Newspaper Article: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

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Is it ok for tuition centres to have entry test?

Yes
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No
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Total votes : 41

Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby KSP » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:24 am

http://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/ar ... id=5716913

SINGAPORE: As the tuition landscape here evolves — with a burgeoning market for helping children who are strong academically to become even better — the practice of some enrichment centres of holding entry tests for children as young as six has raised hackles among some parents.

But centres which hold such tests defend it as a way to screen prospective students and understand their abilities better.

Even so, observers TODAY spoke to said that these tests could add more pressure on parents and affect a child’s confidence at an early stage.

Finance manager V. Ang’s six—year—old son recently failed an entry test at a popular enrichment centre and is preparing to take another test at a different centre.

The 33—year—old said: "The screening is quite ridiculous ... when I sent my son to enrol, they even required information such as which primary school he will be going to. It is quite stressful, as it is not only difficult to get in but expensive too."

Another parent, Ms Serene Tan, said her son, who is in Kindergarten 2, was unable to get a place at the Learning Point after he could not pass the entry test in November.

The investment consultant, who is her mid—30s, questioned the motivation of enrichment centres that are solely focused on helping students who are already strong academically to do better.

She added: "I find it very odd that they have such comprehensive entry tests even for children at that age. The centre said that my son didn’t do well in his spelling and grammar, but he is only in K2."

Enrichment centres here conduct entry tests for children in kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools.

The duration of these tests are usually between 30 minutes and one—and—a—half hours. An English test for a K2 pupil, for instance, can include grammar, composition, spelling and reading segments.

When contacted, several enrichment centres, which hold entry tests, reiterated the need for the entry tests and pointed to the results they have achieved in helping children who have the aptitude for accelerated learning.

The Learning Lab, for instance, said that each year, 70 per cent of its students see their grades improve by 10 percentage points. It added that 297 of its students scored 260 and above in last year’s Primary School Leaving Examination.

Enrolment requirements vary across the enrichment centres: The Learning Point, for example, will not accept students who fail its entry test, although it allows them to take a re—test six months later. For Just Education, it conducts these tests for students whose results in school are below its criteria.

The Learning Lab said its entry tests are used to assess the ability of the students, so that they can be grouped together with others of similar calibre.

Apart from entry tests, the centre also conducts pre—enrolment interviews "to appraise the student’s drive and desire to improve, and fit with our school’s learning ethos".

Its spokesperson Ling Cheah told TODAY: "We want to ensure that when we admit a student, we can indeed add value, we can indeed help him improve on his personal best."

Creative Horizons, which offers English as well as creative writing courses, pointed out that its students should have a minimum standard of English before attempting creative writing, for instance.

The centre’s director Faeza Sirajudin stressed that "no child is at the place where they don’t need any more help". Nevertheless, she said parents should not "hothouse" their children to try to push them beyond what they can achieve.

She said that it was unhealthy for parents to send their children to enrichment centres at an increasingly young age, when they should be given time to play.

Mountbatten Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, dismissed the practice of having entry tests as ’"marketing gimmicks".

Said Mr Lim: "Some centres obviously just want bragging rights. If top students come in, they obviously would be good to begin with. Such practices drive up the pressure unnecessarily."

Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Intan Mokhtar, who also lectures at the National Institute of Education (NIE), added that these enrichment centres play on parents’ fears that their children would lose out if they are not stretched from a young age.

She said: "I guess with the current state where there’s a lot of competition to enter university, parents take extra precaution — if the child is good, he can be even better."

Noting the psychological impact on children who fail the entry tests, she added: "It would instil in the child a sense of belief that everything boils down to (getting) the ’A’s, when learning really isn’t just about that." —

TODAY

KSP
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Re: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby Nebbermind » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:52 am

firstly, these enrichment centres are businesses...so what do u expect? :roll:

secondly, if they consider themselves enrichment centres (vs tuition centres), then I guess it's not wrong to expect certain level of competency in the students. Ya?

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Re: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby tankee » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:19 pm

Nebbermind wrote:firstly, these enrichment centres are businesses...so what do u expect? :roll:

secondly, if they consider themselves enrichment centres (vs tuition centres), then I guess it's not wrong to expect certain level of competency in the students. Ya?


:goodpost:

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Re: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby Manfrotto » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:28 pm

:boogie: It is an open-market:) We have the freedom of choice just as these centres have their's too in the selection of "marketable" pupil for their business. Their business survival hinges on the dreams of those parents wanting the "best" for their precious. So its ultimately a supply and demand thingy:) Who to blame? :?

