Celeb Dad Steven Chia: PSLE is a cruel exam

Mediacorp TV presenter Steven Chia opens up about his parenting journey and how he uses tech to parent…

Kids-Celeb-dad-Steven-Chia-PSLE-is-a-cruel-exam-3
It’s become common practice for parents to take up to a year off work when their child sits for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), but TV presenter Steven Chia pooh-poohs the very idea. “Why do parents take a year off when their kids have PSLE? It’s the kid taking the exam, not the parent!”

Doing so, will send your kids the wrong signal. Steven asserts, “Primary 6 becomes a year of no play, no sports, no anything that’s not the PSLE. How is real life anything like this? What are we teaching our kids?”

Steven’s daughter — Lucy, 11 — will be taking the national exam next year. He has this suggestion: Break the exams up into separate projects instead of having kids sit through it all at once.

“Yes, we need some tool of measurement but why not break [the exam] up into projects. Perhaps a project worth 20 per cent in Primary 5, then another in Primary 6, then another 20 per cent for community service and so on.”

The down-to-earth TV host notes that with several projects, the exams will allow for a better measurement of your child instead of those who just “perform”. “I have to say that I think the PSLE is a cruel exam. A 12-year-old child is measured on their performance on that one day and the next four years of their life is determined by that.”

"A 12-year-old child is measured on their performance on that one day and the next four years of their life is determined by that.”

Best known as the face of Channel NewsAsia’s news programmes like Singapore Tonight and PrimeTime Morning, Steven now hosts Talking Point, a half-hour TV show that looks at issues in Singapore.

When he’s not busy informing the nation about the day’s hot topics, Steven spends his time with his kids. “To me, anytime you spend with your kids is quality time and the more time you can spend with them when they’re younger, the better. Children just want to hang out with you, so any time that you spend with them is quality time.”

The affable TV presenter gives SmartParents the lowdown on how he and his wife Tania Gin parent their two kids, Joshua, 7, and Lucy, 11.

  Kids-Celeb-dad-Steven-Chia-PSLE-is-a-cruel-exam-7
What kind of dad would you say you are?
Most dads would consider themselves the fun dads but at the same time I would say I’m the disciplinarian at home. Once I raise my voice, they know that I mean business.

Any thoughts on caning as a form of discipline?
I think in this day and age don’t need [to cane them] lah, like I said when I raise my voice, they know that I mean business. But we also do the stand-in-the-corner routine. I think with every punishment, it’s essential that it comes with an explanation. So, they will go stand in the corner when they are punished, then I’ll talk to them after the punishment to make sure they understand what they did wrong in the particular situation.

   Kids-Celeb-dad-Steven-Chia-PSLE-is-a-cruel-exam-4
How has Joshua been adapting to his first year in Primary school? 
The first few weeks were a bit tough but he is used to it now — he enjoys himself at school. Primary 1 and 2 are important years. They (the school) did a good thing by removing exams from those years. It gives the children time to settle in as they become more and more independent.