Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do educators serve the students or their school?

Some JC classmates had a short "reunion" at the 1st month celebration of the daughter of one of them. A friend mentioned about the recent issue of a principal told 27 girls the school wanted 100-per-cent passes, and advised them to seek transfers to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) since they were unlikely to do well in the GCE O levels.

In general, we think it is better for students to be told frankly and honestly which road might be better for them. The friend said, rather than at the end of the year a boss telling him he wasn't performing well, he would preferred to be told at the beginning that this job or career does not suit him, if the boss already confidently foresee it from his experience. Further, it would be better for a road map be shown at the various decision making junctions in a student life. This should reduce the wastage of resources for many to be trained in a profession but never practice it, and many who are practicing, but unhappily because they made the wrong choice when young.

However, for a principal do so because his school wanted 100% passes is ridiculous! Yet, this has been happening all along I think. My own experience is as early as before mid 80's where half of my class repeated a grade because, according to rumors, the school don't want high failure rates at O level while public is not informed of their passing rates at other grades. Nevertheless, most of them got into university compared to those who "luckily" and barely avoided the repeat.

When the alternative of taking only 3 A level subjects, Junior Colleges (JC) principals started to persuade students from taking 4 A level subjects. Someone I knew experienced that "coercing" when she started JC1 in 2005, but she insisted, which I did encourage her to. It must be some uneasy days or weeks for her to insist. The good news is that she achieved straights A's and distinctions, and also passed S-paper. There seems to be a struggle between being students' principal/teachers and being a school's principal/teachers.

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