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A video of an Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduate speaking out against the stigma against ITE students has been circulating online.
In the video posted on YouTube, 21-year-old Choo Hong Xuan recounted how he had come across social media postings after the recent release of the GCE O-Level results, criticising students who did not perform well.
He quoted a post in which the person said that these students ‘deserved no pity’, and should go to ITE because they refused to work hard.
Choo, devastated by the comment, stressed that there is absolutely nothing wrong with enrolling in ITE.
“I want to firmly tell all the parents and the students who scored badly that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being in (ITE).”
Choo also emphasised the inherent faults with the education system lies with unsupportive parents who are ashamed with their children or afraid of losing face when discussing their children’s academic performances with their relatives.
He reasons that this encourages students to adopt the same mindset as their parents, repeating the vicious cycle.
“You’re just mentally killing your own children and you don’t even know it yourself.”
Choo drew from his own experience, citing his mother’s shame after he was assigned to the Normal (Academic) stream instead of the Express stream, after doing badly in his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
“I was disappointed in myself also.
“She had to hide the fact that I was studying in Normal (Academic) stream by telling my relatives that I was studying in the Express stream.”
Choo also revealed that he went through a period of depression when he was in secondary school but hid his condition form his parents.
His mother also wanted him to retake his N-Level examination when he scored 20 points, but Choo just could not see himself repeating Secondary 4 again.
Fortunately, he found hope.
He told his mother firmly that he wanted to enrol in ITE.
After enrolling, he slowly improved on his studies.
Under the guidance of his dedicated teachers, Choo managed to pursue his dreams, even managing to clinch a gold at the acclaimed WorldSkills Singapore competition.
“It’s okay if you don’t go to a polytechnic or junior college (JC) right now because there will be many opportunities ahead of you. So just relax, and take your time, you know.
“But most importantly is that you really work hard for your dreams and don’t give up. Never, never give up.”