Speaking in Parliament today (Feb 6) representing the Ministry of Education, PAP MP Low Yen Ling defended a primary school that deemed students scoring 97/100 for Chinese language not qualified enough for Higher Chinese.
“We acknowledge St. Hilda’s good intentions in making sure students who want to take Higher Chinese are well-suited and also ready to take on the subject because it also entails extra curricular time and a heavier study load for the child.”
St. Hilda’s Primary School in Tampines were complained upon to by parents of students who were rejected for Higher Chinese. Some of the students scored a near-perfect score of 97 out of 100 marks for the Chinese language but were still rejected nonetheless.
However, the primary school succumbed to public criticisms and opened an additional class to accommodate students who wish to take up Higher Chinese. PAP MP Low Yen Ling confirmed the knee-jerk reaction in Parliament:
“MOE is very glad the school is making positive steps very swiftly to enlarge its pool of Higher Chinese language students. It reflects the school’s commitment in terms of teaching and learning of mother tongue languages – not just Chinese, but all three.”
Higher Chinese is an important subject for qualification into elite secondary schools like Raffles Institution and Raffles Girls’ School. Many students who may have scored near-perfect for their Chinese language may not qualify for Higher Chinese as the course is unofficially reserved for only children of elites and cronies of the government ruling party.