Sinda wants parents to be more engaged

Sinda wants parents to be more engaged
(From right) Madam P. Amuthavalli with her daughters, S. Rosihenie and S. Reshaleni. Her daughters are in Project Teach at Huamin Primary which is run by Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda).

Getting parents more involved is one of the keys to the Singapore Indian Development Association's (Sinda) efforts to close the performance gap between Indian students and their peers.

"If people are watching television full blast, talking, doing other activities... the signal to the kid is, first, there is a lot of distraction, and second, he is doing homework on his own," said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah, who is president of the self-help group.

Sinda is currently assessing a series of initiatives announced in 2011, on its 20th anniversary, to see which were the things that worked and which did not, said Ms Indranee.

One of these involved the establishment of a Parents Division to equip parents with the skills to support their children's growth. More than 3,000 parents were reached through talks, workshops, conferences and camps last year.

And Sinda hopes to do more in this respect.

Statistics released by the Education Ministry last week showed that Indian students have fared better in national examinations over the last decade, especially in mathematics.

But their performance in general was still below the national average.

"It's true our performance has gone up, but so have others. If all things being equal, then the gap will just remain the same," said Ms Indranee.

Asked what would be the extra boost Indian students need to close the gap, she said: "I would put it as community impetus."

If the community can come together to encourage students to do better, she said, "you will find that the gap will close a lot faster".

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