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GEP screening test? Go or no Go

Poll ended at Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:26 pm

Must Go
7
35%
Can Try
11
55%
Don't Go
2
10%
 
Total votes : 20

Postby tamarind » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:45 am

ChiefKiasu wrote:
Emelyn wrote:...Because of all the private training schools, the truly gifted children are being robbed of the opportunity by those "trained" children...


Emelyn, that's an interesting way of looking at it. It reminds me of the long argument I had years ago with a friend of mine who was also a scholar, over how the government should have a specific quota for scholarships for students from low-income families. He was against the idea, because he felt that a true meritocracy should judge purely on ability, and not diminished by the fact that the ability has been attained through exposure to the better education and experiences that the wealthy can "buy".

I can't fault his logic on pragmatic terms.



Actually I think that high income families can afford to send their children overseas, even without government scholarship. These students are also more likely to break the bond, if they are bored with the government job they are assigned to after they graduated. There have been cases where students break the bond, and their parents do not hesitate to pay back the government. Some students do not even return to Singapore.

So why not give more chances to students from low income families ? These students are less likely to break the bond, and more likely to serve the country. We will have an even larger pool of highly educated talent.

tamarind
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Postby Emelyn » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:17 am

EQmum wrote:I believe the MOE are aware of this problem. So why worry...... be it in the GEP or not. End of the day still sit for PSLE same as all the other children. :)


I think why a lot of parents want to squeeze their kids into GEP is because it opens many opportunities. For eg, for non-GEP student, perhaps you need 275 to get into RI. But if GEP student, you just need 250.

My cousin's son scored 240 in 2006's PSLE...but he is in ACS(I) now. All because he was from GEP.

So, for non-GEP student, you really need to work extra hard to get into good schools lor.

Ok... I'm going to send my son to GEP training school !!! He's taking the test in 2010. For the good of his future and the many opportunities that will be opened to him.... let's do it !!

:lol:

Ok... I'm just being sarcastic to the entire system. LOL.

Emelyn
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Postby Windflower » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:51 am

tamarind wrote:
ChiefKiasu wrote:
Emelyn wrote:...Because of all the private training schools, the truly gifted children are being robbed of the opportunity by those "trained" children...


Emelyn, that's an interesting way of looking at it. It reminds me of the long argument I had years ago with a friend of mine who was also a scholar, over how the government should have a specific quota for scholarships for students from low-income families. He was against the idea, because he felt that a true meritocracy should judge purely on ability, and not diminished by the fact that the ability has been attained through exposure to the better education and experiences that the wealthy can "buy".

I can't fault his logic on pragmatic terms.



Actually I think that high income families can afford to send their children overseas, even without government scholarship. These students are also more likely to break the bond, if they are bored with the government job they are assigned to after they graduated. There have been cases where students break the bond, and their parents do not hesitate to pay back the government. Some students do not even return to Singapore.

So why not give more chances to students from low income families ? These students are less likely to break the bond, and more likely to serve the country. We will have an even larger pool of highly educated talent.


Hi, tamarind. This thinking also happened to come across my mind last night. I really appreciate and am also very grateful to the government for providing my boy an opportunity to be in a programme that could cater to his learning needs. Single income families with two children like us have to struggle very hard to meet our ends every month, it's impossible to find extra money to groom or nurture him. For example, whenever we bring him to any big book fairs, he is very fascinated with those encyclopedia sets and you know they cost at least a few thousand dollars. He would sit there and read non-stop with the sales staff at the side pestering us to buy a set for him since he is so interested. I know he longs to have them but he is also aware that his daddy and mummy could not afford it. I feel very guilty towards him, my husband and myself always tell each other that our son should be born in a better-off family with highly educated parents.

This programme is also going to help him in another area in the sense that he would be given opportunities to develop higher level thinking skills and acquire research skills for independent study. As he has a strong inquiring mind since young, he always pops out questions out of nowhere and eagerly awaits for your answer. He also raises a lot of questions in class which results in becoming disruptive to the teacher and classmates.

