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SCHOOLS ORGANIZING EXOTIC TRIPS COSTING PARENTS AN ARM AND A LEG

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SCHOOLS ORGANIZING EXOTIC TRIPS COSTING PARENTS AN ARM AND A LEG

Post by Darkmen on Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:39 pm

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I have three daughters, all of whom are either present or former students of a well-known independent school.

While I agree with the intent behind overseas educational trips (“Travel agents ride school-trip wagon”; last Sunday), I do not think it is necessary for primary school pupils to go on them. Neither is it useful for students to go on expensive trips to Europe, the United States or Australia, or trips that do not have a well-thoughtout agenda.

When my eldest girl was in Secondary 3, she hankered to go on an educational trip to Italy based on the “fashion” theme. We could not afford the $3,500 needed for the trip, and even if we could, I did not think it was a worthwhile trip to sponsor.

My daughter was devastated because a few of her friends had signed up for the trip, and I had a hard time explaining to her our financial situation and why I did not agree to spend money on a theme she was not mature enough to appreciate.

When my second daughter was in Secondary 2, her whole cohort of about 200 girls was supposed to go to Cambodia to help build a library for underprivileged children.

I had to write a letter to the school explaining why I did not support her trip – I did not believe 14- and 15-year-olds would be able to build a library in three days, and there was no follow-through programme, so they would quickly forget about the poverty they had witnessed.

When my youngest girl was in Primary 5, her school organised trips to places such as Hangzhou, South Korea and Vietnam. Fortunately, she was not interested in these trips.

Educational journeys can be had within Singapore and in our neighbouring countries, and these should not cost parents an arm and a leg.

Those who can afford it can always send their children to farther destinations at their own expense; the schools need not organise exotic trips for them.

If students want to learn about foreign cultures, they should start with trips to nearby countries.

If the schools want them to learn about charity, start them out at a neighbourhood old folk’s home, orphanage or home for disabled people. It would be more meaningful for students to make repeat visits or take up long-term charity projects.

I urge schools to think through the objectives of their overseas trips more carefully, and not get caught up in the “me too” frenzy of showing they can send their students at a younger age to farther destinations than other schools can.



Goh Phuay Yee
* Letter first appeared in ST Forum (25 Aug)
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Darkmen
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