“Project Work (PW) is simply an academic endeavour envisioned and instituted with genuinely-constructive purposes in mind; unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions” (Read More). Do you agree that Project Work in Junior Colleges is no longer useful or productive? Cognisant that this year’s Project Work grading is nearing, we want to hear first-hand experiences from Junior College students – past and present – on the programme, and whether they think it remains necessary.
Gabriel Tan (Mr.). It never had any [usefulness] to begin with. After all, what use is a project when you do not implement it in real life? It is no surprise to see students complaining when the end objectives of PW are merely to submit a stack of papers (a Report) and present your ideas to a panel of “judges” (an Oral Presentation). How can anyone derive satisfaction from a process that does not deliver benefits to our society?
Joel Yap (Mr.). I feel that Project Work is MOE’s attempt at injecting a “dose of reality” into the education life of JC students. Although a commendable effort by MOE, it is arguably inadequate. First, a “non-negligible” amount of data and results in many projects are exaggerated, or even fabricated. More often than not, it is impossible for examiners to verify the validity of such results.
Second, being a one-off affair, the weight (forty percent) allocated to Oral Presentation is unreasonably excessive. The assessment of one’s oral aptitude should be done more holistically. Third, since PW is a nation-wide A-level subject, a single “bell curve” should account for the result of all students. If MOE subjects the nation-wide results of all other A-Level subjects to conform to that of a single “bell curve”, I don’t see why PW should be exempted.
Perhaps the correct question is, “Is Project Work in Junior Colleges relevant”?
Tang Tai Koon (Mr.). The current education system has its emphasis based on academic results instead of hands-on approach. Life-skills such as presentation or teamwork are largely non-existent. It is true that PW can still be improved [further], as most individuals can still score a high grade by working alone and covering up for their less capable teammates, since the results are still mainly based on the final report and presentation which is “black and white”. However PW, in my opinion, is the closest in the JC curriculum to real life compared to other subjects.
Yeo Hui Ci (Miss). Just because you conditioned a platform for such performance to take place, doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone on the platform would go through the motion ideally and fruitfully. Many students and teachers alike will feel that PW has become more of a “scam”: as long you write a report prettily in words, present it in a lucid conniving manner, it doesn’t matter if one does propose a [good] solution.
The current state of the education system simply does not have the capacity to allow such an ideal subject of PW to run true to [its original principles and objectives]. Hence, it has probably become a burden [on] our kids. It has outlived its usefulness definitely, as it has just become “PW for the sake of doing PW”.
Robert Liow (Mr.). Project Work is a massive waste of time that teaches students how to be mere “planners” who plan out projects without actually taking feasibility difficulties into account and dealing with “conditions in the field”. Change is not enough; the subject ought to be scrapped as a waste of precious time that could otherwise be used for content subjects or personal development.
Talking about alternatives to PW, I feel, is pointless; there need be no alternatives for something so utterly futile. Better to let students develop themselves, rather than force development on them. Using PW to teach “life-skills” is like cutting a block of butter in half; you do it once, you leave a mark, but the butter doesn’t taste any better. Employees can always learn teamwork on the job, rather than sacrifice valuable time during their life as a student that could be used for personal development to learn them.
Some of the posts have been edited for length before publication (150 words). For the complete set of responses, do visit the FaceBook page. Also, do visit the Education Roundtable page, and give your opinions on next week’s issue!