The side of DSA which few parents talk about

My son was admitted to a school via the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme two years ago and has been struggling academically since.

He puts in tremendous effort, but has to attend learning support classes after school.

He is always conscious of the fact that he is a DSA student and seen as not as smart as his classmates.

He no longer feels a sense of pride in his sporting ability, as the reality of not being able to measure up academically overshadows his sports achievement.

From being a boy who let his natural curiosity guide him in acquiring knowledge and developing his natural talents, he now has to learn "examinable" subjects.

Hence, his love for learning has greatly diminished.

The DSA scheme is supposed to give students the opportunity to be recognised for talents other than academic achievements.
But the reality is that students who enter schools via the scheme face the pressure of clocking long hours in their sport or activity, as well as living up to the academic expectations of the school.

The DSA scheme is supposed to give students the opportunity to be recognised for talents other than academic achievements.

But the reality is that students who enter schools via the scheme face the pressure of clocking long hours in their sport or activity, as well as living up to the academic expectations of the school (Raise cut-off point for admission by Mr Tan Soon Meng; March 15).

Unless there is a major breakthrough in our education system, standardised tests, competition and ranking continue to be a system of control.

Schemes such as the DSA, Gifted Education Programme and Integrated Programme promote the idea of "good" and "bad" schools and academic achievements.

Rankings and mock exams result in students learning to pass tests and exams, rather than learning to love learning.

Elina Teng Mei Ping (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline 'The side of DSA which few parents talk about'. Print Edition | Subscribe