Joseph: Hi, I'm Joseph.
Jingwei: I'm Jingwei.
Joseph: And we are both from Singapore. And this is a video for elllo.org. Our question is are grades overemphasized in Singapore?
Jingwei: Yes, definitely I think. You start from primary school, they slot you into different classes based on your grades, like you have the best class and you have the worst class. It's kind of discriminating from a very young age, and then there is streaming as well. You get slot into EM1, EM2
Joseph: EM3, and that's like whoa! The social stigma is really huge, especially in Singapore. For me actually, this overemphasis on grades started way back like in kindergarden because parents would send their kids to like Montesorri special schools so that they get a head start, and especially back in two thousand when the gifted program was something that was every parent's dream. Yeah, they would send their kids to extra classes, so from the age of six you would be having like piano classes, recorder, violin classes even, and even third languages like French, German.
Jingwei: I took French.
Joseph: Well, I know a little bit of Japanese, but Chinese and English are what I'm really good at. But yeah, I guess you can tell that the pressure on students in Singapore are really immense. I mean we have constant pressure. Not often but we do see cases where students have actually committed self-hurt or self-injury because of the stress of the examinations, and also we have them … each school needs a counselor, so that the students will be able to have some one to talk to them when the have excess stress
Jingwei: But grades especially because if you want to make it into a good school, they look at your grades, not so much on your extra curricular activity, especially for the universities in Singapore as well, compared to the States where look at say your community work or such, right. Singapore is just much more focused on grades. You have to make that A or you have to make that B.
Joseph: Yeah, I guess that's why the grades are the most important thing here in Singapore.