Sunday, 9 November 2014

Love for the Alma Mater

A friend who is teaching in Nan Hua Primary School has enrolled her child in her alma mater, St Margaret's.

Prior to the P1 registration exercise, everybody had thought she would enrol her child in the top school. It was a no-brainer to everybody else.

Nan Hua was so 'top' that it even beat Nanyang Primary School last year at its PSLE scores, in terms of the percentage of children who achieved T-scores of 250 and above. If I remember correctly, Nanyang only had 38% of its cohort achieving that feat, while Nan Hua had 48% or thereabout.

However, to my friend, what she did was a 'no-brainer' as she had 6 years of her fondest memories at her alma mater.

I feel that what my friend did is truly a demonstration of her love for her alma mater. As a staff of the school, she qualified for the priority phase, 2A2, for the registration exercise. Although the phase did require the applicants to go through balloting due to over-subscription, she stood a good chance no less.

Above all, she lives in the far west of Singapore. It would have been a natural choice to pick the nearer school, other than the convenient access consideration, rather than the other one in the centre of the island.

Love for the alma mater is something so intangible, yet at the same time, so tangible it affects important decisions for someone you love with all your life. It can be so irrational it makes you send your child across half the island to attend school.

I can't help but draw a comparison with those who advocate distance priority for the P1 registration exercise. For all the 'distance must/should come first' slogan they had shouted, many change their tune when their children are selected for the gifted programme. Suddenly, people living in different parts of Singapore are all eyeing Nanyang Primary for the gifted programme. Didn't they say distance was important? Didn't they say the long journey would tire children out? Suddenly, all these don't matter anymore. Of course, there is still a minority who adopts the 'nearest school' approach, but from what I read on the forum, it seems Nanyang is the preferred choice, even if one lives in Jurong.

Perhaps, having a child getting selected for the gifted programme is the litmus test of whether a person truly embraces or advocates distance as the priority for school selection. I know someone would then say that the same could be said of the love for one's alma mater. Perhaps, but it does seem to me that there are more parents who choose to have their children stay put at their alma maters when the children are selected for the gifted programme than parents who advocate distance priority.

No comments: