Education of Seth Yee, the Singaporean child genius
I read with interest a report of a Singaporean child genius, Seth Yee.
Like how often do we hear that we have a child genius in our midst?! Especially in tiny Singapore!
Lo and behold his parents begin looking for a school that can handle and further develop Seth Yee’s gift. And he is now in an Australian school.
I am happy that he finds joy in education. His school is also pitching in, helping pique his interest.
I am even more happy that Seth Yee is not going into the quagmire of what is the Singaporean education system.
Because over the years I see so many students with light in the eyes burn out as they slough through the school years.
Many have brilliant minds but their attention is spread so thin from unnecessary stress about Singaporean exams.
Consequently, they start doubting their abilities and decide they are just going to settle for being normal.
It takes some of them to leave the Singaporean education system to realize that they are awesome in many ways.
Seth Yee, pursuing an overseas education
I recount many students who venture into overseas universities as they can’t get into local universities.
And many quickly end up on Dean’s list for outstanding contribution and academic performance.
They also use the overseas platform to strive even higher up.
I have some students who gained admissions into Oxford University working on their postgraduate degree or working at some renowned institutions.
And I begin to see the light slowly reappear in their eyes when I catch-up with them about their dreams, and future aspirations.
Should I follow the same path?
I know some of you reading this may be students yourself. Or even parents thinking or planning your child’s future.
And I can almost hear you asking this question how can you best help your child. And give them the best possible start in their subsequent work life.
For most families sending the children overseas at Seth Yee’s age is not feasible.
There are many reasons.
There is not enough money for that. Or there’s family to look after. And both parents have careers that aren’t able to cross over to another country to go with the child, etc.
These are all valid points and real concerns.
Seth Yee, pursuing an overseas education: when I follow the same path?
Even worse talking to local teachers won’t bring any insights. As most of them have not gone for any overseas education themselves.
In my honest opinion, it is not a matter of whether to but when.
If it is not possible in when the child is at a younger age. Then wait for the opportunity to arise later!
B y perhaps staying in the Singaporean education system at least until A levels, Diploma, International Baccalaureate level.
From then on, it is just the costs of overseas universities and living expenses.
Seth Yee, pursuing an overseas education: let’s talk about costs
The costs can be partly off set by seeking overseas scholarships widely available both locally and by foreign universities.
Some countries/universities allow foreign students to work part time.
This can build up their character as well as alleviate the pressure of expenses. In addition, this also brings a level of maturity having to juggle the rigors of academic, work and social life.
In fact the environment may even be conducive for these students to be more entrepreneurial.
Or take unconventional paths, giving them an edge over their counterparts should they one day return home to Singapore.
Seth Yee, pursuing an overseas education: bottomline
Up to then however, the parent will have to play an active role at home to counteract the negativity in the Singaporean schooling system.
Such as actively planning their activities and development for example.
As well as positive reinforcement of their brilliance frequently to counteract the negativity in school.
Look for academic tutors who can challenge the students intellectually for them to remain interested in studies.
I am quite fortunate to have occasional students in my midst like Seth Yee such as a RI boy who is in Sec 3 and currently working through the A level syllabus.
And hopefully, after A levels they find a foreign university equipped to take the kid’s brilliance to the next level.
And be the next Seth Yee. Or even more.