Have you seen a PSLE child cry?
The PSLE results are always met with joyous celebration and recognition for the bright little boys and girls who have done well. The parents will be proud, the schools and teachers will be proud, the community will be proud too of the children’s success. How many people will notice the little boys and girls sobbing in the corners, starring blankly at the result slips which said, failed, or average, no good?
At the tender age of 12, little children must face a devastating blow of knowing that they are NG. When the parents are understanding it may be a consolation. When parents are unreasonable and daft to place all hopes and desires on the poor child’s PSLE result, life can be very miserable. Many children will live in fear when the results are not up to their parents’ expectation.
Is it fair to put the poor young things through such a traumatic experience when many did not really know what is going on? Actually, for those who are less sensitive and a bit dull, it is a blessing. It is those that are aware of the hopes and wishes placed on them by their parents and knowing what the parents want and what it means to fail to achieve that will face the full might of being a failure at such a young age. And they would not know what to do, and who to turn to. The sight of their disappointing parents could be so frighteningly cold and ruthless.
I am no expert in child education and child psychology or schooling. I can only express my feelings for putting little children through such a pressurizing situation and the trauma they must faced, alone, no counseling to ease the pain and fear. As adults, are we being too cruel to the children because we think it is good for them, or because we don’t bother to think and look at how things will affect them emotionally and psychologically from their perspectives? Children can feel hurt and rejected too.
Would it not be better to delay this big cut to a later age when the children are older and stronger mentally to take the blow? The assessment of children at PSLE level and the stakes involved have put a lot of pressure on the parents and children, and many would have their childhood deprived, just to make the mark. Can the system be tweaked to delay this assessment and allow the children to grow up as children and load the pressure when they are in their teens?
No doubt some kind of assessments must come their way to shift out the better from the less academically inclined. Must it be done at so young an age? Would it make any difference to do it later and let parents and children have a more enriching life when the children are growing up, to have a childhood to hold dear to?
Can the PSLE be scrapped and children be allowed to remain in the same schools till Secondary Two when all the streaming can then come in? Admittedly such a major change would affect a whole complex system of education and the infrastructure that is supporting the system. It is a massive task to change and many lives and jobs and systems will be affected. But if it is for the better, no matter how mammoth the task is, how arduous the problems, it is worth the effort to change.
We need to be kinder to the children. Putting so much burden and responsibility on a 12th year old is too much for the child to bear. The adults are simply too ruthless in their expectations from little children. Then again all the talks about kindness and graciousness are mere talks, aspirations, not to mean anything. Let’s talk economics and growth. Children are invisible and cannot feel pain, hurt or suffering.