Thursday, August 04, 2005

Performing in class

The Primary One registration exercise is well underway, and as usual, we have parents writing to the press to suggest changes. One person suggested that it is ironic that his/her child does not stand first in line to select the school which is just a stone's throw away from the house, whereas others (children with siblings studying in same school, old boys/girls' children) get to choose first even though they may very be living half way across the island from the school. The writer even suggested that the child could be pre-enrolled in a school the day the baby is born - as if the family will stay across that good school forever. But I am not surprised. I have known of loving parents who bought houses near good schools so that their children can have a greater assurrance of successful enrolment in their school of choice.

Granted, 'good' schools come with deserved reputations, but it is also the energy and care of the parents during those school years that are just as important. Good schools may be places where people work the hardest and have the best programmes in town, if only because there is a reputation to maintain. So if you can get your son/daughter into one, good for you, but remember, the job is not complete for the parent. It is just the beginning of a long journey with the child.

With the benefit of hindsight, however, performing well in school does not guarantee anything except, perhaps, a good job in the government (via the scholarship system). Today, having a government job is not that attractive anymore. Out in the private sector, its mostly about performance, and how you can bring the organisation forward with your industry and ingenuity. While being first in class may indicate that you are better than the rest, it still begs the question, better in what respects? Studying skills? Memory or rote learning skills? Drilling and regurgitation skills? What about the different mental and psychological development of the girl/boy at this stage in their lives, which tends to 'favour' girls? I think there are too many variables in play. Performance in Primary school is not a good indicator of future success, however one measures that.

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