I read a friend's posting this morning about her children's schooling. Currently, all her children go to a private school in Ukay Heights. Now she's thinking of taking out the eldest one and put her in a normal govt school so she could mix around and possibly earn a scholarship after Form 5.
Sigh... children and education... why is it such a headache these days?
I used to take it for granted that if you did well in school, you'll automatically get a scholarship from JPA and will be sent overseas to pursue a degree of your choice. This was the situation when I was schooling last time... some 20 years ago. Unfortunately, times have changed. One can no longer get a scholarship easily coz students have gotten smarter and study places have become limited. So, one has to compete and the competition is really tough, I tell you.
I have 3 children at home who are currently at various stages of education. One is in her first year of univ, one in Form 5 and another one in Form 2. These three children started schooling in a private school at first because their parents believed in giving them the "best" in education. Fair enough... if you can afford it, why not, right? So, the eldest was there until she was in Form 1 while the other two were there up to Std 5 and 2, respectively.
But when their mother passed away, MrNordin decided to take them out and put them in a govt school because: 1) the fees were getting too expensive, 2) the teaching quality in the private school was deteriorating, and 3) the students' exam performance was declining. Their friends were also showing some disciplinary problems; hence the best way was to take them out.
I was there when the children started their first few days in the new school (we were still not married at that time). The second one protested and refused to go to school, while the first one stayed on for another year in her old school because she couldn't get into the same school as her younger sister and brother. They didn't like it at first but after a while, things picked up and they began to like their new school.
The thing with govt school is that the student herself has to take her own initiatives to learn and grab every opportunity there is to excel. There are a lot more things offered by a govt school compared to a private school (depending on which school that is), but one must know how to get involved. Bottomline is this: if your child is good, you can put them anywhere and they'd still do well. It's not the school, it's their own effort that counts.
One thing good about govt schools is the children get to mix with a wide range of students from different racial background. And the atmosphere is different. I noticed when these children were at the old school, their characters were different.. their friends were different. They didn't know how to mix around and their only friends were the ones who were at par with them (if you know what I mean). They can also be snobbish and rude sometimes, and tend to mix with the same group of people only, which in my opinion, is not healthy.
Thankfully, the few years spent at the govt schools have changed them a lot. They learned to make new friends and have tried their hands at a lot of activities offered by the school. My second one is very active in co-curricular activities; the boy is also showing much enthusiasm in his photography and silat club, albeit seasonal.
When we asked them if they'd go back to their old school, they'd say, "NO!!!" They told me they don't think they'd achieve what they have achieved today had they stayed on at the old school. Their friends pun dah jadi entah apa2 back there, with some having serious behaviour problems. At least MrNordin can take comfort in the fact he has made the right decision by taking them out earlier on.
Having said that, I've nothing against parents sending their children to private schools. Like I said earlier, you want the best for your children. If you can afford to send them to private schools, which have a smaller no of students in each class (20 vs 50?) and the teachers can give more attention to the students, why not. At the end of the day, it's your children. So you decide what's best for them. As for Nizzar, I think I'll send him to St John's for Std 1. Ok tak?
Meanwhile, my eldest daughter is adjusting to her new college life. If we could afford it, I would very much like to send her overseas. Unfortunately, we can't. With her results (5As), it was quite hard for us to push for a scholarship at that time. Further, our combined salaries wouldn't qualify her for a scholarship either. So, she had to settle for a local U. Quite sayang actually... but what to do. Itulah, I told her last time, if you want to go overseas, you have to study hard and make the grades (10 As, at least), then we can try and push for it. But no... dia releks saja. Now, susahlah sikit. Anyway, a local U is equally good, if only she knew how to make the best of her time there.
Now, we're banking on the second one to make it overseas. That girl has got potential. She has been a consistent straight A student from Day 1 and is quite active in co-curricular activities as well. If she's sitting for the JPA scholarship interview today, I know she'll get it, only if they don't check her parents' salary slips. Tak de lah banyak sangat, but more than JPA's requirement of RM1,500 and below (for direct award). How to qualify?
So now, I'm having sleepless nights trying to figure out how best to send her overseas. Her SPM trial results are out this week and when I asked her last night, she just gave me that big smile, indicating that it's better than her expectations. I know she'll get through her SPM with flying colours and that is why I so much want her to go overseas (although she has applied for local matrics quietly). She wants to do Medicine or Bio-Technology. Can anyone help me?