This blog is managed by Song Hock Chye, author of Improve Your Thinking Skills in Maths (P1-P3 series), which is published and distributed by EPH.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Minister’s comment is really no comment

The Sec 5 “ITE route” saga continues.

Principal's ITE advice 'had to be delivered'


“THE tone of a principal's message to Secondary 5 students may not have gone down well, but it was one that had to be delivered, for the students' sake, a minister said yesterday.

This message was that Sec 5 students who stay on to do the O levels instead of applying to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will find it a tough road ahead.

Minister of State for Education Lui Tuck Yew said students and parents need to know that 40 per cent of Sec 5 students will not do well enough at the O levels to qualify for polytechnic…..

…..Rear-Admiral (NS) Lui said the Ministry of Education preferred not to prescribe to principals what they can or cannot say, or what their tone should be, since they knew their students better.”

The crux of the parents’ complaint is not whether ITE route is the better route or not. The crux of the issue is the manner and timing of those words by the principal.

Was it necessary to flash the individual girls’ results with an overhead projector? What happened to confidentiality and privacy?

Furthermore, if the principal truly had the interest of the girls at heart, why were they not told last year – before the deadline for application of higher courses at ITE?

The minister’s words appear to be nothing more than damage control. He appears to hope to be perceived he is involved in the matter, yet washes his hands, when he made no comments on the above two issues, which are the parent’s main complaints.

Instead, he chooses to say, “(It is) important to separate tone from substance of message” – a non-issue with the parents.

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