Don't overlook kids' overall development

Now that the Primary School Leaving Examination results are out ("Spotlight on grit and good character on results day"; Nov 25, and "Going beyond PSLE scores"; Nov 27), some parents may be concerned about and over-focused on getting their children into a popular secondary school.

Are they relying too much on schools for their children's overall development?

It is important for parents to take an active and major role in educating and developing their children.

There is evidence to show that children of parents who are involved in their children's education and participate actively in appropriate school activities tend to do well in school.

Parents should focus more on enhancing their children's character and developing their unique strengths than on school postings and grades.

We know that good grades can open doors to getting a job. But to do well in a career, children need to develop many other forms of intelligence and pursue different pathways.

Unfortunately, some educators may focus mainly on helping students develop their intellectual and linguistic skills. They may give the impression that having good grades is the best way to achieve success.

It is no surprise if students in a popular school are pressured to be "book smart" and to achieve good academic results.

After all, without good academic results, some of these schools may not have become popular in the first place.

The danger is that these children may be distracted from pursuing a holistic, balanced and effective education.

Critical and abstract-thinking skills; creativity and innovation; leadership skills; emotional and cultural intelligence; financial literacy; self-directed learning skills; and persuasion skills are also important to help them respond to a fast-changing world and to succeed in life.

In their focus on grades, they may also not develop compassion for those who are poor, weak or disadvantaged.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)