Education for the consumptive classesThe many parents who believe, as I do, that one of the most vital elements to their country's health is a first-class state school system may well feel a duty to send their children to state schools, even if they could afford to do otherwise. Like private medicine, private schools represent freedom of choice only to those who have always had freedom of choice - the affluent - and their continuing existence poses continuing hazards to that the state system in three ways: a) the creaming off of top teaching talents, b) the coralling of those middle-class children considered so important by state education authorities, and c) the weaning away of influential interest from state schools.Jill Tweedie
wrote this for the Guardian 34 years ago.
As a parent, I wholeheartedly agree with the above statement even though Our Kid attends a small National Plus school offering the Singapore curriculum alongside a few mandatory Indonesian components such as the outmoded, Suharto-era state philosophy, Pancasila. I make no apologies for this as the majority of his schoolmates have a mixed parentage, expat and Indonesian that is rather than meaning a mother and father.
An advert a couple of days ago in the Jakarta Post caught my eye. The CaseTrust for Education scheme has been customised specifically by CASE for the education industry in Singapore. The scheme will enhance the confidence of international students and their parents in the quality of education in Singapore
and in the schools offering the Singapore curriculum here in Indonesia. (My additional comment.)
What is CASE?
Could it be the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
?CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education. CASE also offers a variety of advancement products and services, provides standards and an ethical framework for the profession, and works with other organizations to respond to public issues of concern, while promoting the importance of education worldwide.
Well, I like the bit about 'promoting the importance of education', but it does seem to be an example of supply side economics, a throw back to the discredited notion of letting the market decide ~ donors, products
So, I thought, the Singapore CASE must be something different. And it is.
In this case, CASE
stands for the Consumers Association of Singapore. They have put in place, in association with the Singapore Education Authority
, a shoppers' charter which will give international students and their parents added assurance that the Private Education Organisations have put in place proper systems and practices to look after the welfare and interest of international students in Singapore.
The scheme is all about sound and professional financial management of student fees. Without decrying the quality of education offered by the PEOs ~ after all, they've creamed off the best teachers and have far better facilities than state-run institutions ~ I do decry the élitism implied.
ALL parents want the best for their children. What particularly worries me is that the Singapore CASE is going to atttract funds from Indonesians who aren't prepared to invest in the, admittedly poor, Indonesian education system, and who, thereby, are weakening the balance of payments of this impoverished nation.
There are good schools here and they need our support. Those parents who opt out from the Indonesian education system, fee paying or otherwise, are not only plain selfish but distinctly unpatriotic.