“It seems to me that juku are sending a message to kids that they really don’t have to pay attention at regular school because they’re going to learn the same thing at juku later. That’s one problem. Another is that Japanese children aren’t rewarded for independent thinking. I remember going to class one time and the teacher was saying, ” Okay, everyone, let’s be more creative. What are the things you need to do to be creative? Write them on the blackboard.”
Ezra Vogel, “What happened to number one?” in Reimagining Japan
Juku is basically tuition centers, or cram schools for entrance examinations. These criticisms can be applied to the Singapore education system as well. It is hard to inculcate creativity though. There needs to be a deeper change in culture in order to encourage creativity.
More about how tuition centers are ridiculous some other time.
Research into creative thinkers has revealed that they have personalities full of contradictions. Eminent psychologist Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi has discovered that creative people ‘contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”
Rolf Dobelli, The art of thinking clearly
From a Rafflesian point of view, maybe there is some merit to having a two-headed bird. More people, more ideas.
Toynbee explained civilisational change through a theory of challenge and response, which posited that an established elite eventually loses its ‘creativity’ and then its end comes sooner or later because it begins meeting challenges to which it cannot adapt and with which it cannot cope.
Michael D. Barr, Ruling elite of Singapore
I think this book is not available in Singapore?
For the record, I disagree with the statement above — as long as we maintain a scholarship channel that develops young talent by exposing them to an overseas education.