Forum: A self-motivated child will do well in any school

Starting primary school education is a major milestone for children. Most if not all parents would want the best for their children.

The common thinking is that enrolling in a "good" school would give their children a better chance of doing well in the PSLE, be eligible for a "good" secondary school and move on to a "good" junior college, and so on.

A school is as good as its people (principal, teachers, students and parents), its vision, mission and values.

Certainly, there will be slight differentiation among schools.

There could be sharing of success stories and lessons learnt, and regular benchmarking so that all schools can improve and minimise the differentiation.

In my opinion, however, the other (more important) key to a successful primary school education lies with the pupils and parents.

Support, motivate and help the children discover self-motivation. The rest will fall into place naturally.

Pupils who are not motivated are unlikely to achieve their full potential even in a "good" school.

My four children studied in the same neighbourhood primary school a five-minute walk from home.

I found that the time saved from travelling could be better used on other activities. Also, when there was a need for extra lessons or co-curricular activities, there was no need to scramble to make arrangements for accompanying the child home.

After primary school, my children took different routes and completed their tertiary education: two are engineers, one has a PhD in psychology and one is a veterinarian in training.

Perhaps there is a need to have a paradigm shift - to focus less on a "good" school and to focus more on loving and supporting a child instead.

Put more effort into motivating and helping your children discover self-motivation. This way, they will be successful in any environment.

Teach the children how to fish and not just place them in a good fishing spot.

Andrew Tan Kok Chua