Tuesday, April 17, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 3:44 pm

We are not? Think again. It is not uncommon for parents to want to send their kids to the "best" school there is. Every year, there is a mad scramble amongst parents to register their kids to the best primary or secondary school as long as transportation arrangements permit. Some schools will always get the "preferred" school tag whilst some will always be the "last resort" school, never mind even if the latter is just a walk down the road from the house.

Why is this so? Why should parents queue up early in the morning to register their kids to these schools which are perceived or perhaps proven by academic achievements to be the better school? Do they think that by their kids studying in these schools their success is guaranteed? Or perhaps, there is a better chance of them succeeding? What is the measure of success anyway? Getting more As than the other student? Or earning a higher salary than the other guy down the street? Or making a better difference in the lives of another? If success is measured in the first two examples, perhaps...just perhaps the kid might get a head start in a "better" school. If it is the last example, I believe it does not depend on the standing of the school involved.

Just a question to ponder...will a student who study in a "better" school feel more superior to his counterpart who is studying in a "less wanted" school? Afterall, he would have graduated from a prestigious school. Again, it is not uncommon for the student to feel that his or her school is the "better" school because their academic achievement far surpasses what the other school could achieve. An elitist attitude being formed? Perhaps. It may not be apparent but the attitude may be subtly ingrained.

Which brings me to the latest proposal to rank Smart Schools with stars from one to five to indicate resource usage, human capital, applications and technology infrastructure. So, one Smart School might have 3 stars whilst another might have 5 stars. Does it make the former less Smart than the latter? As it is, the word Smart School already shows the wrong kind of values which we are trying to associate our students with. Does one student who study in a Smart School automatically or is perceived to be smarter than one who does not study in a Smart School? Adding star ranking system (though it appears not to be pegged to academic achievements) will further fuel the kiasuism attitude which is slowly but surely taking place in our society. Given a choice, can you honestly say to yourself that you will enrol your child in a 3-star Smart School if a place in a 5-star Smart School is available (say an additional 10 km away)? And if your child were to ask you why you decide to choose the latter, would you say "It's better and will give you an edge over the students in the former school"? If that is not kiasuism, I don't know what is.



At 2:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous

better & prestigious schools have better teachers so of course that plays a part, this has nothing to do with kiasu-ism. u gonna gamble on yr kids' future by sending them to a 3rd rate or 'notorious' school just to prove yr not kiasu? i dont think so