Research has shown that children can be motivated in a more competitive environment (Ensuring poorer kids don't feel marginalised in top schools; Nov 29).
This is true if a child requires challenges to work hard.
On the contrary, a student who likes to be in the limelight will put in more effort in his studies to ensure that he always stays at the top among his peers with similar abilities.
He might give up totally if he is disappointed by being far behind in the race at a top school.
So, whether a child from a low-income family who does not qualify for a top school will benefit from going to such a school depends on the character and emotional make-up of that individual student.
To enjoy life in a top school, a student must not be someone who gets upset easily.
To achieve that objective, the student must be capable of adapting to the environment to be treated the same way as any other student in that school.
For example, it is only practical for a teacher in charge of 40 students to encourage the class as whole to sell donation tickets.
It is unrealistic for the teacher to single out the students from poorer homes to give them a different message.
If such a student is not capable of accomplishing the task after much hard work, he should have the courage to explain the problem to his teacher instead of feeling upset.
Otherwise, it will do more harm than good for the student to be admitted to a top school.
Parents should understand their children properly and size them up accurately to make the right decision in terms of choosing a school.
Yeo Boon Eng (Ms)