electronic dictionary, and reading widely. With this prodigious effort they can surpass or equal our local kids in a few years.

While our local kids are obsessed with IM, SMS, Facebook, PSP, downloading songs, computer games etc, foreign students are quietly improving themselves. To be sure they’re not immune to such distractions but they know where their priorities lie.

It’s bizarredly funny to watch foreign students walk away with the prizes while our local kids are more intent on amusing themselves.

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10 Responses to “Why China girl is top PSLE student”

  1. This shows the difference between our kids and foreign kids.

    What kind of steps we have to take to make our kids as clever as other students ?

    can you explain that ?

  2. Our youngsters have to

    1 learn time management
    2 learn to priortise
    3 avoid too much distraction eg computer games
    4 put up with hardship
    5 learn the art of studying eg how to take notes

    Generally speaking our youngsters are not as hungry as foreign students, spoilt and fond of fun.

  3. Should be statistics at work. When you consider MOE give away scholarships to a country as big as China and even if only 1% respond, that’s bigger than our entire student population! And because they are on scholarship, they will not give up so easily. Our pre-tertiary education is heavily subsidized, even for prestigious non government schools, we get PM scholarship (PM == papa mama).

  4. One set of students come from foreign lands and see the importance of achievment to get them farther ahead. So when the opportunity for government scholarships and the chance to study in Singapore (from their Father-Mother Scholarship), they work hard at getting the results.

    On the hand the Singapore set of students have it so good – thanks to their parents who give them “what they want or give in to their demands” because parents themselves never had that golden opportunity or benefits. I have friends whose children think that their parents owe them a living. When parents show concern for their children, they think their parents are naggy. When parents tell their children how their parents struggled and had to make-do with what they had, they think it is “anceint history” and boring.

    So you tell me who will be more hungry and strive all out to achieve the result? The foreign students or the Singaproe students? May be there is a minority of Singapore students who are just like their foreign counterparts except we don’t get to see them, hear them or read about them.

  5. @Icemoon. Children can take advantage of their PM Scholarship, demanding to study overseas when they can’t make it to the local universities as a result of fooling around too much. A stressful situation a close friend is now facing.

    @Peter. I agree with you whole-heartedly that parents are spoiling their children (this is a story for another day). This is a worrying trend that has the potential for future tensions in the family.

    That there are local kids excelling in their studies as well can’t be disputed.

    China kids excel in Maths and Science but generally struggle in subjects requiring a competency in English eg in the Humanities However, once they’ve become fairly competent in English, they race ahead.

  6. Dear Sir,

    In my humble opinion, there’s no such thing call smart or not so bright student but the clear cut difference comes from who is more willing to put in more efforts to excel. The determination, the willingness and desire to excel will surely determine how good a student is. =D

  7. Are foreigners better at social studies? (What’s the subject with a lot of Singapore history, politics and policies?) Please don’t tell me they are …

  8. They struggle in Social Studies, History and Geog due to their poor command of English. But once they become competent in English, they’ll do well given their prowess in rote learning esp in History and Geog. Social Studies, however, require a greater degree of Englsh skills.

  9. Like it or not, the Chinese are permeating all levels of our society – from the service staff at the foodcourts and petrol kiosks to our universities. Before Singaporeans get too xenophobic, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It serves as a timely wake up call for bo chap Singaporeans to pull up their socks.

  10. Yes, creeping complacency, Victor.


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