Jun 06, 2013

    June break packed with homework

    THE June holidays began last Saturday.

    But some children, as well as their parents, are doubtful that they will have much time to enjoy the mid-year vacation.

    Last Saturday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted a photograph of a water theme park on his Facebook and Instagram websites.

    Accompanying the photograph was the caption: "Today is the start of the June holidays. Happy holidays to all students. Enjoy yourselves, and don't do too much homework!"

    Mr Lee's Facebook post has since amassed almost 9,000 likes.

    However, students - as well as their family members - commented that they are bogged down with homework during the month-long holidays.

    Ms S. Wong, 49, told My Paper that her daughter, a Primary 3 pupil at Park View Primary School in Pasir Ris, will be kept busy doing project-based and reading assignments.

    The sales executive said that some assignments are just too tough for the kids, and they end up as the parents' work.

    Programming specialist David Tan, 41, said that his daughter, a Primary 6 pupil at Horizon Primary School, has to return to school for about six days this month for supplementary classes.

    As his daughter will be taking the Primary School Leaving Examination later this year, he said: "Having to go back to school or doing extra homework is still okay."

    St Gabriel's Secondary School student Koh Cheng Yao, 15, who is in Secondary 4, said that he has a heavier workload this June holidays. However, he called it "necessary - however tiring it may be", as he will sit his GCE O-level examination this year.

    In response to My Paper queries, the Education Ministry said that schools may make use of part of the school vacation to conduct optional remedial or enrichment classes and co-curricular activities.

    A spokesman said: "They do so after considering students' needs and the appropriateness of conducting those activities during the vacation.

    "The type and frequency of holiday activities vary from school to school."

    She also said that schools have established a homework policy to provide clearer guidance to teachers on the design of homework in recent years.

    "They are developing measures to better monitor and coordinate the amount of homework load across subjects and departments, so that the amount of homework assigned to students is effectively moderated," she said.

    Jing Shan Primary School in Ang Mo Kio Street 52 conducts enrichment classes for all of its graduating pupils on the first three days of the June holidays.

    A school spokesman said: "As the school believes that both teachers and pupils should have a holiday and spend time with their family, the homework load is lighter, compared to term time."

    A check with at least five tuition centres revealed that the holiday period is still popular with parents enrolling their children in extra tuition classes.

    Private education chain KRTC Kent Ridge Education, which has 26 tuition centres islandwide, said more Primary 6 pupils have signed up for its English and Mathematics classes this month.

    It said that the majority of its existing pupils have also signed up for additional classes. It has noted a 5 per cent increase in the number of new pupils in the last two weeks alone.