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Is this Fair for the Children?

Some of these smiling faces will be retain in 2010 at Year 1


I received a memo from Seri Mulia Sarjana School inviting me to attend a meeting relating to the ages of students allowable into Year 1. And as the footer of the memo says “THIS MEETING IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND IT WILL BE MUCH APPRECIATED IF ALL PARENTS CONCERNED COULD ATTEND THIS MEETING” and yes it’s sure are Extreme when I attend this meeting today at Seri Mulia Sarjana PRESCHOOL.

I was shocked that my daughter who is studying in Year 1 at SMSS will be retain another year just because her age is less than 5 year 9 month as of 31 March 2009. As according to Education Act of Brunei Darussalam, children must be 6 years old on 1st January to be in Year 1. In 2009, students in year 1 must be born between 1st April 2002-31st April 20003, which make my daughter not eligible to be promoted to Year 2 next year.

Wow what a waste of time for my daughter, having to sit another year doing the same old things just because she’s been considered “under age” by the relevant authorities. As an old saying ” Melentur Buluh biarlah dari Rebungnya” that is one of my reason sending her early to school at the age of 3yrs 6 month. For me education has no age limit. The sooner they learn the better. Why have to wait to a certain age if the children could manage to cope up with the curriculum provided by the school. I really don’t foresee any problem in that. The sooner they are in school the younger they will graduate in higher institutions. Is that too much to ask for making it a reality?

Psychologically it will affect the interest going to school when the child learn that they are retain at the same level next year while most of their classmates will be promoted to another level. Sooner or later the child will felt demoralize to go to school to study. Who is to be blame here? Parents? School? How can we as parents explain to these sweet innocent little children that they are retain. Is it because they did not pass their exam? No!!!! It’s just because they are considered “Under Age”. How on earth will I find a perfect word explaining it to my daughter?

If the rules strictly applied then it would be like studying in year 1 for 2 years. Not to mention the extra school fees that needs to be paid for another ONE YEAR EXTRA! As in the web portal Ministry Of Education on SPN21 says that [No retention from Year 1 to Year 10/11 (except for those with less than 85% attendance]
well in this case I can see a retention will be implemented overriding the benefits of SPN21 as stated.

Can I make a plea to MOE to please reconsider this policy decision? If they do want to enforce it, then do it right at the beginning, i.e. schools not allowed to accept kids below a certain age to start school in the first place. It will save a lot of headache and heartache AND money.

A special thanks to a friend of mine who take his time reading thru this article. I know you know who you are. Thanks Bro.

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