By Bryna Sim
HOW about we...
- Base PSLE scores on best 3 subjects
- Allow child to pick standard he is confortable with
- Give bonus points if MT results exceed a certain level
- Allow kids to opt out of taking MT
- Wait a few years for recently introduced ideas to bear fruit before deciding to make changes
Is your child facing problems learning his Mother Tongue (MT)?
Let's think of ways to address this issue, say educators and parents here.
Those The New Paper spoke to yesterday suggested possible alternatives to the ongoing debate on MTs.
Some felt that students should be allowed to opt out of sitting for MT exams.
Others felt that giving out bonus points or tabulating Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scores based on students' three best subjects were good options.
The suggestions come in the wake of Education Minister Ng Eng Hen's comments last month, where he suggested that the ministry was studying whether the weighting given to MTs in the PSLE ought to be cut.
MT results currently account for 25 per cent of students' aggregate score, the same weighting as English language, mathematics and science.
Dr Ng's comments led to a flurry of letters - especially from concerned parents - to local media forums.
Those whose children were struggling with their MTs said they were looking forward to the change.
But other parents were worried that students would lose their cultural roots, identity and motivation to study hard for their MTs.
The New Paper polled 200 parents yesterday, and got similarly mixed results.
On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued a statement in response to these reactions.
He said that "emphasis on MTs is a vital feature of our education system", and that he and Dr Ng would meet with the press soon to "address the concerns raised, and set out the Government's thinking".
This meeting is likely to take place next week.
While awaiting for more details to be released, educators and parents here have started to think of possible alternatives.
Ms G Chow, 32, a Chinese teacher for the past eight years in a primary school here, believes that students' aggregate scores could be tabulated based on their best three subjects, rather than having four subjects with equal weighting.
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