Little Luke "Skywalker"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

UPSR... Exams... Dollars and Cents...

I guess most of you concern parents out there (especially those with a 12-years old) are already aware that the UPSR results that was released yesterday. I know, I know, Little Skywalker is still too young for me to be worrying about all these. However, my 12-years old little brother just got his results yesterday. He got 1A (I think is for English), a couple of Cs and Bs for the rest of the subjects. He'd even got a grade 1 for behavior (which is surprising to me). He studied in a chinese primary school located along Jalan Ipoh.

As I arrived at my parents' to pick up Little Skywalker after work, I completely forgot about the news on the UPSR being released yesterday. I went ahead to have my dinner with J, and was later joined by my grandmother and granduncle who was there for a few days. Just a little background, the relationship between my grandma and my little brother D is not that close. D dislike her very much as she kept complaining about his rebellious behavior. My grandma dislike cared about D a lot and kept nagging him when she is around.

So, my grandma started saying that D only managed to get one A in his UPSR results and said that it must be his lack of effort to study hard blah blah blah. I love my grandma very much, even more than my parents, as almost my entire childhood is spent with them. However, I got hit in the head by something and gave a shocking reply to her. I asked her what is wrong with having a single A in UPSR exams? I also said that D is just a 12-years old kid. Why are we giving so much pressure to a kid? I even told her that I honestly did not study at all except the day before my exams.

I went on to explain how bad is the situation at primary school nowadays, which is totally different from my good old days. I used to fetch my brother to school every morning before my dad decided to put him on a school bus last year. On the way, I could see most of the school children with their sleepy heads in the school buses, and my brother is snoring away at the back-seat of my car. I kept wondering, why is that so?

From my point of view, primary schools are meant to be fun and joyful days for kids. They are suppose to learn some basic values, some basic reading, writing and calculations in school. The rest of the time should be spent on more outdoor activities, games etc. Children should feel happy to go to school and happy to come back and tell their parents about it. Instead, I see kids slaving to finish their tonnes of homework. I see them carrying (some wheeling) their 100kg school bags to school with a sleepy and grumpy face. Why?

I even went ahead to condemn all the publishers which are trying to sell their products to school children by means of the headmasters and teachers! In fact, I think some of them receive commisions for this! This is most obvious when come the school holidays. All the school children are supposed to buy like 10 exercise books for homework to be finished during the year-end school holidays. That is where the publishers are making tonnes of money for trying to sell them! Let me put it this way, I am under teacher A this year and will be under teacher B next year. Do you think teacher B will be willing to even go through all the 10 exercise books of each student when school reopens next year? No way! In a typical class of over 40 students in a chinese primary school, it will be like marking over 400 books x 20 pages of homework! Show me a teacher who is willing to do that and I will retract my remarks!

I guess our society has come to an uncivilized manner in terms of bringing up our kids in a healthy way. Most of us (working or not working) prefer to let the teachers at school to handle the responsibility of educating our kids. We prefer to keep our kids at school as long as possible (to the extend of 7am to 4pm with the extra class and all) so that we will rest peacefully at home! We kept so much pressure on them so that they will come back with As in their result scorecard. We even went lower by offering money or materialistic prizes as rewards in getting those "color-flying" results. However, we could care less if they are really happy going to school!!

For me, I want to send my children to a chinese primary school if possible. The main reason for doing so is that so that my children will be able to learn to speak and write in mandarin, in addition to BM and English. Unfortunately, the latest development in all the SMJK schools I've come across lately had really pushed me to having second thoughts. I guess some so-called "chinese educationist" and politicians are really going too far in terms of keeping the survival of those SMJK and book publishers in business! They organized concerts, big dinner parties to raise fund for the SMJKs in the name of chinese education. In the end, who will end up as the biggest winners? The publishers!! On the other hand, who are the biggest losers? Not us as parents, not the teachers who are just following orders, they are the children who is sacrificing their childhood in order to fulfill the ambitions of some selfish adults.

I bet if you pick a student at random and ask them this question "Why did you go to school and study so hard?", they will either reply you with some concocted answers brainwashed into their brains by their pathetic parents like "So that I can learn more and get a good job" or a more conventional and materialistic reply like "My parents say they will give me RMxxx or a bike or a handphone if I get n number of As". Is this what we really want for our children?

I am sure grandma will be pondering over my long remarks throughout the dinner...

On the way back, J asked me whether I have gone over board with my grandma. Well, I had a simple answer for her, "Well... I guess it is better for her to know something that is true before she passes on". I've also explained to J how many parents (mine included) always push their children into doing something which they had failed to achieve themselves. That was when J interrupted me that I always said I wanted Little Skywalker to be a pilot. Well, I was joking when I was saying that. The truth is, I don't care what Little Skywalker is going to do with his life as long as he don't go burn down a house or kill somebody. I hope he can make up his own mind when he comes to the crossroads. All we (parents) could only do is equipped our children with sufficient knowledge to differentiate between what is right and wrong. The rest of it is up to them to figure out by themselves.

Let them live their own lives... and not lives under our shadows!

Jotted down by Egghead :: at around 11/17/2005 09:44:00 AM :: and invited 10 Blah(s):

10 Blah(s) by: Blogger Lazymama, Blogger Annie, Blogger Zara's Mama, Blogger domesticgoddess, Blogger Sue, Blogger Baby Smooches, Anonymous maria aka twinsmom, Blogger jazzmint, Blogger 5xmom, Blogger Egghead,

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