Unequal resources in schools, but that's not discrimination

Dr Yik Keng Yeong implied in his letter that Singapore's schools get an equal amount of resources (Reverse discrimination not the answer; June 17).

This is not really true. It is evident that some of the top schools have more resources than neighbourhood schools.

For instance, the facilities in schools such as St Joseph's Institution and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) are obviously superior to those found in most neighbourhood schools.

Students from independent schools are given more opportunities to travel abroad for exposure and exchange programmes than students from schools under the purview of the Ministry of Education.

There are probably more teachers with higher educational qualifications in schools like Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution than in neighbourhood schools.

But that does not mean that students in neighbourhood schools are discriminated against.

Independent schools have more resources due to several reasons.

First, students pay a much higher school fee.

Second, these schools might have more financial support from their alumni.

Third, independent schools have the liberty and capacity to establish meaningful collaborations and partnerships with educational institutions around the globe, resulting in higher social capital.

This presents a few questions.

Is a system where one pays more to have better education fair and just? Is it unfair when students work hard and achieve sterling results to gain entry into top educational institutions, most of which are independent?

Isn't this the mark of a meritocratic society?

Let us not be hasty to label circumstances as discriminatory.

Students are given a chance in Singapore to work hard and climb the social ladder. Scholarships are available for those who are not able to afford to study in these top institutions.

Just because these top scoring students earn the access to the greater resources in independent schools does not mean that those in neighbourhood schools are discriminated against.

David Lim Kang Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Unequal resources in schools, but that's not discrimination'. Print Edition | Subscribe