ITE Fiesta 2013

Ever since ITE College Central at Ang Mo Kio was built, I was particularly intrigued by the buildings. The architecture is really interesting. I always wanted to make a visit but didn’t manage to find time to do. Fortunately, the opportunity came when they held an open house and I brought my family along.

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Once inside, I was awed by the size of the campus. It is really huge.

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There is even space for a ‘tiny’ Boeing 737-301.

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Even though the Fiesta is primary aimed at perspective students or at least their parents, there are many activities to cater to irrelevant people like me who just want to find things to burn off my toddlers’ excess energy…

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…ncluding a booth where there are lots of LEGO duplo blocks for children to play.

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And while taking pictures, I also came across a group of friendly students who posed for a group shot.

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Attending Palm View Primary School open house

My wife and I took leave to attend the Palm View Primary School open house. It is one of the few new schools in Seng Kang. Even though our eldest child will only enter K1 next year, as typical kiasu parents, it is never too early to check out schools.

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The principal of Palm View Primary School is Mr Clifford Chua, who was principal of Kuo Chuan Primary School for 6 years. According to my friends who were teachers, generally, good principals were tasked to start new schools.

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Principal of Palm View Primary School addressing parents of perspective students.

Other than the principal talk at the hall, the open house was organised as show cases of lessons held in various venues in the school.

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Dance class

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Singing performance

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PE lesson

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Story telling during English lesson

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Chinese lesson

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Messy outdoor art lesson that saw kids enjoying themselves while parents watch in shock.

Impression and feelings 

Even though the education minister tried to convince parents that every school is a good school, it is pretty clear to me most parents don’t buy that. Just look at the number of parents who continue to volunteer for ‘branded’ schools and the number of balloting necessary at the early phases of registration at these primary schools. If PSLE is the most important examination, then primary school registration is correspondingly the most important milestone when parents had to decide where to place their bet.

I can’t help but feel something is not right but not too sure what. Academic performance has become the ONLY success indicator in life and most parents seemed to dedicate all resources they could master to ensure their child succeed in this single measurement. Branded schools, enrichment classes before P1 and tuition lessons thereafter. When so much focus is placed on academic results, the resultant scenario becomes a stiff competition like 100m sprint in the Olympics, where the timing difference between the 1st and last is mere seconds. For students, score 90/100 would have been just the 50th percentile, and those in high percentiles did marginally better. What this meant is those who got below 90 effectively fail the subject and would be singled out for more attention to help them in their weaker subjects.

I’m not sure where we are going, but forcing everyone into the same filter and giving the impression those got sieve out risk becoming trash just don’t make sense to me.  Even the economy tried to diversify away from just one single sector, surely the society can diversify away from one single performance indicator.