The Ministry of Education (MOE)’s abolishing of the secondary school streaming system has raised debate across Singapore. Despite the move drawing praise from many as a step towards eradicating elitism and inequality in education, it has also attracted the ire of some.
One mother was quoted in a Straits Times article as saying that she would prefer if her children did not mix with those in the Normal stream.
Housewife Wendy Chan explained: “It’s because of their upbringing – their mindset and values may not be in tandem with what I agree with. It’s not so much about academic performance.”
Facebook Mark Rozells highlighted her comments and called her out for her snobbery.
Dear Ms Chan, I am also a parent, as well as a teacher. I’ve taught students from different streams – Express, Normal and Integrated Programme (IP).
An extract from Mark Rozells’ Facebook post.
Every student, regardless of stream, has their strengths and challenges, both personal and from their families. I’ve seen hardworking, resilient students in Normal stream and lazy, entitled students in IP and Express streams.
He rightfully pointed out that you should not stereotype children like this- Normal stream students are not all lazy and unintelligent, as such attitudes exist in students across all streams.
I hope one day you will realise just how selfish, small-minded and poisonous your statements are, and I hope your children will be better than you, in spite of you.
If Ms Chan’s perspective is really the prevailing mindset amongst parents out there, then no number of CNA tear-jerker documentaries is going to matter. A reform of the entire way students are posted to secondary school is urgently needed.
Unless of course we want to continue to be a country divided by class.
Rozells’ post has since garnered more than 2,000 shares on Facebook, with many netizens joining in to slam Ms Chan.
“I agree with Ms Chan. I wouldn’t want any students to mix with snobbish, shallow and narrow-minded people like her,” quipped a netizen in the comments.
Others also pointed out that this was a symptom of the entrenched elitism of Singaporeans. People from Normal streams can excel just as well as Express students- some Singaporeans should do well to remember that a child’s PSLE grades is not a full representation of his or her abilities and intelligence.