More diverse student population needed in schools

It is disheartening to read that nearly half of low-income students in Singapore attend the same schools (Nearly half of low-income students in Singapore attend the same schools; Oct 24).

If the Government can ensure a better mix of different income dwellers in the same Housing Board block by having different flat sizes, I fail to see why we cannot do it in schools.

If many students from low-income families go to the same schools, it will result in a "flock mentality", where there is no motivation to perform better as everyone comes from the same background.

Although the mantra "all schools are good schools" has been repeated time and again, we have to face the fact that this is far from reality.

Those in "good" schools will always harbour the erroneous notion that success in life is a natural entitlement and those from "disadvantaged" schools will be resigned to the idea that they will end up in the lower strata of society.

When the two eventually step into society, this will culminate in a disconnect and distrust as they are not familiar with such an environment.

Hence, just as biodiversity is critical to the survival of flora and fauna, the same can be said for our students.

Our system seeks to artificially divide students into "good" and "disadvantaged" schools without realising that it is creating problems of integration for them later when they step into society.

Everybody is a genius in their own way. Our education system should serve to bring out the "genius" in every student instead of defining them by grades alone.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'More diverse student population needed in schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe