Don't kill joy by assigning grades to kids' interests

It is indeed heartening to know that we are moving towards a holistic education by reducing the emphasis on academic areas.

However, I do not agree with Miss Ong Si Min's suggestion to grade pupils' participation in the arts, sports and community work ("A step towards holistic education"; Monday).

Whenever anything is graded, you can be assured that parents will make sure their child excels, to make the grade into a good school. There will be no end to the rat race.

I have lived in Hong Kong and seen how students pursue the arts, sports or community work just for the sake of giving themselves an extra edge to get into a coveted school.

Most do it grudgingly, and once they get the certificate, they drop their arts, sports and community work.

The joy of the activity is killed if, at the end of the day, you are pressured to produce graded results.

Young children may not know where their true interests lie. The best gift we can give them is the time and space to discover them.

Ng Yan Ling (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2016, with the headline 'Don't kill joy by assigning grades to kids' interests'. Print Edition | Subscribe