Quite a number of schools have been asking students to attend extra class in preparation for the upcoming ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level exams, with some even making it mandatory. In effect, these schools are forcing children to have work weeks unlike adult’s work schedules.

My question is: Is such a method of prepping students ahead of exams relevant in today’s world? Is it even appropriate?

With all the talks on work-life balance in the workforce, it is high time to extend the focus to include students. The practice of forcing students to attend extra class should be scrutinised for its effectiveness in producing excellent results.

As a matter of fact, I believe that it may actually backfire, and instead of the aim for better results, students may score poorer due to the lack of study-life balance.

If students were asked to attend school in the morning and extra classes in the afternoon, it would mean no revision at home as they would be completely drained of all mental energy to absorb more study material. They may seek entertainment, such as TV and gaming, to nurse their stressed mind.

The schools should learn to let go of the gas pedal when it comes to students’ academic performance. Young people have their sense of agency; it should not be the duty of an external force, such as teachers or parents, to propel them to study hard.

The job of a school is to make it abundantly clear to the students that it is their responsibility to attain all the necessary credits. As such, I hope these extra classes are made optional as the stress that comes with them may be detrimental to students’ mental health.

The same can be said about homework. There is an urgent need to rethink our education system. With the 4th Industrial Revolution in our midst, working smart counts more than working hard. Jobs that require “hard work” will soon be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. What we need right now more than ever is to train the next generation to think smart.

We can begin by providing tools for these youngsters to forge a balance between studies and living.

AMO