Why the prejudice against academically weaker students?

School is only a small part in life's long journey.
School is only a small part in life's long journey.PHOTO: ST FILE

It is sad to learn that we have become such a class-conscious society that the less academically inclined are not spared prejudiced attitudes (End of streaming: How will changes affect IP schools?, March 10).

It is strange that parents perceive students from the Normal streams as a bad influence on their children.

If we were to encourage social mixing, what better place to start than in school, when children are young and malleable? They will take naturally to the habitat and accept differences among their peers. They will learn that it takes all kinds of people to make the world. When they begin adult life, they will know how to socialise in a diverse world.

Parents should be more confident in how they have brought up their children, who hold them up as role models, and trust that they have laid a strong enough moral foundation for their children to not be easily influenced.

The young have to learn to be accepting and take ownership of their own decisions, whatever the outcome. We should not be quick to pin the blame on others, such as teachers or students in a lower stream, when our own children make mistakes.

As adults, we should not plant toxic attitudes, such as that lower-stream students are a bad influence to be avoided, in our young. It is unhealthy to shelter our young from differences, whether natural or otherwise.

School is only a small part in life's long journey. Who is to say that we will always stay at the top of the band in this journey?

Perhaps we should tell our young to reach out to slower peers and help them to elevate their lot. This would be an invaluable learning experience.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2019, with the headline 'Why the prejudice against academically weaker students?'. Print Edition | Subscribe