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Postby tamarind » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:37 pm

Windflower wrote:Hi, tamarind. This thinking also happened to come across my mind last night. I really appreciate and am also very grateful to the government for providing my boy an opportunity to be in a programme that could cater to his learning needs. Single income families with two children like us have to struggle very hard to meet our ends every month, it's impossible to find extra money to groom or nurture him. For example, whenever we bring him to any big book fairs, he is very fascinated with those encyclopedia sets and you know they cost at least a few thousand dollars. He would sit there and read non-stop with the sales staff at the side pestering us to buy a set for him since he is so interested. I know he longs to have them but he is also aware that his daddy and mummy could not afford it. I feel very guilty towards him, my husband and myself always tell each other that our son should be born in a better-off family with highly educated parents.

This programme is also going to help him in another area in the sense that he would be given opportunities to develop higher level thinking skills and acquire research skills for independent study. As he has a strong inquiring mind since young, he always pops out questions out of nowhere and eagerly awaits for your answer. He also raises a lot of questions in class which results in becoming disruptive to the teacher and classmates.



Windflower,
There is no need to feel guilty ! My hubby's father can afford to buy him the complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, and also any books he wanted. My parents cannot even afford to buy new textbooks for me, I had second hand textbooks. But they allow me to take bus alone to the national library since I was 11 years old. My hubby did not do half as good as me at A levels :lol:

There are a lot of free resources, like the library, and now we have the internet, where you can learn anything, and it is free. Who needs the encyclopedia, when there is http://www.wikipedia.org/ ? www.google.com is the fantastic seach engine that will find you anything that you want.

Also check this out :

http://www.mathtv.com/

It is a website that includes many videos of tutors teaching maths. Your boy can learn all the way up to sec 4 maths :) And it is free :)

This may be a bit too advanced for your boy now. Checkout the MIT open courseware :

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm

Complete sets of lecture notes are available free :)

tamarind
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Postby Windflower » Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:02 pm

tamarind wrote:Windflower, There is no need to feel guilty ! My hubby's father can afford to buy him the complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, and also any books he wanted. My parents cannot even afford to buy new textbooks for me, I had second hand textbooks. But they allow me to take bus alone to the national library since I was 11 years old. My hubby did not do half as good as me at A levels :lol:

There are a lot of free resources, like the library, and now we have the internet, where you can learn anything, and it is free. Who needs the encyclopedia, when there is http://www.wikipedia.org/ ? www.google.com is the fantastic seach engine that will find you anything that you want.

Also check this out :

http://www.mathtv.com/

It is a website that includes many videos of tutors teaching maths. Your boy can learn all the way up to sec 4 maths :) And it is free :)

This may be a bit too advanced for your boy now. Checkout the MIT open courseware :

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm

Complete sets of lecture notes are available free :)


Thank you very much for the websites and info, tamarind. My boy would be thrilled when he comes back later to find out so many websites waiting for him to explore and learn. :D

Windflower
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Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:07 pm

tamarind wrote:...Actually I think that high income families can afford to send their children overseas, even without government scholarship. These students are also more likely to break the bond...


That is precisely the point. It is not the money offered by the "scholarship" that the well-off families need - it is the prestige that comes with the "scholar" label that everybody, rich or poor, wants. However, as you pointed out, the richer families can afford to pay off the bond at the end of the scholarship - and still retain the scholar title. To be fair, meritocracy cannot discriminate based on wealth. But in the process, this person could be depriving a less wealthy student a chance for an overseas education. One can argue that the less wealthy student didn't do as well in the examinations, and so is less deserving. But one can also argue that the less well-off student have less opportunity to prepare better for the exams.

I fear that the GEP, though well-intended, could be degenerating into the same situation. GEP is now used as a yardstick for academic success, just like the term scholar. This drives some parents to try to prepare their children for GEP, going against the very purpose of the programme. This hurts both bright children who get into the programme but cannot keep up, and truly gifted children who are late bloomers and did not make it into the programme due to less exposure to the topics required for the tests.

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Postby tamarind » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:09 am

ChiefKiasu wrote:That is precisely the point. It is not the money offered by the "scholarship" that the well-off families need - it is the prestige that comes with the "scholar" label that everybody, rich or poor, wants. However, as you pointed out, the richer families can afford to pay off the bond at the end of the scholarship - and still retain the scholar title. To be fair, meritocracy cannot discriminate based on wealth. But in the process, this person could be depriving a less wealthy student a chance for an overseas education. One can argue that the less wealthy student didn't do as well in the examinations, and so is less deserving. But one can also argue that the less well-off student have less opportunity to prepare better for the exams.

