Our industry has tried to open many more routes to "success" today than was available to me when I took my 'O' Levels. Our people, however, are still locked into the view that the traditional Cambridge route is the only acceptable one.
Our ITEs still have a horrible rep among our parents and concerned constituents. This despite the makeovers these vocational institutions have undergone in recent years. As I've observed before, their campuses have facilities comparable to our current JCs. Their curricula are just as rigorous, even if the content focus is more practically tuned. If ITE students don't study they flunk out, just as students in other institutions do. Trust me, I know about this first hand -- and that was before the makeovers.
The P who "advised" her Sec 5 cohort to apply directly to ITE instead may have been insensitive in her delivery, but the real damage to the kids' morale has been done by all the people who wrote in to the press to complain how wrong she was to give such advice. As unwilling as the P seemed to give her kids a chance at the 'O's, the public is just as unwilling to give the ITE path a chance to succeed as a viable alternative route to education. Thus, instead of having more doors opened to them, all the more the kids will feel that they've been hung out to dry in a society that gives no respect to ITE grads.
We have to wonder what exactly the people who have had their gripes published in the news really want. They tear down the scholars who did well in school for not understanding the plight of their less able compatriots, but they are also tearing down the systems that at least try to do something for the underachievers as well. Perhaps mediocrity really does crave company.
Check out the comments of people who have an axe to grind here. Don't know how long the link will last, so get it while it's hot!
Looks like the argument has balanced itself a little since I last looked... a little.