Saturday, May 27, 2006

Social Mobility (or Lack Thereof)

Hou, The Students' Notebook

'Doesn't matter who your parents are, doesn't matter where you live. We'll give you the best chance to do well in education,' - Tharman (GE2006)

O RLY? (Oh, Really?)

A brief look at the Straits Times' Saturday (27 May) report would give some clue on what the situation in reality is :

  • Gina (p. S3), 15, is under the Normal (Technical) stream, and felt that she was no good in her studies.
  • Rick (p. S3), 17, studying in ITE, has to juggle with his job and studies
  • Devi (p. S5), 12, is under the EM3 stream, and has flunked her all subjects.
  • Alina (p. S5), is also under the EM3 stream, and is struggling to pass PSLE.

    all living in poverty, and their parents/guardians worrying that if they have to go hungry for the night.

    And more statistics from the same set of reports :

  • Data from MOE has indicated that 72% of Normal stream secondary school students live in four room or smaller flats. (p. S3)
  • Mrs Elyan Wong of Feiyue Family Service Centre, indicates that children who did not (or cannot afford) go to kindergarden are generally disadvantaged at Primary 1. (p. S2)
  • Ms Hong of Headerson Student Centre notes that families with problems, in turn causes childen "to have problems in schools, unable to cope with the lessons, have very poor memory and short concentration spans," and that by the time they catch up they would have already found themselves in EM3. (p. S3)

    And are the Education policies in the recent past go towards helping these poor people to receive a good quality education? Let's have a review through them :

  • The formation of Independant Schools were the result of a study tour to 25 elite, private schools in the US and the UK, led by Tony Tan in 1986, that would "cater to the academically meritorious". School fees for these schools, for instance ACS(I), then shot up from the initial $25 to $200 within a year. (Rahim, p. 140-142, Ths Singapore Dilemna, 1998; Tan, p 97-98, The Marketisation of Education in Singapore (Shaping Singapore's Future), 2005)
  • As early as 1990, PAP MP John Chen has warned that "the good schools are getting better, while the poor schools seem to be getting poorer". (Rahim, p. 136)
  • Unversity fees for public universities have increased over the years, in particular just recently.

    Social mobility in education? What social mobility?

    And for those are really cynical, may wish to consider the timing of the ST report.

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    hm. good examples to support your view(: it is said that they WOULD give a chance, and perhaps they are thinking of ways at the moment. However, i think it would be easily ignored.

    3:35 AM  

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