Voices

When CCA vendors benefit at parents’ expense

From

Joshua Chia

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Published: 4:13 AM, March 5, 2015

I share Madam Sek Ah Yan’s view in “Shouldn’t pricey supplementary items for school be subsidised?” (March 2).

My son is in his primary school’s badminton team. The school has engaged an external vendor to conduct the badminton co-curricular activity (CCA), which is not uncommon in schools today.

At the start of the school term, the coach gave out forms for an enrichment course, which would come at a cost and would be conducted by the coach on weekends or after school hours.

I am uncomfortable with this arrangement, as the coach may have a vested interest to encourage the pupils to sign up for the course.

Also, I am unsure whether or not the coach will let pupils who signed up have more opportunities to play in the schools tournament and pay more attention to them during the CCA period.

If the pupils are already in the school team, why is there a need for the enrichment course?

It should be targeted only at those who are not in the team and wish to learn badminton, to minimise any conflict of interest, since the same vendor is conducting the CCA.

That would also provide a level playing field for pupils in the team who did not sign up for the enrichment class for whatever reasons.

In my era, CCA enrichment programmes were uncommon or unheard of, and coaches would do their best to ensure the pupils improve their skills.

The authority should probe such arrangements where an unnecessary enrichment course may be beneficial to external coaches/vendors at the expense of parents.