THE issue of stress in Singapore schools came up at a talk given to 52 Chinese officials yesterday.

The officials are enrolled in the 10-month Master in Public Administration and Management course at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Senior Minister of State for Education and National Development Grace Fu gave an overview of the education system in Singapore and how it has evolved over the years.

During an hour-long question and answer session that followed, she was asked for her views on the effects of the exam-oriented education systems in Singapore and China. Responding in Mandarin, she said national exams allow the Ministry of Education (MOE) to ensure that teaching standards at all schools are up to the mark. Exams are also a meritocratic way for pupils to get into schools of their choice.

She added that stress often comes from parents who want their children to study at the best schools.

Ms Fu said children here are guaranteed a quality education no matter which school they get into. 'The strength of Singapore's education system is in the uniform standards at all schools. If you go to the best school or the worst school, you will find the difference in standard is not very big.'

Pupils' stress comes from parents