I am thankful my little boy who attended only one year of kindergarten turned out to be quite a brilliant kid. He can read English story books well and he has no problems with his Maths and Science.
However, being Chinese, he needs to learn from scratch all the Bahasa Melayu terms. Learning a language is not too difficult for children. But language is something either you take naturally like duck to water or you have to struggle a bit. I think it is an inborn thing in us. Either you have it or you need to struggle to learn.
School started oin January 4th 2010. In late February, the six years old and seven years old school children have to sit for their LINUS test on top of their monthly test.
LINUS test is like the litmus test to some. Eventhough I thought I am in the know of what’s happening in my kid’s school, I also missed the information. I didn’t know such test exists. I really don’t care because I dislike the idea of putting six years and seven years old boys to test how smart they are. Long time ago, my older boys only get segregated in Std. Two, after two exams. But three years ago, the Edu. Min. introduced the BM tests and all six/seven years old kids are segregated within the first few months of primary school.
Just before Chinese New Year holidays, my boy brought home a piece of printed paper with their test schedule. But, before the monthly test was over, my boy insisted and argued with me that he has more tests the following week. I kept telling him that the printed paper said only three days. He wrote the extra days later on.
True enough, he came back from school one day and told me, “Today test I must read and answer questions.” The first one is Maths where they have to re-arrange some numbers, read zero to ten and say whether it is a bigger or smaller number. This is in English. And for the Bahasa Melayu, he has to read a passage and then, answer some questions verbally.
Wow, six years old having to do oral tests? For real? My boy reads BM with an Ingrish slang, so how to answer? For him, it is still manageable as he has quite a good foundation at his Tadika JG. But for those students in Chinese and Tamil schools where the parents are not fluent in either English and Bahasa Melayu, can you imagine how the kids cope?
Personally, I think our Education Minister is out of touch with the children. Do they even know what six and seven years old kids are capable of? Must they put these little boys and girls through such a test to filter them? Can’t they wait for at least six months or even better a year to do so? Imagine a six years old kid being given the impression that he is dumb just because he hasn’t have time to command the two languages?
This is why some Chinese parents tend to whisper the conspiracy that our Gov. purposely put the children through such tests to remove the cream. It is public knowledge. But how many dare to actually bring the issue up? No one. I for one will not put my head out simply because it is a losing battle.
So, looks like our children are going to be given the bad news that they are stupid simply because they haven’t have time to have better command of languages. This of course will lead to even more tuition for some children.
Today, many parents were outside the school compound complaining how their kids have been singled out because they did badly in the Linus test. These children are bright students with good Maths and Science but one surprise test like that probably killed off their enthusiasm and self-confidence.
I told my boy about the article in the Star which is a piece of news featured in Sin Chew. (link here, second story, after Jack Neo)
I asked my boy’s class teacher if the children are going to be sent to different classes according to their ‘achievement’ in this Linus test. She said the school has not confirm yet. I don’t really care. My boy is only seven years old.