There is concern that the educational playing field is not so level nowadays, with more affluent families being able to afford the hefty fees for tuition and enrichment classes for their children, which some other families cannot.
I have met parents who splurge on their children's tuition and think their responsibility ends there - paying for the "best" tutor or tuition class.
Income inequality is a fact of life and one cannot run away from it. But there are ways to mitigate its effects, one of which is to provide a conducive home environment for children.
Apart from tuition, the family environment and the tone and nature of parent-child interaction affect a child's performance at school. Parental expectations play a part too.
It is crucial, for instance, for parents to discuss with their children their schoolwork, their progress or otherwise, and problems they may face, among other things.
Parents should make it a point to attend meet-the-parents sessions.
Knowing that his parents care about his performance makes a difference to a child's attitude towards school and puts subtle pressure on him to perform.
A home where parents themselves read and even discuss what they read with their children is an added bonus. Parents can show their children that reading is no chore.
A self-fulfilling prophecy is also to be guarded against. Perpetually telling a child he is not up to par may actually lead to performance below par.
Low Siew Hua (Ms)