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Archive for January 9th, 2013

Like how you were being placed into different compartments once you have reached 16.

For scoring A’s in both his Science and Mathematics in last year’s PMR, my son Nicholas was put into a Pure Science class. He is in Form Four this year.

Besides Mathematics and Additional Mathematics, he have to study science subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

“Mom, I don’t mind doing Additional Mathematics but I hate Biology. I want to drop Biology to do Commerce and Economics but was not allowed to do so,” he complained to me after the first day at school last week.

“Do you want me to see your school principal and talk to her?” I asked him, hoping to help him out of his predicament.

“It’s no use, I’ve seen her this morning. She said the school’s decision is final and we’re not allowed to appeal anymore,” he replied dully.

My son told me he is not keen to study living things like plants and animals. He is more into numbers.

But this year, due to the pressure from the Education Minister, schools are tasked to put more students into Pure Science. Even though you hate certain science subjects, you have to study them.

Each year, since the pre-independence days, right after the examination known as LCE in the early days or SRP during my school days or PMR as it is now known, 16 year olds were placed into different streams based on their results.

For those who did well in Science and Mathematics, to the Science Stream you go where you are expected to end up as doctors, engineers or pharmacists one day.

As for those who did well in languages but not Science and Mathematics, you will be put into the Arts Stream where you can later become writers, artists or fashion designers and etc.

I have nothing against this process. Indeed it had and will continue to serve its purpose of putting students on the right career track.

But I wish as parents and students, we have more say in this streaming instead of taking whatever that is being thrown into our path.

It is too rigid, clear-cut and more to the convenience of the school rather than to the students themselves.

Let me ask this question – at 16, how many of us are so dead sure of being a doctor or a writer one day?

As a student or a parent, do you share my sentiment on this age-old method?

Should the students be consulted on which streams they would like to go to or should their schools make the decisions for them?

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