May 16, 2005

advance in technology but not quality?

Yesterday, I read with interest the report on “E-report card” (Sunday Star, May 15).

Credit should be given to the Ministry of Education (MOE) for initiating to build a comprehensive database of all primary and secondary students. Being an educator who are technology savvy, I truly support this project. Similar concept has been widely used in higher education institutions and proven to be successful.

However, there are a couple of things that MOE should look into when implementing this project.

If you ask any teachers why he or she choose to teach, the answer is most likely the same: they love to teach and want children to learn through the process. The first thing that I learned (and will always remember) during my first lecture was the mission of a learning institution.

Teachers’ job function is to ensure effective teaching and learning. As mentioned by the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng, teachers should focus more on teaching and less clerical and non-professional work.

Database entry and information updates on monthly basis are tedious work. Moreover, teachers are used to record students’ attendance, grades and co-curriculum achievements manually.

It is not clear if this implementation will transform these tasks from manual to paperless. There should not be double work whereby teachers have to upload and transfer their manual records into their individual school’s server. If these need to be done, teachers’ assistants should be appointed to do the administrative work instead.

While it is convenient for parents to check their children’s performance online, we should continue the tradition whereby parents are invited to attend schools’ Open Day to get their children’s report cards.

This is a better way to keep an excellent two-way communication between parents and teachers. With the many issues revolve around the schools, personal touch is still the ideal medium for information exchange between the two parties.

We are slowly transforming our education environment to become technology-enabled. While there are many positive changes taking place, teachers should remain focus on their core duty and build better relationship with parents to ensure effective teaching and learning.

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