Does a meritocratic educational system breed Elitism? I believe so. (Student perspective)

The meritocratic educational system in Singapore does create a divide between difference classes of people with the rise of Elitism.Image

This quote by Larry Kersten encompasses the meaning of being an elitist; the assurance and satisfaction gained by trampling everyone else in academics, physical health and social life. I, however, am on the receiving end of this elitist society and so are many students of my school. Since we parted ways in Primary school, talking to friends who got into elite schools has not been much engaging. They got rewarded, in the form of their PSLE scores, to go on get the best grades, go on to get the best jobs and go on to secure their rightful place in the community. But we just get discriminated against and deprived of many opportunities to excel as much as those in an elite environment.

The school environment breeds notions of elitism. Surrounded by people of similar mental abilities, getting influenced is common. Students get influenced to compete in their own race in academics to be the best one on top and reap the benefits of that accomplished feat. Such great feelings of competition develop like a rapid fire in such environments. The educational systems in such elite schools place tremendous emphasis on being better than the rest of the students nationwide, be it in academics or athletics. With such a great impact on these students, a condescending perspective of such students ensues. Their motive is to widen the gap between “ordinary” students and themselves.   

At a school reunion, I was taken aback by the change that was reflected in my peers’ attitude. They had a constant urge to find out how we were doing in school – not socially but academically. Many of my friends, who are currently in elite schools, did not even approach any of those classmates who were not in such schools. Instead, they preferred to mingle within their social circle, creating a distinct boundary between us and them. Are we not worthy to talk to?
Growing up that way, these students lose perspective and forget that they belong to a privileged minority unlike others. An educational system that focuses on the commonly known statement, “May the best man win”, has seen its outcome as one that segregates the elite students from the others. What is not realised it that by doing so, we only boost the ego of elite students as being top notch in our community. 

– Nikita Gupta (15) 

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