Ex-schoolteacher & RI alumna’s post illuminates the consequences of S’porean “meritocracy”

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Photo: Mothership.SG

For this former teacher, studying at an elite school and teaching at a neighbourhood school made her realise just how problematic the message of meritocracy was.

By Matthias Ang, Mothership
October 4, 2018

Earlier this week, a video from CNA Insider on class differences, partly from the angle of education in Singapore, has garnered strong reactions and discussions about the issue among Singaporeans.

In particular, an emotional moment from the clip, extracted from a longer documentary, featured a boy studying in the Normal (Technical) stream who said he was afraid teachers in a mixed-stream class “would not teach” him because he is “very slow”:

Ex-teacher speaks up

Subsequently on Wednesday, Oct. 3, a former secondary school teacher by the name of Chew Wei Shan (who also happens to be a local musician going by the name weish) took to Facebook to share her take on the issue.

In her post, Chew pointed out that the video “only scratches the surface” and shared the severe dissonance she experienced from being a student at Raffles Institution to teaching at a neighbourhood secondary school.

These years spent at the two different educational environments, she writes, allowed Chew to see the effects of propagating meritocracy throughout schools “as gospel truth”.

It is a message that, from where she is standing, has resulted in serious consequences that, she says, have affected children’s lives.

Read more here.


Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as a GP and English tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to General Paper and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

GP or English tutors (including part-timers) keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

About gptuitionsg

A dedicated English and GP tutor with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, Steven Ooi retired from the profession after a 14-year career during which he was one of the most sought-after private tutors in Singapore. He is the recipient of the Minerva Prize from NUS, which is awarded to the top English Language honours student of each cohort. This website, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 on Google and has received over 530,000 hits, has now been converted into a GP resource site cum listing of recommended tutors. If you are a GP or English tutor who wishes to be listed here, please email Steven Ooi at stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Interested parties will be assessed and interviewed by him, and qualifications will be checked. These procedures are necessary to uphold quality standards. DISCLAIMER: While every reasonable effort has been made to assess the competence and verify the qualifications of recommended tutors here, no guarantees are made and you engage them at your own risk. By using this website, you agree that you will not hold the webmaster Steven Ooi responsible for any consequences — direct or otherwise — that occur in relation with your use of this website.
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