28 December 2008

For The School Or For The Students?

I shared the same frustrations with Mdm Wang about being enrolled into one of the "top" secondary schools. I was in the top 10 percentile in my primary school and managed to be enrolled into one of the "elite" secondary schools. Well, I maintained in the 10 percentile, only this time , it's the bottom 10 percentile. It was easy to be discouraged and disappointed. It did not help also that you have classmates who come from wealthy families where their parents can provide whatever extra resources to help them cope, including good and sound advice on how to manage their studies, choosing the right ECAs, what to aim for higher learning etc.

However, one difference between my school and Mdm Wang's was that my principal did not request that students drop weaker subjects "so as not to pull down the school standard". When some students really did badly in their exams and failed to make the bare minimum to promote to the next level, they were asked to be transferred - not because the school was afraid that the standards would drop. It was for the interest of the student - to place him in a more compatible environment. To help him re-build his confidence.

Indeed, one of my classmates was transferred in that way and when I met him a couple of years later, he told me that his confidence had improved and managed to stay focus on his studies. He would have given up on his studies had he remained in that top school.

Well, my school achieved the intended objective of helping this ex-classmate of mine. However, was the school worried about students pulling down standard? I am one of those who contributed to the school standard drop yet I graduated. The best part is, my form teacher continued to be encouraging on the day he handed my nothing-to-be-proud-of certificate and told me to continue to give my best. I'm sure I disappointed him.

Anyway, that was almost 20 years ago... I wonder if it has changed to be like Mdm Wang's.

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