Forum: Give kids a chance to follow their hearts

Dr Margaret Chan's column struck a chord with me (Why kids shouldn't have to audition for CCAs, March 11).

My grand-niece, recently enrolled in primary school, eagerly anticipated joining the Chinese orchestra as a co-curricular activity (CCA), but found herself immediately rejected because the cut-off criterion was a Grade 3 music qualification.

So she tried auditioning for gymnastics, but was again rejected on the spot because she couldn't perform a split during the preliminary screening.

This is the present state of affairs in our schools where even the competition to get into CCAs is cut-throat.

There are, of course, administrative difficulties in trying to cater for everyone. Certainly, entrance requirements are there because it has been noted by experts through years of experience that, without these primary prerequisites, children drop out very quickly if they have selected a CCA where they soon feel totally out of their depth.

Then again, history is replete with late bloomers who have developed sublime talents that far outstripped peers given a head start by their parents.

One simply wishes for the young to be given a choice to follow where their hearts take them.

In academics, early streaming processes have been progressively modified since the 1980s to recognise the abilities of late classroom bloomers, and students can now opt through banding to delve into subjects they feel confident in at a higher level.

Auditioning for CCAs, especially for the very young, seems contrary to such an encompassing and enlightened approach to the complete development of our next generation.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

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