SSISS: Singapore students top global problem-solving test, gift ideas for babies born next year

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By Martino Tan | April 2, 2014

Sound Smarter in Sixty Seconds (SSISS) is Mothership’s daily brief on the important headlines of the day. We will also contribute our views on the issues at hand.


Singapore students top global problem-solving test

Singapore’s 15-year-olds topped a global assessment on problem solving skills, according to the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

85,000 students worldwide took part in a computer-based problem-solving test. The 1,394 students from Singapore come from 172 schools, and they were randomly selected by PISA for the assessment.

Out of the 172 schools, six are private schools, such as the Singapore American School, St Joseph’s Institution International and Alsagoff Arab School.

PISA Mean scores

Source: Ministry of Education

PISA assesses the capacity of 15-year-old students to apply knowledge and skills in Mathematics, Reading and Science, as they solve problems in a variety of real-life situations. Kudos to our young Singaporeans for excelling in these tests.

Former Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam once said that US  “is a talent meritocracy”, while Singapore is “an exam meritocracy”, and added that Singapore “know how to train people to take exams”. Hopefully, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat can build on these successes and inculcate our young with a good moral compass to navigate the brave new world. A Singaporean winning the Nobel Prize in future? How about a Nobel Peace Prize instead?


Gift pack for babies born next year


Source: HeyBaby website

The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) announced that all Singaporean babies born next year, including those born overseas, will receive a gift pack from the Government.

The gift pack would contain about five to 10 items with “heritage value”. NPTD has ruled out giving cash handouts, since parents already receive monetary incentives under the existing Marriage and Parenthood Package. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu suggested a sarong with a national flag motif.


The gift ideas for Singapore Jubilee babies have generated an online buzz. Blogger Mr Brown provided a tongue in cheek suggestion, proposing that the government include a $50,000 note, which could also be used as a sarong. He also suggested a voucher that gives the parent two extra chances for their kid at the primary school of their choice. Blogger Mr Miyagi proposed a Hello Kitty N95 maskOther suggestions can be found on Twitter (#sg50babygiftideas). The public can submit ideas through the Jubilee Baby Gift’s website.


Top photo from here.

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About Martino Tan

Martino’s parents named him after an Italian priest, Vatican's 1st ambassador to S’pore. He's inspired by the lives of Robert Kennedy & D. Bonhoeffer, the words of G.Orwell & T.Sorensen, & the music of the Beatles.

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