Birthday parties in schools are innocent fun

I do not think that parents who throw birthday parties in school for their children have bad intentions, such as to flaunt their wealth (Birthday parties create unnecessary competition by Ms Annie Chua Hui Ling; April 20).

Often, the parents just want to see their children having fun with their friends, especially since a lot of children these days do not have many siblings to celebrate with.

It would be more troubling if rich children had birthday parties at home and then invited only their rich friends.

Even if there were no birthday parties in schools, children would still make comparisons about pocket money, school bags, wallets, smartphones, stationery and so on. Should schools also have to worry about these?

It is more important to inculcate self-esteem and self-confidence in our young.

They should not have the mindset that they are worthy of mixing with only a certain group of people, or that being less affluent is shameful.

Children should be nurtured to focus on valuable intangible things, such as friendship and respect.

Ms Chua also said that the Education Ministry should step in, as schools which wish to please well-to-do parents would continue to allow birthday parties on their premises.

This is not fair to our schools, as it suggests that school leaders are biased.

Nevertheless, it may be a good idea to discontinue the practice after the pupils reach Primary 1 or 2, as lesson time is limited.

Grace Chua Siew Hwee (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2017, with the headline 'Birthday parties in schools are innocent fun'. Print Edition | Subscribe