Sunday, December 25, 2011

He regrets wasting his second chance

HE WAS once demoted, but his school took a chance on him and promoted him to Primary 6 earlier this year.

Unfortunately, he didn't live up to his school's faith in him. He played truant and even broke the law.

As a result, he received an aggregate score of just 79 for his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) last week.

Daniel (not his real name), 13, scored a Grade 4 in Foundation Malay, and an "ungraded" for Foundation English, Foundation Mathematics and Foundation Science.

We are not naming the boy to protect his identity.

He skipped school about once a week, spending his time playing in the void deck.

He also ran away from home in May and was caught stealing a bicycle at a void deck that same month.

He was supposed to be in court in September, but he ran away from home again and missed the appointment.

During the two weeks he was away from home, he also skipped school.

When the police found Daniel again, he was kept in remand at the Singapore Boys' Home for about a month.

It was during his stay there that he took his PSLE written exams.

Said Daniel: "They were very hard. There were many questions I didn't know, and I left them blank.

'No mood to study'
"At the Boys' Home, I wasn't in the mood to study."

In October, he pleaded guilty to theft and was placed on probation for 21 months.

He was also sent to live in a children's home for part of the probation period.

He said he regretted stealing the bicycle.

"It created so much trouble for me," said Daniel.

Referring to his results, he said: "I'm not stupid. I could have done better.

"If I didn't take the bicycle, I would not be in a children's home now."

While Daniel's parents are not active in his upbringing, his aunt, who used to take care of him, wasdevastated to learn that he had been sent to the Boys' Home.

She said: "I tried to teach him, but he didn't listen and ran away. I was so worried for him.

"I hope he has learnt his lesson."

With Daniel's grades, he qualifies to attend NorthLight School, a vocational school meant for students who have attempted the PSLE and are unable to make it to secondary school.

There, he can graduate with a certificate in electrical servicing, mechanical servicing, food and preparation, or retail operations.

Daniel told TNP his story hoping that other students will not follow in his footsteps.

He said: "I hope to do better in the future."

Queries to Daniel's school went unanswered.

But the home he is in is confident of rehabilitating him. Its deputy superintendent told TNP that Daniel will be tutored for his studies and the home will help him to turn over a new leaf.

The New Paper | Thu Dec 1 2011

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