I fear that the GEP, though well-intended, could be degenerating into the same situation. GEP is now used as a yardstick for academic success, just like the term scholar. This drives some parents to try to prepare their children for GEP, going against the very purpose of the programme. This hurts both bright children who get into the programme but cannot keep up, and truly gifted children who are late bloomers and did not make it into the programme due to less exposure to the topics required for the tests.



I feel that the more people who are educated by the prestigious overseas universities, the better. The government should be considering whether the scholars are more likely to serve the country, and more likely to work in Singapore until the day they retire. IMHO the government should not be concerned about distributing prestige to everybody. "Equal distribution of prestige" is not going to help this country in any way.

I remember reading in the newspapers last year when the GCE A level results were out. In RJC, a large number of students get As for all subjects. So I am sure that there are more than enough students with perfect scores, from rich/middle/poor families, which the government can choose to give scholarships to.

The problem with the GEP, is that the selection process is such that it allows parents to prepare their kids, by cramming them with advanced knowledge. That gives high income families an advantage, because they can afford to send their kids to the best GEP preparatory schools. The selection process should be changed to better identity the child with the highest learning ability, and more importantly, one who truly loves to learn.

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Postby Guest » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:02 am

tamarind wrote:The problem with the GEP, is that the selection process is such that it allows parents to prepare their kids, by cramming them with advanced knowledge. That gives high income families an advantage, because they can afford to send their kids to the best GEP preparatory schools. The selection process should be changed to better identity the child with the highest learning ability, and more importantly, one who truly loves to learn.


Tamarind, regarding the scholarship issue, I too have a view that there should be a separate scholarship offerred to those who need it financially and one offer to those who needs it for branding purposes. Alternatively, based on same scholarship system but the quantum of support can vary, just like the Spring grant application for companies. If the household income is higher, the value supported can be lower and if hsehold income lower, they can get more support, in that way, it is up to the wealthy to decide if they still want this prestige. And also with such a scheme, more needy kids can be funded since less fund needed for the wealthy ones who just want the honour of a scholar.

As for the GEP preparatory class, if it is true that those who cannot make it are identified and returned to mainstream, then let people prepare.

My take is if prepared kids can remain good in the GEP program, I have no issue because it shows that at least they have the gift of perseverence to maintain themselves in the course. And if they cannot, they will have to face the possibility of returning to mainstream.

As for those truly gifted but do not get thru the test, it is unfortunate that there is no alternative for them to re-enter GEP program again.
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Postby lizawa » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:19 am

ks2me wrote:As for those truly gifted but do not get thru the test, it is unfortunate that there is no alternative for them to re-enter GEP program again.


They cannot choose to re-enter the Primary GEP but there is always another chance at the secondary level, at least for the 2 IP schools I know. For RI and HCI, at Sec 1, they actually group the students who were from GEP Primary and mainstream into different classes. But if you have performed exceptionally well during the DSA entrance exam, they will place you with the GEP students in Sec 1. But eventually, by end Sec 2, the students of both streams will be "on par".

The GEP program is supposed to be robust, intellectually challenging and requires lots of independent study. So for late bloomers who are not picked up at P3 level, this will be another opportunity for them. And I have heard stories that not all GEP Primary students do well at secondary level.

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Postby tamarind » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:30 am

ks2me wrote:Tamarind, regarding the scholarship issue, I too have a view that there should be a separate scholarship offerred to those who need it financially and one offer to those who needs it for branding purposes. Alternatively, based on same scholarship system but the quantum of support can vary, just like the Spring grant application for companies. If the household income is higher, the value supported can be lower and if hsehold income lower, they can get more support, in that way, it is up to the wealthy to decide if they still want this prestige. And also with such a scheme, more needy kids can be funded since less fund needed for the wealthy ones who just want the honour of a scholar.



I totally agree with your proposal :D

I think they should just come out with the something to honour the top students, it does not have to be scholarships. It could be just to have their names engraved in a prominent place in the Istana :lol: Or ask the president to shake hands and take photos will do :lol: That should be good enough to bring honor to the family.

I feel that if we have 2 students who have the perfect scores, the scholarship should go to the one whose family has a lower income. I heard a rumor, don't know whether it is true or not, that if a student has special skills like knowing how to play the piano, then he has a higher chance of getting scholarships ? This again, is elitist, because lower income families may not be able to send their kids for music lessons.

tamarind
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