I was one of the happy parents of a son who scored 7 ‘O’s in the Brunei Cambridge GCE ‘O’ Level and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) October/November 2021. The next obvious step was for him to study for the ‘A’ Levels and so we headed to one of the Sixth Form Centres for registration.
I was pleased to know that there would also be teachers to provide consultation of subjects tailoring to the students’ needs based on the results and towards their career path.
Since my son’s interest is more to Islamic studies we decided to choose two subjects relating to the field and one supporting English subject – apparently to help him get into a university according to one of the student counsellors. My son achieved an ‘A’ grade for History and naturally that was our first choice. To my utter disappointment, the subject consultant we spoke to rejected our application citing that my son will struggle throughout his studies as History requires a strong command of the English Language with the exams based on an essay format.
He even had the audacity to say that my son’s achievement in scoring an ‘A’ was based solely on memorisation and doesn’t reflect my son’s actual ability of comprehending the subject.
I was taken aback by his statement and pointed out that my son earned the distinction because he loves the subject and had studied hard enough to get the grade. Refusing to be humiliated further, we moved on to the next subject consultant who was more accommodating and gave strong words of encouragement to my son, who at that point, was slowly losing interest after listening to what the previous consultant had said.
From what I understand, subject consultants are there to guide students and not to look down on their learning abilities.
Even if it is not advisable for my son to take that subject, there are other subtle and amicable ways of relaying the message, not by condescending means.