Been shopping for Science textbooks (in Singapore) for a relative living in the States planning to home-school her children. It seems that the textbooks now have larger fonts and are more colourful. It could be that market competition for approved textbooks (there used to be only one publisher I believe) have led to Science textbooks having illustrated characters on covers instead of scarily realistic insects. All textbooks strictly follow syllabuses (as found on http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/syllabus
Page one of textbook themed 'Cycles' for Primary 3/4 (9-10yearolds)
AWW... so cute! and I personally view the 'Now I know how my mother felt.' as inserting some Confucian values into the teaching of Science (in Singapore there are laws [I am not sure of the specifics beyond wikipedia's version] obliging children to take care of parents).
and the requisite NE (it actually is, up to pre-university education [ages17-18], in all subjects I suspect even including physical education)
and on the last page,
I doubt the historical accuracy. but the section is well-meaning.
I like the education system in Singapore. Many complain of how it does not encourage creative thinking, that there is too much pure memorization (I am very good at this but I am sure this was not what got me near-to-perfect scores; this skill is merely the minimum required!), that there is too much stress.
I know I was good within the system and that I cannot speak for 'all' still I do believe that the system is good and enforced throughout the country, whether in public (top-tiered or neighbourhood) or private schools (barring international schools), and meritocracy is not a farce.
As for stress, gosh, I don't know, the more I had to learn, the more competitive it got, the better I felt. Of course my parents never sent me to all those enrichment classes now deemed so essential for 'a good education'. (parents complain that it is so expensive to put children through school starting at age 5 or earlier. yet schooling is free up to pre-university (primary school education is compulsory for all citizens). and the monthly miscellaneous fee is S$5 or S$6 in pre-university [could go up to S$20+ in autonomous schools]).