The notion of a divide has been much covered in news these days.
This, owing mostly to the fact that the Singapore government had delivered a bombshell announcement on the abolishment of the streaming system.
The abolishment of streaming will allow children to develop at their own pace, allowing students to take up subjects at higher or lower levels, based on their strengths.
In addition, this will allow for secondary schools to adopt flexible ways of grouping their students, be it by levels of abilities or students’ co-curricular activities.
In essence, this may ultimately herald the end of pure Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical classes which will be replaced by a mixed class of students with different strengths and capabilities.
And yet while most of us cheer at this progressive development, there has been a sinister undertone developing with regard to this move that has been touted to improve social mixing.
“End of streaming: Worries over mixing with Normal students may drive parents to chase IP schools”
On 10 March, The Straits Time published an article titled “End of streaming: Worries over mixing with Normal students may drive parents to chase IP schools”.
The writer notes:
“As Mr Ong noted in his speech on Tuesday, a few parents had expressed concern about this arrangement, saying that they would not have sent their children to the school had they known that their children would be mixed with those of other streams.”
One interviewee, a housewife by the name of Wendy Chan, “who has a Secondary 2 daughter in an all-Express school, and sons in Primary 5 and Primary 6, said she would prefer if her children did not mix with those in the Normal stream.”
She was quoted as saying:
“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 their academic performance.”
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Mark Rozells’ Facebook Post
Her remarks proved to be so divisive if I were to be neutral, or indeed bigoted and insensitive if I were to be truthful, that Facebook user Mark Rozells took to the platform to give her a rightly-needed dressing down.
In his post, Mark expressed incredulity saying: “The snobbery and prejudice contained in just a few lines are amazing.”
He explained that he was both a teacher and parent himself who’ve “taught students from different streams – Express, Normal and Integrated Programme (IP)” and that 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 then agreed with Ms Chan that ” family does play a big part in upbringing”.
Only to turn his agreement on its head and explain that “which is why I worry for your children.”
Selfish, Small-Minded & Poisonous Statements
He went on to state:
“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.”
In Mark’s postscript, he went on to talk about prejudices and how it is in part a result of policies and administrative practices and how “becomes so intertwined with the very ethos of society that we forget/ ignore it.”
In overwhelming support of Mark’s post and in unity against Ms Chan’s sentiments, netizens took to the comment section to share how they felt.
Been there, done that
Some gave themselves as shining examples of success in spite of Ms Chan’s pigeon-holing
You’re the bomb
Some took the opportunity to thank Mark and his contributions.
Take that lah you *************
Some used the opportunity for a cathartic release.
Now Ms Chan, this is public education for you.
A friend shared the photo below, from today's The Straits Times, "End of Streaming: How will changes affect IP schools",…
*All images from Mark Rozells Facebook unless otherwise stated.
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