If you were to do a quick check among Singaporean parents today, you may have heard of tales and tactics about how they suddenly enroll themselves as caring volunteers in a school or in extreme cases, buy a second house closer to the desired school just so that their kids can be admitted in it.
For the not-so-well-off Singaporeans, they may also use a relative's address to gain their child an advantage for school admission.
While these methods are not illegal, are they really necessary? Is an entry to these seemingly prestigious schools really worth all that effort?
Here GET.com examines the pros and cons of prestigious schools so that you can decide what is better for your own situation.
Perhaps parents hold on to the belief that a good head-start in life is of utter importance. But really, if your child is a late bloomer, he may not be performing at his best if his current developmental stage is not suitable to adapt to the curriculum at his school.
If a child is struggling in school, he/she may become withdrawn and lose interest in studying. Further private tutoring to get him "back on track" may do more harm as it can escalate his breaking point due to plain exhaustion.
Another point to note is how this chase of elite-school admission is impacting the school environment. It creates a setting where social classes are made more prominent in the case of parent volunteers.
As schools will want to take in volunteers who can contribute more to the schools, the richer parents who hold jobs as professionals may gain a better chance than parents who are holding blue-collar jobs.
Thus, it is not difficult to see a higher proportion of richer kids in these 'good' schools and what results is a dent in the meritocratic system which we value so much.
Can you afford the piano lessons for your child if he wants to have the same experiences as his classmates? Can your child hang out with his classmates at the same (expensive) places after school? Or buy the same branded school bags? Get the same amount of pocket money? Do you want your child to grow up in this environment of constant comparison?
We can see the ranking of a school but it cannot be used to assess the abilities and attitudes of its teachers.
There is no system that says that teachers in more prestigious schools teach better than those in neighborhood schools.
Indeed, if the students in these elite schools do well, could it be because they have better resources (more money for tuition) at home to help them cope with their studies?
On the parents' side of things, going to great lengths to get your child into a top school may also put unnecessary pressure onto yourself.
What the good schools "encourage" from parents' participation may greatly differ from the neighborhood schools: the former may prefer a parent who can donate $10,000 easily to a fund-raising event whereas the latter may be extremely grateful to another parent who can sponsor some home-made snacks at a school event.
With a professional job which is already demanding on you emotionally and mentally, the last thing you want is to feel obligated to give up your precious time to attending school events.
At the end of the day, you have to come up to your own answer to the question: "Is it worth it?" If you and your child have the means, then go for it. But if not, family support to a child is perhaps a more crucial aid in his early days as a student.
If you are interested in furthering your child's education here are 10 free online classes to take their smartness the next level.