AS a parent-stakeholder, of course I want the best for my children’s education, not only academically but also in all aspects of their personal development.
In fact, I believe I speak for thousands of parents, especially in urban areas, who send their children to all sorts of extracurricular activities outside the school because they want to see their children develop.
For example, kids go for music classes, swimming lessons, ballet, singing, public speaking, speech and drama, debates, tennis, golfing, archery, or even their preferred martial art that is not offered in school.
This allows them to pursue and develop their area of interest, while at the same time help to develop their character, self-confidence and leadership skills.
Not every activity offered by the schools is beneficial. The teachers and the number of children in each class can have an effect on the quality of the activities.
For example, I compare my son’s previous experience at his school’s robotics class and what he is learning now at a robotics centre outside the school: He himself says the new lessons are far more advanced than what he was able to learn in his school. For this reason, we are willing to pay for his robotics classes.
Both my children also attend a church-based uniformed group outside the school that helps them with their personal development. At the time of writing, my son is attending a leadership camp where, at a young age, the children are groomed in being independent.
When my family and I were down with dengue for a whole week, the children’s commanders visited us in the hospital. I doubt if I can say the same thing of any teachers running uniformed groups in school.
My disappointment is that their involvement in the uniformed group outside the school is not counted as part of the Education Ministry’s “1Murid, 1Sukan” (one student, one sport) policy.
In fact, even if they are already learning music, robotics, ballet, swimming, taekwondo and archery outside the school, under the 1Murid, 1Sukan policy, these activities do not contribute any points; technically, they are required to still attend one uniformed group, one sport and one club in the school.
The inflexibility shown by ministry officials irks parents like us whose children are already pursuing so many areas of interest on their own; our kids also complain that they cannot cope.
I have personally followed up for nearly a year now with Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, for example, about giving exemptions to children who are already attending uniformed groups outside the school, but till now, a simple but important issue like this has not been solved.
The inflexibility on the part of the ministry is just shocking. I wish the minister would pay more attention to real issues affecting the children’s wellbeing instead of proposing ideas that have received so much criticism from parents, teachers and other stakeholders.
To emphasise my point further, in some schools, the children participating in Scouts activities do not even wear Scouts T-shirts or uniforms. How effective is the ministry’s supervision of how some schools are running their uniformed groups?
The ministry and the schools should therefore be more flexible with the 1Murid, 1Sukan policy and allow children to accumulate their points through involvement in appropriate extracurricular activities outside the school.
Source: The Star https://bit.ly/2GiIP9d
Photo: SK Palong Timur 2 https://bit.ly/2U8J4aJ