Maids achieve equivalent of A levels

SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Ms Janatun (second from right) graduated with the equivalent of an A-level certificate yesterday. She was top among 44 graduating students.

Indonesian maid Janatun has been working in Singapore for the past six years, but her life-long ambition is to teach children at her home town in central Java.

Spurred by her goal, she enrolled as a part-time student at the Singapore Indonesian School - Sekolah Indonesia Singapura - in 2010.

Yesterday, the 30-year-old took a step closer to realising her ambition at the school's graduation ceremony.

Among the 44 Indonesian maids who successfully acquired an education certificate equivalent to the A levels from the school, Ms Janatun emerged the top student.

She is part of the seventh batch of students to have graduated from the school since the programme - catered for Indonesian maids by the Indonesian Embassy - was introduced in March 2009. Since then, 1,789 have achieved certificates for secondary school and higher. There are currently 725 maids enrolled at the school.

At yesterday's ceremony, eight maids were also awarded certificates equivalent to the O levels, while 645 received certificates in skills-based courses, such as in sewing, computing, hairdressing and Mandarin.

Ms Janatun said she was not short of support from her employer, who allowed her to attend classes every Sunday.

Maids typically attend classes at the school twice a month.

"When (my employers) found out that I was the top student, they were very happy and even took me out for dinner at Suntec City," she said.

Her employer, engineer Kim Gay, 44, said this programme provides a good opportunity for maids like Ms Janatun to upgrade themselves.

"If they have the interest and are keen to study, then why not?" said Mrs Gay.

Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports Halimah Yacob, who graced yesterday's ceremony, said the courses allow maids to enhance and improve themselves, which "will help them when they go back to their own country".

Other organisations that offer self-improvement classes to foreign domestic workers here include non-profit organisations Philippine Bayanihan Society and Aski Global.

samboh@sph.com.sg


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