Just like nearly everything else, so in our schools the have-have nots gap has become untenable and if left unchecked will become intolerable. The power of the have-nots has always been in their numbers but day to day the haves run the country mostly for their benefit from their wealth, connections and power. Occasionally they remember the less fortunate and then do something for them but not without making a big show. Very few are like Lawrence Lien an exemplary product of old wealth. None is like the late Tan Kah Kee.
My daughter is particularly envious about the facilities these independent school enjoy because she belonged to that handful of pupils who failed to get in when she ranked among the worst 12% for CL in her PSLE cohort. She still managed to get into a good school because she likely achieved near perfect scores for the other three subjects. Sometimes when we drive past one of these schools or if she sees pictures of them, they put her in a poignant mood. What she really like about these schools is very simple: aircon classrooms. Singapore has become so hot. Good thing we have a commitment to keep the city green. It would have been few degrees hotter otherwise.
MOE is asking these top schools to refrain from using their aircons. I think it is time they can contribute to the leveling up by suggesting that neighborhood schools should enjoy aircon classrooms too.
I think we should aircon all the classrooms in our schools but not turn them on all the time; only the hottest times of the day. This would teach the kids to balance between conservation and practicality. It is just dumb to try to concentrate on what the teacher is saying in an uncomfortably hot classroom. Many pupils would be distracted by the heat and some like my girl would be drowsy and sleeping. Even animals in our zoo take naps when it gets too hot.
I think MOE would be right to stop these schools from investing in new building and facilities imitating American colleges albeit on a smaller scale. On the other hand, I think they should increase funding to all secondary schools first to have their classrooms equipped with air conditioning. I think practically all school teachers and principals would also agree with me. Come on, many of them are complaining about the heat too. This place is not and never going to get cooler.