Don't let family background hold back able kids

I share the same sentiments as Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan that it is sad that some less well-off families feel that their station in life is "not to shoot for the stars" (Levelling the educational playing field; May 27).

The parents worry that their children may not fit in, or may not be able to manage the heavier workload or stress in the top schools.

Why do they feel this way?

I believe that today's Singaporean parents tend to mollycoddle their children. They fear that their children will be overstressed if they have to work harder at such schools, or that mixing with well-to-do classmates will make them feel inferior.

If an employer is told that he is a top performer at work and is presented with an opportunity for promotion, with the new role involving heavier workload and stress, will it not be a waste for him to turn down such an opportunity?

This is similar to what happens with those parents who are not willing to send their bright children to top schools when these youngsters have made the cut.

There is some truth to what Raffles Institution principal Frederick Yeo said, that few do well enough to make the high Primary School Leaving Examination cut-off.

For those who do make the cut or are offered a place, I urge these young people and their parents to not fear the future, but to shoot for the stars.

Ng Wei Kwan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2018, with the headline 'Don't let family background hold back able kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe