Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Flaws in education system

Much has been debated over the education system in Singapore over the years and we can hope for changes which is unlikely. Not my children's time for sure, they are already stuck in the race. For my grandchildren? Fat hope! I think by then competition will become more stiff.

When there is a system in place, people turn 'selfish' and fight the system by finding the loopholes and squeeze through it. Before I explain myself further on the loopholes, let me explain what do I mean by 'selfish'. Over the years, I've realised that my honesty doesn't mean that other people are honest with me. Some when asked if trying for DSA route, they'll say no but secretly had been planning behind doors with specialised training. Sigh... I never knew that this phrase "every man for himself" applies to parenting as well. Can you imagine what Singapore parents has become? 
Competition = every parent is possibly your enemy

LOOpy Holes
Any system that is put up, we play the system to our own favour. Let's start from the beginning.. 

Registration of P1 - 
I'll skip Phase 1 coz that's a guaranteed space for the second n subsequent kid, which (maybe) the parent had fought for for their first kid   
1) Parents alma mater (Phase 2A): especially in popular schools, some more competitive parents will pay some fees to join the alumni to put themselves in Phase 2A1. The rests goes to 2A2. Phase 2A also applies to child whose parent is a staff member of the primary school of choice. I know che-che's P1 teacher joined another more popular school for the obvious reason. Whether she enjoys teaching there is a different story but these are things that parents are willing to go all the way for their kids.

2) Phase 2B : Three categories are fighting for space in this phase 
(a) Parents volunteer for the sake of volunteering to put their child in this school. Once their child are in, they're gone. In more popular schools, parents are also fighting for space to volunteer. I'm glad the girls' primary school has stopped this for many years coz you don't see them at all, and it's PVs that the school needs.

(b) Member of church / clan directly connected with the primary school. Long time ago, it seems easy to get letter from the clan. Then in 2009, I heard a news from one parent that they required parents to be in the clan for 5 years and not 1 year in a certain school. Apparently, I believe many parents had abused the system by requesting letter for one year to put their child in the most popular shhk schools (5 in Singapore) so this school has set a requirement not known to all of min 5 years in hhk. That was the year a friend of mine was to register her son, I told her about this and at first she didn't believe me and suggested that maybe she has to re-strategize her plans. I asked her to call the school to check which she did and confirmed.   

(c) Active community leader : I know someone who used to stay really far far away, one of the parent sacrificed his weekends / off days to do this just to put their child in this phase. Subsequently to put themselves in higher stake, they managed to get a place very close to school.  

3) Phase 2C : the rest of the lost sheeps goes here

4) Phase 2C Supp : The lost amongst the lost sheeps

5) Phase 3: doesn't apply to us unless you're not a Singapore Citizen or PR

In each phase if there is any over subscription, proximity to school counts & citizenship counts. This is where some sneakiness comes in. Good for those who already live near the school. But not many will be willing to move close to school, so they beat the system by renting a place near the school. Whether they live there or not is a different thing. A friend used her address (she rented out the place and stayed elsewhere) to enrol her child in, two years later her sibling borrowed her address to enrol her child in. Ahem... 
Then MOE realize that many have just "rented" or put in a rented out unit for registration. Lucky for those who barely missed a new rule, stipulating that they must live in declared address for 2 1/2 years even after TOP. I'm not sure how many are caught not residing and their kids get transferred out. Some are lucky; my friends are lucky :)
As stated in the MOE website :
The DSA-Sec allows students to seek admissions to a secondary school on the basis of talents and achievements that may not be demonstrated at the PSLE. The DSA-Sec enables students to enter suitable academic and non-academic programmes in Secondary schools that can develop the students in these areas.

If I look on the other side of the coin, it will be difficult for the school to narrow down the successful appplicants if every kid that shows interest in the school is over subscribed. They need to draw a line on this, most asks for results. To see how much a child can cope? But this is so unpredictable - some kids 开窍 enlightenment comes in later. I will talk about this another time and link it back here.(I hope I rmbr tho, I seem to have so many drafts in my blog)
This DSA thing is suppose to recognise talents but many smarty pants have abused it. They are smart enough to enter the school by their results but their parents have to take the "space" leaving one possibly future Olympic athlete no space in the school. I know of two (and maybe more next time), parents claim that they want the assurance their kids in the school.But their kids had been stellar students since Day 1 and true enough, they scored 260++ for their PSLE. 
I have insurance plans for major illnesses and for savings, now I need to have another insurance policy for my kids? 

Another thing that I've learnt is the backdoor, pull strings helps. Some people know the coach so they get selected during the audition. Such a cruel world. It's so unfair,  well DSA is a game isn't it? My kids have no strings to pull; no mother or father to have connections here and there; they're not smart/talented at all so we will lose the game. Our opponents will be the ones shouting CHECKMATE.   

DSA into JC
I was shocked when I read the requirements from 2 JCs that they require PSLE results. What? My kid must be dumb for me to try DSA route right? And here you are asking for PSLE results?

Tuition vs no tuition
Unfortunately my kids are not that smart. Their mother is not that smart either (now you know where they get their genes from) to home coach them. I had been hands on with them, now I let the older one go and save for my soul, lil' one is more independent as compared to che-che. I don't have to stress myself much but sometimes I still need to come in to help right? I can explain Math and English to her, but sometimes I can't explain properly. Like for examples some grammar rules.. I didn't know about the rules but I know it is wrong. So I texted her tutor or write a note down for her to help me explain to her and then I learn. Can you imagine me learning the rules of when to use "me" or "I" at this age?    
Honestly, it's the same whether they have tuition or not. The tuition homework they get is the same as what I would have assigned them to do. The time they go for tuition is also the same as the time they would sit down and do my assigned work. I'm merely paying an expert to teach my kids the right thing and paying for my half dead soul. I can't imagine all the weight put on me, it's so different now. 4 years - I've aged and not as energetic as before. 
Schools would expect that many kids have tuition, so they don't explain much. For example, during che-che's time she told me this teacher don't even teach, will just go through a few questions. So she expects her students to be some genius or what? Lucky for her, the girls in that class are highly capable - innately or tuition-ed I dunno. 

Don't sing the same song
MOE always assures us that all schools are good schools. It's not true, the demographic of the students are different, the overall PSLE results in the schools are different.

Enough space for all students to go somewhere after secondary - then why are they merging JCs? So end of the day, my poor kids still gotta fight to get good results to go to a JC that is near to our house right? Whether it's JC or Poly route, there's a fight for it and it makes it harder that more people favors Poly over the nerdy JCs. 

Hard to get a job
Having a degree doesn't guarantee a person a job in Singapore, how about those without degree? Some firms prefers to hire foreign talents. But if I were to tell a long story, how to get a degree in Singapore? Study like shit; fight like shit with the cohort for space. Singapore kids either got to pray hard that they have either money or brain. For those who can't make it in Singapore, who simply breeze through exams must have parents who are loaded enough to send them overseas to study.
It's no wonder too that many who have studied abroad refuses to come back Singapore to work. What Singapore produced is a bunch of nerdy kids who study and graduate with a degree but they have no EQ. Don't have simple manners; run away from making conversations. Sigh..... this is what they've breed.    

this is purely my opinion. I'm not linked to any organisation or party

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