Should teachers be required to ace the exams for subjects they teach?

This was a question posed by a writer who wrote to The Straits Times Forum.

In a letter published on 28 February 2015 titled "Make teachers take national exams", Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong suggested that MOE teachers should ace exams in order to prove that they are knowledgeable in the subjects they are teaching.

Ms Loh pointed out that Singapore is becoming over-reliant on tuition and there were recently stories published about tutors sitting exams to ensure that they were up to the mark.

This is a more likely trend in private tuition which is highly competitive and results-oriented. Yet the same level of competitiveness is not seen by MOE teachers who have already secured jobs in schools.

However, as teachers are supposed to do the bulk of actual teaching with tuition being more of a supplement than a replacement, it is worrying that tutors may be putting in more effort than our children's mainstream school teachers.

Ms Loh then suggested that one way to ensure that teachers are up to standard could be to make them sit the exams with their students to ensure that they are indeed scoring near perfect scores in them. Another aspect of this, Ms Loh pointed out, was that students will also feel more confident about their teachers' abilities if consistently good results were achieved.

Do you agree with this writer who wrote to the Straits Times? Would it improve our education system if there were regular exams held for teachers to ensure that their knowledge and mastery of the subjects they teach is adequate?

Or do you feel that there are other issues which need to be addressed more urgently in our education system such as the overemphasis on model answers and the stunting of creativity?

This editorial piece first appeared in The Real Singapore on 28 February 2015. It was reproduced with permission.


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