How do schools decide which teachers are qualified to teach Secondary 4 classes?

By Anonymous Parent

My child from Shuqun Secondary received her Secondary 4 'O' Levels results recently. Although I didn't expect straight As or even Bs due to the fact that the school has disappointed us many times over the past 3 years, I didn't expect her overall grade to be so badly affected by what she scored for Chemistry.

I admitted my child into this particular neighborhood secondary school as I was really impressed by its former Principal. He was then succeeded by another Principal whom I began to meet more often when my child entered Secondary 3 due to various teacher-student issues in school. When I came to learn that my child's secondary 3 Chemistry teacher would be continuing to teach her when she advances to secondary 4, I highlighted to both the principal and MOE my concerns.

The teacher was largely inexperienced, yet she's being assigned the extremely important task of teaching Chemistry to a significant group of 'O' Level takers. I tried engaging a Chemistry tutor for my child but as the fees were too high, my child had to eventually contend with receiving help from friends. Despite my concerns raised to both the Principal and MOE, nothing was being done.

True enough, the general performance of ShuQun Secondary was rather unimpressive, and the class taught by this Chemistry teacher messed up pretty badly.

My concern therefore is - How does the school determine the qualifications of a teacher to teach critical secondary 4 subjects such as Chemistry? Please note this is not some optional subject. Are there any guidelines from MOE or is it purely determined by the school or solely up to the Principal's discretion?

When schools engage bad or inexperienced teachers, those who pay the price are actually the innocent students who are taking 'O' Levels and whose futures will be greatly influenced by the quality of results they achieve.

This was reproduced with permission from editors of The Real Singapore.


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