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School CP - July 2001
Straits Times, Singapore, 16 July 2001
Want to complain about your child's teacher? Check facts first
Some parents say teachers are not as good as before, but principals disagree this is the reason for rise in complaintsBy Sandra Davie
SOME parents who complain about teachers cite poor professional standards as the main reason they are unhappy.
Twelve out of 30 parents polled by The Straits Times said they were concerned about what they perceived to be falling teaching standards, leading them to either complain to the school or the Education Ministry.
Twenty primary and secondary schools confirmed that the number of parents expressing their dissatisfaction in this area has been on the rise.
Some principals say the rise in complaints could be because parents today are more educated and tend to be more involved in their children's schoolwork.
But parents say it is because teachers are not as good as they used to be.
Principals, however, disagree that teaching standards are falling in general.
Said Mr Edward Tay, principal of North Spring Primary: 'I don't think that is a fair statement. The younger teachers are bright and well-trained. With a few years of experience, they will be good teachers.'
Schools have several suggestions on how parents can voice their complaints in a constructive manner.
For one, parents should not take their children's account of an incident as the truth. Principals advise that parents contact the teacher in person to verify the facts.
Schools say parents are free to suggest how their child can be disciplined, but the same rules must apply to all pupils.
Said Dr Ong Teck Chin, principal of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent): 'We have corporal punishment for some serious offences. But the rules are stated clearly in the school handbook and we have to be consistent in applying them.
'If parents disagree, then they should not have put their child in this school.'
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