Letter of the day

Relook need to hand GEP results to pupils in class

Our young primary school pupils received their first lesson in education elitism on Tuesday, with the release of the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) selection test results.

In my child's class, pupils were called out by name, and presented with a letter inviting them to take part in the second round of testing.

In an instant, the atmosphere in the classroom changed, and the children were made painfully aware of the "haves" and the "have-nots".

Some of her classmates were visibly disappointed, with one even texting her parents to inform them that she "did not make it".

Those who were chosen were understandably elated, with a boy even waving the letter around outside the classroom as if he had won the Golden Ticket from Mr Willy Wonka in Roald Dahl's novel, while the rest looked on in silence.

This brings up two pertinent questions.

First, could the results have been handed out in a more subtle way, for example, through a mailed letter or e-mail to the parents of successful pupils, rather than being ceremoniously handed to the children directly in class, with predictable results.

Second, it brings up the issue of educational stratification and indeed whether it should be happening at the tender age of nine.

Reuben Wong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2021, with the headline 'Relook need to hand GEP results to pupils in class'. Subscribe