No school, system can guarantee child's success

The Integrated Programme (IP) tries to encourage creative and critical thinking through more independent and exploratory learning instead of the rote-learning that most children are used to in primary school.

But the IP is not for everyone.

The more hands-off approach requires students to be more self-disciplined, to make use of the various opportunities and learn efficient time management.

Senior education correspondent Sandra Davie suggests that all IP schools run concurrent O-level and IP tracks from the start ("The O-level track of shame"; last Thursday).

This is a huge drain on resources and also prevents schools from specialising in just one scheme and improving it.

In any case, students usually want to go to these schools because they want to pursue the IP.

Furthermore, while in theory, students from both streams would be able to mingle and learn from one another, and thereby benefit from the diversity, the fact is that they will be in different classes and engaging in mostly different activities.

Schools have a duty to paint a more sober and realistic picture to potential students and their parents.

Much responsibility lies with parents too.

They have to realise that the IP uses a different pedagogy that may not suit their child.

The child must have some level of academic aptitude and self-discipline in order to thrive in this system.

This does not mean academically weaker students do not benefit and thrive in the IP system; they may struggle initially, but they must have the determination and discipline to trudge on.

Parents should not try to artificially fit their child into a particular school/system through Direct School Admission preparatory classes.

The child would end up having to expend much effort inhis co-curricular activity while, at the same time, trying to get used to a new environment with a different pedagogy.

This may be too draining for the child.

Most importantly, parents must realise that no school or system - be it the IP, O levels or International Baccalaureate - can guarantee that their child will succeed.

Ng Yee Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2016, with the headline 'No school, system can guarantee child's success'. Print Edition | Subscribe