I am a Parent Volunteer (PV).
Many years ago, I remember when I heard my friend is doing parent volunteer service when she claimed she is ‘not kiasu’. I was like, seriously?
Many years later, when I am in her shoe now… I can reply, seriously!
Fortunate or unfortunately, running a school is not a cheap activity. Seems like our government has to closes down on the less populated school for economical reason. With this practice in place and the different phrases of primary school registration quota, we decided to “buy insurance”; by exchange our time for a seat in the nearest Primary School.
Side story: It still upset me that we can’t send Kpo Kia to the preschool at our cluster. For years, we need to cross 2 overhead bridges and 3 bus stops to her current childcare. While it is not too far, it is definitely inconvenient for a household with only 2 working parents. To think we registered for the infant care/childcare waiting list since I was 5 months pregnant. Kpo Kia is now 5 years old and we have not heard a sound from the preschool. Interestingly, the school claimed they do not have a slot for us as they give priority to kids with siblings in the school. But seriously? If a firstborn can’t even get into it, how did the school even fill up with kids with siblings already in it? Just Ranting.
I was sort of ‘condemn’ by quite a few people around me. Not difficult to guess that they are either still childless or have the luxury to go back to their own primary school under the old boy/girl category. They don’t understand why I made the choice, nor believe I am volunteering in a school that’s not even ‘branded’. One even told me parents should stop volunteering to ‘unfairly’ secure a seat for the kid in the school.
To be frank, I do hate the ‘unfairness’ in our education system. But is there a choice that the parents can make? I certainly do not want to ferry my dear Kpo Kia to a far far away school for the next 6 years, it is a waste of time for the kid and the parents.
But then, life is unfair. No one can deny a ‘branded’ school is more popular because of its curriculum and how is it run. That’s how the children get a better grade with the way the school is run and the superior peers who influence/force them to get a better grade. What about the children that fall into the neighborhood school due to financial or other circumstances? Is it fair to them? Nah.
So yes, it’s not fair. And yes, that’s life.
There are definitely perks in joining as ‘free labour’ doing parent volunteering for the primary school of your choice.
People like me who lost touch with the current primary school system will get to see how the school runs (on the surface level). For example, I am now aware that most of the canteen food is available at $1.20. I learned that every set meal is supposed to come with a slice of fruits. What count be the ‘difficulty’ the kids faced when it comes to recess time and what is expected from them.
I also get to know how busy is the traffic nearby every entrance of the school; and the peak timing when all the kids will be flooding into the school with their parents.
So yah… this is my 2 cents on what is parent volunteering. Ideally, I would wish that we can easily slot our kids to the nearest school like how my parents did in the 80s. But the whole ecosystem is changing so we can only accept and move on.