Motivation needed for children to excel

It is not completely true that those with fewer resources and opportunities will be at a disadvantage since circumstances and environments differ between rich and poor households ("Set aside places in top schools for needy, bright children"; June 14).

The crucial factor is parental guidance, with strict discipline to motivate and imbue in children the right values to strive hard to excel in school.

Without that motivation, children from rich households are no better than those from poor ones.

While we can do more for needy, bright children, we should not forget children who are from households which are neither needy nor well-off.

We should further motivate these children and encourage them to strive to do well.

For instance, instead of rewarding only the top three students, expand this to the best five, so there is a greater chance for children to be recognised. Good monetary rewards can encourage bright students to maintain consistent performance and also strive to be, at least, in the top five.

We need to invest and cast the net wider to prevent "gems" from falling through the cracks.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 28, 2015, with the headline 'Motivation needed for children to excel'. Print Edition | Subscribe