IN 2005, my elder daughter sat the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) selection test when I was new to Singapore and did not even know what GEP stood for.
Along with my daughter, many other children sat the test and were selected. None of them was specially prepared for the GEP test by tuition centres.
This year, my younger daughter took the GEP test.
This time round, I found that the parents of many Primary 3 pupils had paid exorbitant prices for GEP-specific tuition programmes.
I was certain that since my elder daughter and her friends had got in without any special preparation, my younger daughter would as well.
Unfortunately, she did not get through the second round. It was painful to see her crying her heart out after learning the result.
Since then, I have been struggling with the question of whether I should have just signed her up for GEP training.
With all due respect to those extraordinary children who have been selected, I do not think I would be wrong in concluding that many in the current GEP batch are from the prepared talent pool.
What I want to know is this: Do the gifted programmes in the United States and other countries face this problem as well?
Even though the Education Ministry website says that no extra work or special preparation should be done for the GEP test, how is it that so many tuition centres publicise their programmes as GEP-specific?
How can they openly advertise their success rates when this test is supposed to focus on the innate, rather than the prepared?
Children who are equally bright but unable to afford tuition will be placed at a major disadvantage.
Is this what we want from our education system?
Chaitali Tarafdar (Mrs)