Singapore

More parents hitting up poly, JC open houses

Educators welcome move but experts caution parents from 'taking over' decision-making process

It is not just school leavers at open houses and career guidance talks at polytechnics and junior colleges this week.

With the release of the O-level results on Monday, parents are also signing up for talks, workshops and open houses this weekend and next week.

In fact, polys are tailoring sessions for parents, thousands of whom might attend.

Poly officials said only students would turn up for these sessions in previous years.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic, which has two forums for parents tomorrow, already has 500 sign-ups.

Nanyang Polytechnic, which has a forum tonight at 7pm, already has more than 1,200 sign-ups. The polytechnic in Ang Mo Kio said that last year, parents made up close to 30 per cent of those who attended open house and career talks.

Said Ngee Ann Polytechnic deputy principal Mah Wee Beng: "It is good for parents to have an understanding of what a poly education is all about and the different courses we offer."

Two parents, who took leave from work to visit the polys, said it was important for them to be involved. Mr Dennis Lim, 41, a manager, said he would like his daughter to take the JC path, but she prefers the poly route.

"So I took two days off to go with her for all the talks. I really don't have much idea about what the polys do, and what these new-fangled courses are all about. So I am going with an open mind to find out more."

Mrs Trinna Tham, 38, who is accompanying her daughter, said: "I feel this is a crucial point in my daughter's education journey and don't want her to make the wrong decision. And I am glad that the polys and JCs are catering to parents."

Teenagers are less enthusiastic about parents' involvement.

Said her daughter Anita: "My mum is coming because she is worried I will go for a soft option and pick something like communications and new media. She wants me to do something related to IT or biotechnology, which doesn't interest me."

Experts said this is an extension of "intensive parenting" that includes guiding their children through the education process. But they warned parents from taking over the "decision-making process".

Ms Cheryl Ng, principal trainer at Focus on the Family Singapore, which runs parenting programmes, said: "Parents can have an open and honest discussion with their child to understand why they want to pursue a specific course of study, and the pros and cons of the options."

But she added: "It is vital to allow room for their children to take ownership of their decisions, giving their teenagers the opportunity for growth."

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Education