Learning comes first in primary school

When my two granddaughters were in nursery and kindergarten, their school held small birthday parties for children in the same class (Birthday blues in primary schools; April 18).

It was possible to do that, as nursery is a place where children are looked after while their parents are away at work.

Activities, naps, meals, and playtime are arranged, and real teaching and the imparting of knowledge take a back seat.

But when children start primary school, serious learning should be the priority.

Parties take up time. If there are 30 pupils in the class, then we are looking at 30 celebrations of, perhaps, an hour each.

Nothing tangible can be achieved through these celebrations, apart from interaction and mingling, which can be done at other times.

It may promote elitism among the young minds. It may even put a financial burden on parents who are not well-off, as pupils do not want to lose out to their peers.

Birthday parties should not continue in primary school. The Ministry of Education should set a guideline and put a firm stop to the practice.

Neo Poh Goon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'Learning comes first in primary school'. Print Edition | Subscribe