No child should be denied a PSLE cert

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Various sources such as TODAY and the Straits Times reveal MOE has a 'longstanding practice' of denying original PSLE certs for children whose parents or guardians have defaulted on their wards' school fees. A copy is provided instead.

Many Singaporeans disagree with this policy as the school cert, report books, and other testimonies of a child's achievements are demonstrative of our meritocratic values. They symbolise personal progress, and the ceremony of receiving a cert of graduation from primary school plays a large part in our children's consciousnesses now.

It is therefore our view that this practice of holding back certificates be abolished, and that certs, report books, or any other low-cost items for school be made available to all children and young students regardless of monies owed or other financial and family circumstances, arrears, and challenges faced or caused by their guardians/parents. As these are small-cost items, there'd be no large implications on our state expenses, and in return, demonstrates our country's belief in equal opportunity.

We oppose to MOE's view that doing so is "educationally sound" for the child (CNA, 26 Nov 19). At their young age, their egocentric associations are still inductive, independent of external circumstances and legal contracts that surround them, and highly impressionable. They are certainly autonomous from the 'education' MOE is attempting to bestow their parents or guardians; the latter's incapacity to parent or be accountable to the public services provided has nothing to do with their children's necessary development.

We ask that MOE leaves such parents/guardians' inadequacies to the judgement of appropriate bodies such as MSF. The education of a child or young teenager isn't just formed by academic knowledge and skill; their social experiences, relationship with authorities, and other norms and expectations are why schools exist. MOE's schools should therefore only be concerned with our children's sense of self-worth, life skills, and physical and academic education.

This petition requests the removal of this longstanding policy now.