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Loyalty & the Integrated Programme
The Chinese Character for Loyalty By jj_4487
Originally published on

I should stop ranting, it is bad for my health. But, surfing the net, I've come across something that has completely infuriated me.
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Being exceptionally bored today, I trawled through the website of my alma-mater, Nanyang Girls' High School (NYGH), expecting many a pleasant surprise and updates about a school I hold very dear to me. Now, I'm absolutely livid at the disloyalty shown by some of the students to the school, and by what some pompous, arrogant, know-it-all Straits Times writer has written.

A bit of background, maybe, before I launch into a rant few will understand. About a year ago, a few of the top secondary schools in Singapore proposed a new plan - initially termed the "Through Train Programme", but now called the Integrated Programme - which meant that selected academically inclined students from these top schools would be able to bypass the GCE Ordinary Level Examination - taken at the age of 16 or 17 depending on academic ability by all schooling students - in exchange for a six-year course where the students instead would sit for the GCE Advanced Level Examination. The premise was that opting for this 6-year course would help to save time and let students used the many months used to cram for two major examinations within two years for activities which favour current issues, like research, calligraphy, art, writing, etc.

Granted, this propsed scheme sounds very attractive. However, there are a few major flaws with it, which our government, in perhaps a little rashly deciding in its quest to be seen as a centre for world-class education has overlooked. Firstly, as there are late-developers, there are also people who shine in the first years of their education, only to experience something of a burnout later. What if these people were to be selected for the IP? If they are unable to sustain themselves the whole 6 years, they will then be finding themselves in an extremely precarious situation - that of having only the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) as their highest level of qualification. If the job market, bleak as it is, finds it so hard to give jobs to university graduates, what more for an adult with only a PSL certificate to his name?

One more thing. Already, in Singapore, there is a prgramme which caters to the so-called academically gifted students - the Gifted Education Programme (GEP). I opted out of the programme after a year because for what I found it to be. Statistically, no one in the GEP does better than their mainstream counterparts. The hardworking taxpayers of this country are paying through their noses- each GEP students costs our brilliant Ministry of Education $30 000 a year - to breed an arrogant class of students who, in the end, perform no better than the average student. The GEP students and graduates I know are so full of themselves that I have always been tempted to slap them. Doing the same with the IP will no doubt give people the chance to explore the world - which is what our current education system needs - but it will also create another class of snobs who believe in their inherent ablities and who think they are superior to their counterparts. How will these people ever benefit society in time to come? Its not all about IQ anymore, many, many jobs in the service sector require as much, if not more, EQ than IQ nowadays.. And the service sector is where we are ultimately headed in this knowledge-based economy, is it not?

Now, for the loyalty part. Admittedly, I have not been reading the Singapore newspapers - Boston is not exactly the place to go for such small papers. However, an article my friend recently typed out and e-mailed to me has pissed me off to say the least. Dated 15 November 2003, it was entitled Nanyang girls can now skip O levels too. Imagine my indignance when I read that it was making out that Nanayng was a second-class school only starting its own IP "at the eleventh hour" just to save its skin and its best students for the 2005 'O' Levels.

For one thing, Ms Ng, you might be brown-nosing the Raffles Schools, but you, my lady, have absolutely no idea what the fuck you are on about. Nanyand is a first-class institution, and to all you 47 girls who chose to leave the school in favour of Raffles Girls' and National Junior College, I say, "fuck you".

What you have done is disloyalty at its height. You have no confidence that your own school, together with the teachers who have given you everything they could humanly give for the past two years, can guide you for another 4 years to a successful 'A' Level certificate? Or maybe you are just the kind of classic Singaporean scumbags with the "I'll go to it because it has a bigger name that Nanyang" breed. You should be ashamed of yourselves. If I were you I would not dare to step into the General Office of NYGH asking for the documents proving you have attended the school or asking the teachers to write testimonials for you so-called brilliant academic performance.

In fact, the 47 of you can go to Raffles or NJ. The fact that you've even considered opting out of NYGH makes you unworthy to set foot in the school premesis. NYGH has no use for people like you, and neither does society. You think of yourself before your school and the people who care about you, and for that alone, you will never ever climb high socially. If you ever do get jobs, and I'm sure you will, seeing as you are so 'brilliant', remember who it was that gave you the foundation to be where you are, and whether you have repaid the debt you now owe the school. By leaving, you are as good as biting the hand that feeds you.

What matters to me is your character, and by choosing to leave a school and staff who have given you everything, you are as bad as anyone in Hell in my book, and, frankly, I hope you don't succeed in your endeavors. You can go ahead and fail your next four years, it will be a small payment for the injustice you have done your school.


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