Manfrotto
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Re: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby Mdm Koh » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:25 pm

The centres should be more transparent and they should reveal the average scores from the entrance tests, so that parents will be able to see the value added.

Mdm Koh
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Re: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby Busymom » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:28 pm

Did anyone watch the documentary "Being a Child"on CNA recently? I caught one episode late at night recently and it was on what Japanese preschool children go through to get into top elementary schools in Tokyo (there were other episodes on China, Hong Kong and India as well, but was too late, couldn't keep my eyes open).

I was left completely bewildered after watching it and really felt sorry for the kids, and parents - from attending enrichment classes that cost more than $1000 a month (not sure how long is the duration of the class, but have the impression that it isn't a daily class), or doing worksheets for up to 4 hours daily (so that the amount of worksheets done is as high as the height of the child), to going for mock exams and interviews prior to entrance exams of the elementary schools and going shopping for appropriate dressing for both mother and child for the interviews... Many also had to be good in their sports like Karate for boys and gym for girls. One boy had Karate on one day, swimming the next, gym another day, then Kumon on yet another day... What really struck me as crazy was that at one of the enrichment classes that charge more than $1000 a month, good performance would be rewarded with a seat in the first row in class... Also noticed a few of the children yawning while being filmed - a case of lack of sleep??

After watching this, I think we are still quite fortunate in Singapore...

Busymom
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Newspaper Article: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby TuitionPhysics.com » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:04 am

Recent newspaper report:
http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC120103-0000020/Sorry,-your-child-is-not-bright-enough

Do you guys think it is ok for tuition / enrichment centres to have entry tests for potential students?

Best regards and Happy New Year! :boogie:

TuitionPhysics.com
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Re: Newspaper Article: Sorry, your child is not bright enoug

Postby tankee » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:37 am

Mod's Note

threads merged

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Re: Newspaper Article: Sorry, your child is not bright enoug

Postby Guest » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:53 am

Enrichment centre : Yes

Tuition centre: No

However for tuition centre, a diagnostic test is fine to ascertain the area of weakness of a child in order to value-add in those areas.

As for "your child is not bright enough" messaging, I believe this is very much the attitude of the customer service. If they are trained to explain properly the demands of the course and its suitability to the child as opposed to "your child is not bright enough", I believe parents can understand. For courses attended even by adults, there is always a pre-requisite required and if that is not met, the trainee will suffer in the course so I believe parents can understand that especially if they attend courses themselves. Enrichment are really good-to-have courses and not a necessity. However, tuition is a necessity to help a child cope with the studies.

Also, because of this rigorous selection process by the enrichment centres, I have come across parents who used such centres to ascertain if their children are good enough. It fulfills the vanity of some parents. When the children do not perform so well in school but yet they clear such selection tests in enrichment centres, it boosts the ego of the parents by one notch. So what I understand is such enrichment centres in a way help to boost parents' dream. I have heard parents pleased to be selected into certain programmes of the enrichment centres where few could tread on and with such joy, they are happy if the child is not selected for GEP, Math Olympiad etc by the school or MOE eventually.
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Re: Sorry, your child is not bright enough

Postby Guest » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:05 am

Busymom wrote:Did anyone watch the documentary "Being a Child"on CNA recently? I caught one episode late at night recently and it was on what Japanese preschool children go through to get into top elementary schools in Tokyo (there were other episodes on China, Hong Kong and India as well, but was too late, couldn't keep my eyes open).

I was left completely bewildered after watching it and really felt sorry for the kids, and parents - from attending enrichment classes that cost more than $1000 a month (not sure how long is the duration of the class, but have the impression that it isn't a daily class), or doing worksheets for up to 4 hours daily (so that the amount of worksheets done is as high as the height of the child), to going for mock exams and interviews prior to entrance exams of the elementary schools and going shopping for appropriate dressing for both mother and child for the interviews... Many also had to be good in their sports like Karate for boys and gym for girls. One boy had Karate on one day, swimming the next, gym another day, then Kumon on yet another day... What really struck me as crazy was that at one of the enrichment classes that charge more than $1000 a month, good performance would be rewarded with a seat in the first row in class... Also noticed a few of the children yawning while being filmed - a case of lack of sleep??

After watching this, I think we are still quite fortunate in Singapore...


I agree that we are definitely not alone in this paper chase world and definitely not the top in going into the extremes at this point of time. What the documentary show is definitely what is happening in Asia. Taiwan, China, Korea and Hong Kong is definitely highly competitive in paper chasing.

For Singapore for the future, I am not sure if we would "progress" to this extreme as unhealthy competitive landscape can certainly cause any drastic measures to occur.
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