Avoid education system's 'label trap'

Avoid education system's 'label trap'

I refer to the current debate on the Gifted Education Programme. With three children recently emerging from our education system, I have learnt not to take the system's labels and workings too seriously.

At various points, my children have beaten the labels put on them by an imperfect sorting system and outperformed their peers who had been ranked "better" or "best".

The most recent example was my daughter trumping her peers hothoused in the Scholars' Class at the A levels.

Education systems are designed to process a large quantity of students in the most efficient manner possible. They are not meant to cater to the individual child.

However, they do serve as a guide on essential skills that our children need for the future and as a general gauge of ability.

Regardless of what the system says about our children - gifted, average or slow - parents are the only ones who can customise the learning to help our children grow to discover their strengths and purpose.

What we need is wisdom not to fall into the trap of being obsessed with exam scores, special programmes and the brand of the schools.

The most important lessons take place outside the classroom and enrichment centres.

I understand the indignation that parents feel about uneven resources in schools.

It was difficult finding our way outside the system, but my children have emerged more independent and tenacious as a result.

The real rewards are a strong parent-child relationship and young people who know their true worth is not their Primary School Leaving Examination or any other exam scores, even sterling ones.

Giselle Goh (Ms)

This article was first published on November 4, 2014.
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