Monday, September 17, 2012

Educating the parent

The Ministry of Education (MOE) didn't disappoint. Apparently it heard from the ground about some of the grouses about the way children are taught in schools and the school system itself. So in its last policy revision, it is no longer ranking (banding is the word used by the MOE) schools. Indeed it now says that all schools are good schools, whatever that means. We know this is not true, but it doesn't harm to be ambiguous, does it? I suppose not. The MOE says that academic results is not the be all and end all of learning. I will agree wholeheartedly with them, except...

But I wonder if parents who still have school-going kids and who still face 2 major national exams - the PSLE and the GCE 'O' Levels, think they can go along, even against their best wishes? Look, so long as these exams exist in their present form and purpose, parents will still engage tutors, send their children for enrichment classes, and God knows what else, to give their children that extra edge. These latest initiatives will mean little. As they say, the devil is in the details. How will this policy be implemented? How extensive will be be? Will the MOE implement communist-style uniformity? What do we mean by unique programmes? Do they matter when its comes to these major exams? After all, the Education Minister didn't say that these national exams will be reformed. The PSLE, we can control and dictate. But we are apparently not touching. The GCE - well you have to call London.

So while I congratulate the MOE for admitting it had been wrong all along, it hasn't gone far enough for these changes to make any significant difference. If I were a private tutor today, I wouldn't worry about my rice bowl a single moment.

But we, the parents, should also do some deep reflecting. Because a large part of the blame for how we educate our children goes to us.

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