English Is The Most Important Subject In School


In school, we are often required to take a myriad of subjects- from core subjects like languages and mathematics, to electives like humanities and arts.

The education system in Singapore has long championed holistic development and learning…but does it work?

Theoretically, all subjects should be equally important, since they are all graded the same. However, we all know that in practice, not all subjects are seen as equally important by other parents.

To find out why, we took to the street to interview and survey their opinions on the topic of Subject Hierarchy.

What we found out is that out of 100 parents surveyed, the majority consider English the most important subject (56%), followed by Mathematics (24%) and then Mother Tongue (10%).
Science was stated as being the least important – garnering only 5% of the vote.

Why is it so?

When pushed to explain their choices, parents often cited English as the foundation to do well for all the other subjects, since every other subject requires mastery of the language for comprehension.

For example, one of the parents explained that in order to understand what the question is saying in a Mathematics open-ended question for PSLE, the student needs to have a certain level of mastery in the English language too.

For Mathematics, ranked as the close second place, parents explained that it is important because traditionally, the subject has been viewed with high regard and seen as one of the core measurements of a student’s academic ability.

Surprisingly, Mother Tongue outranked Science as the 3rd most important subject. When asked for their reasons, most parents noted the pressure of it being a compulsory subject and its progression possibility to Higher Mother Tongue.

What does it all mean?

From the results, does this imply that parents should focus more on English rather than other subjects, given the attention that they are receiving?

More attention probably will mean more competition for the students. However, more attention also means that the overall standard of mastery for the particular subject will be collectively higher as well. The level of attention given to these 2 subjects probably contributes in some ways to Singapore students’ exceptional performance in the global rankings for languages and mathematics.

However, even though this is the case, one must be careful and not blindly focus on one or two particular subjects when helping the child to succeed academically. Instead, parents should perhaps try to develop a holistic learning experience and instill the love of learning across disciplines within the child.

What do you think?

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