Fri, Feb 06, 2009
The New Paper
Could school have been more flexible?

By Genevieve Jiang

A LITTLE girl did not go to kindergarten for three weeks this year, until a community worker stepped in.

The reason - her mother thought that because she couldn't afford her daughter's fees and deposit, she had to give up her place.

Related link:
» No money, so girl, 6, misses 3 weeks of school

But the kindergarten said they had already tried their best to help her.

Apart from offering her a four-month grace period to pay her arrears, they also offered her a job at the kindergarten.

They said she was given a form to fill up to apply for a $200 start-up grant, but she never handed it in.

The mother said her English was poor and she had trouble filling up the form.

Also, she had three other children and a sick mother to care for, it was almost impossible for her to work.

Should more help have been given to the mother to waive the child's school fees?

If she was not able to fill up the form, should the kindergarten's staff have helped or been more flexible in allowing her a place despite a small technicality?

Granted, pre-school education is not compulsory in Singapore. But it provides the foundation for a child's education.

If Mr Ravi had not intervened, would the kindergarten have conveniently allowed the child to give up her place?

Although parents, too, need to take responsibility for their children's education, some families in the lower strata may need more help.

No child should be denied a place in school, especially not over the filling up of a form.

This article was first published in The New Paper on February 04, 2009.

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