I felt that at least 70% (I’d like to say 100%) of the blame should be on the students themselves for dragging their own assembly (particularly this one) for so long. The students themselves already know from past experience that the man can be long-winded, and yet they persist in disrupting the session with their noise levels; knowing that the man will speak even more because of the noise. Well obviously there are some uninteresting bits in his speech, and there’s nothing wrong in being uninterested (everyone should be disinterested in some things); but you should at least shut up when you are asked to, or else you can’t blame anyone but yourself for being released late. And don’t freaking complain about the school about this because it is your own fault.
I think the students should NOT correlate one’s relatively poor command of spoken English to his intelligence. This guy is not only an educator, he’s a school policymaker (an important one at that too). What on earth makes you think he will not understand jargon used in education (well not only education) like “holistic education”, “paradigm shift”? If you can’t give any respect for his attempts to at a dialogue, at least acknowledge some level of his intelligence. I simply cannot stand atrociously dismissive comments like “He won’t understand what the guy said” or “I don’t think he knows the answer to the guy’s question”, unless there has been substantial evidence (of which I think is lacking) that he lacks a basic level of knowledge wrt education. Don’t jump to conclusions, people.
I was also entirely shocked that someone could say that inequality was bad because “an interviewer would pick a person with the diploma over the person without a diploma”. Isn’t that the whole idea of inequality in education? That the person who does better is rewarded more accordingly? If this idea of educational equality is fully implemented (i.e. we have no systems of streaming), then everyone would receive the same amount of education regardless of achievement (lo and behold Communism), which is no way for a society to function. I might have misconstrued what he said (because I rephrased his words), but I will not accept the idea that education should be not be meritocratic (which is what some people seem to think). Unless the argument against the policy (of the Hwa Chong Diploma) goes against the effects of competition created. That’s a different story, and might be one I’d agree with.
I’m blogging about this in the time that I have (before I go back to school for something else). I don’t know if this post comes out too rashly (this seems more feeling than thought to me), because I may not have given it enough thought (well if I did, I might write some PSB-style thingy again). But I think I make some sense, and the fact that I think I do really disappoints me, both in our students, and our system (which churns these students out).