GIFTED EDUCATION

SELECTION BIAS IN GIFTED EDUCATION PROGRAMME?

27 Dec 1994


        I refer to the report Ministry Reviewing Gifted Education 
Programme (ST Weekly Edition, Nov 12).
        In the report, the Minister for Education, Mr Lee Yock Suan, 
revealed that it "so happened" that there were "at least" two boys to 
one girl in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP). I am flabbergasted 
by the blasÈ attitude of the Ministry towards this grossly unequal 
situation.
        Unless we accept the patently false premise that girls are less 
gifted than boys, the inescapable conclusion of the gender imbalance in 
the GEP is that the selection criteria are biased against girls. The 
unfortunate exclusion of qualified girls from the GEP because of 
selection bias constitutes a loss - both to the girls and to Singapore - in 
terms of educational opportunities missed and the sub-optimal 
management of our human resource.
        The Ministry should examine closely the GEP selection 
process and remove all bias. The selection criteria should be published - 
there is no reason why it should be secret - to reassure the public that 
all our children have the same opportunity of entering the GEP.


Updated on July 1996 by Tan Chong Kee.
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