09 February 2011
FAILING TO JOIN A TOP O’LEVEL SCHOOL IS NOT THE END
ENROLMENT: All parents dream of sending their children to the best schools, but there are other alternatives.
It is the ambition of every parent and student to attend the best schools and universities available. This is usually a guarantee of future success in this competitive world.
The problem is that with all the pressure to achieve good marks, superior - star schools are forgetting about the importance of holistic education and concentrating only on their students achieving high marks.
This competition begins when the students have to take their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). Educationists are concerned about this growing trend amongst parents competing for slots in star schools. This trend has also been cited as the cause of the competition among schools to work entirely towards passing national examinations. It is true that star schools instill discipline, hard work and perseverance in their students, but is the competition threatening the intellectual health of the students.
Good O’level education provides a foundation for both A’level and university education. When a child excels at O’levels, they are assured of being able to join a good A’level school and their future chances of joining university and receiving government sponsorship are high. It is the accepted way of progressing through the education system, but what about all those who do not make it? Does it mean the end of one’s child’s educational future?
Parents must remember that even students in so-called 'rural' schools can still pass and make it to university. It is simply a matter of discipline and determination. Even children in star schools can fail.
Many parents want their children to join top performing schools and pass with flying colours, but is that a good, wholesome education?
There are many secondary schools in rural areas with adequate facilities to provide a good education to enable children to perform well academically and in all other aspects of life. Good buildings and equipment are important, but the most basic requirement in the school is the teacher. If the teacher is incompetent, then you cannot achieve good results. It is not the school that passes the examinations, but the ability and willingness of the child to learn coupled with the efforts of the teachers. This can be achieved in any secondary school with basic standards.
People should not be frustrated because they cannot get a vacancy for their children in a top school. They must do research and identify other options and other good schools that will meet the educational needs of their children. They must accept that star schools are not the only way for their children to make a future for themselves.
What needs to be done to reduce the fuss about top schools?
It is obvious that all our schools need to be improved and transformed into learning centers of excellence. To enable schools to meet the required standards, they need to be rehabilitated and equipped with sports facilities as well as libraries and laboratories, good dormitories and good staff houses. Especially important is the building and improving of schools in remote areas.
Most importantly, we must not forget that the students are the most important thing. Their educational health and preparedness for the future, is more important than the marks they get now.
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