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Monday, August 29, 2011

Why I enrolled my son in a popular school

Are good schools important?

Recently a Facebook friend's article inspired me to ponder this question again. By the way, Mr Patrick Liew is an inspiration to me in many ways and I've attached his original note at the end of this blog post. Do read it as I find it a good resource and sincere sharing of his experience.

Back to my question and the topic of this post. Before it was time to enrol my son into Primary One, I decided I wanted to move all the way from the north part of Singapore to the east region. I sought the help of more than 10 property agents and viewed many properties every weekend, so as to get a dream home within 1 km of our ideal school, in order to increase our chance of successful enrolment. 

Looking back, I now think it's worth all the efforts. The school provided a good learning environment for my son in his six years of Primary School education. He had an all-rounded education, with exposure in academics as well as co-curricular activities. He's an independent learner, creative thinker, and enjoys good relationships with his teachers and friends. Recently he has also been accepted by a reputable Secondary School through the DSA (Direct School Admission) exercise. 

As he's still young (12 years old), I do not wish to brag about his accomplishments. He has yet to prove himself in the adult world. I'm also not putting down "neighbourhood schools" as I myself came from one such school, which has nurtured me well too. However I'm eternally grateful for the wonderful foundation my son has received in his Primary School. 

When it's time to enrol my second child, I'll still go through the same considerations for choosing a good school for her, be it a "neighbourhood school" or a "better known school". In fact, though she is now almost 3 years old, I've not sent her to any nursery/ pre-school/ enrichment courses yet. I've decided to "home-school" her until she is ready. Just like her brother, who didn't attend full conventional pre-school before enrolment into Primary School.

I totally agree with Patrick Liew that parents need to take an active and major part in educating our children and not absolve our full responsibilities for our children’s education to the schools.

Secondly, parents should take an interest in our kids' overall character development, not just getting good grades.

Thirdly, a balanced education is important. We do not pressure our kids to achieve good results to the exclusion of love and compassion for others.

Needless to say, I fully agree with his concluding remarks: As parents, we need to take a proactive role in loving our children. We need to be an active co-partner in our children’s education.

Below is the article written by Mr Patrick Liew, copied from his Facebook page with permission. Thanks, Patrick!

Patrick Liew
Learning For Life 

I read in the newspaper today about how hard parents tried to place their children in ‘designer’ schools.

One parent apparently paid $3.5 million to purchase a condo just so that they can be near to a popular school. Another parent downgraded to a smaller flat.

It was interesting to read about how a celebrity and her husband volunteered 80 hours to help in their preferred school. Unfortunately they failed to get a place for their son.

According to the report, they did not even have a chance to ballot for a place in the school.

Many years ago, when my wife and I were considering to register our eldest daughter, we went through the same pressure. Many of our well-intentioned friends advised us to place our girl in one of the popular schools.

Fortunately, I was pretty well connected. I pulled all the strings so that I could get a place for my girl in the ‘perfect’ school.

We prayed over the decision. Finally, we registered our girl in a neighborhood school – a relatively unknown school that was located near to our home.

Looking back, we are thankful to our Creator. It was the right move.

My kids had a great time in school. They did well in their studies and played an active part in co-curricular activities (CCA).

As a proud father, I have to share that both of them qualified to be in the Gifted Education Programme.

I wonder when parents endeavor to place their kids in a ‘designer school,’ are they absolving their full responsibilities for their children’s education to the schools?

I believe we need to take an active and major part in educating our children.

I was told during a Parent-Teacher Association Meeting that children of parents who get involved in their children’s education and participate actively in school activities do well in school.

The second question in my mind is, are the parents more interested to see their children get good grades or are they interested in their overall character development?

As adults, we know that grades may be able to help open the door to the right career and jobs. However, to do well in them, we need to have many other different forms of intelligence.

In 1983, Howard Gardner posited that there are multiple intelligences. Unfortunately, schools have only focused mostly on a narrow perspective of helping students develop their logical and linguistic intelligence.

The third and key question in my mind is, will kids who go to a ‘designer school’ be pressured to focus on just achieving good academic results? After all, without good results, these schools cannot have become popular.

The danger is that they will fail to see the forest from the trees. These kids will not have a wise, balanced and pragmatic education.

For example, these kids may not learn to enhance their emotional intelligence. In their battle to get good grades, they may not develop love and compassion for those who are poor, weak, and disadvantaged.

There are too many questions going through my mind.

Suffice to say, as parents, we need to take a proactive role in loving our children. We need to be an active co-partner in our children’s education.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!

Question: How can we become better parents?

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