Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FAQ on "PSG web site" and PSG Status as last spotted

This FAQ is to answer all your queries related to "PSG web site" etc:
  • Q: Is this forum run by PSG ? / Is this the PSG web site ?
    A: No. This is run by parents who have nothing better to do :)
    Jokes aside, we welcome PSG too to join this effort by posting articles/comments here and helping to keep parents informed. But so far we have not been contacted by PSG, neither for QT nor EC.
  • Q: Is this the "fake PSG website" ?
    A: No. We are neither fake, nor PSG ! We know why you are asking, we hope it was just a case of mistaken identity.
  • Q: What is PSG ?
    A: Parent Support Group (easy!)
  • Q: How can I join PSG ?
    A: Please ask PSG, not us. We are unable to comment on who is welcome to join PSG and who is not, or how you could join. Meanwhile, if you have constructive feedback, or new ideas, you are welcome to join us! (No benefits, just hard work).
  • Q: Is this the GIIS Petition web site ?
    A: No. Sorry to disappoint you, no juicy bits here !
  • Q: How do I find out more about PSG ?
    A: Again, please ask PSG, not us. Alright, the status is visible on MYGIIS... but then it has not been updated (for QT PSG) for the last two years ! (Regarding EC, we understand that there is no update worth mentioning).
    PSG QT/EC: Please correct us if we made any mistake on any of these.
    The main activity as last heard from PSG QueensTown this year (2007) was classwise parents meetings. However the outcomes (if any) are not known to any parent.
    Status of PSG (QT) as on MYGIIS at present (last updated October 2005) still shows many issues open (reproduced below for your reference):

Open feedback items - General



School`s Response
1. 21-Oct-2005 Teacher movement Due to high turnaround of teachers brings about
lack of continuity of the subjects etc.
Mr. Nandakumar assured that no teacher will be
leaving in the middle of the next academic year unless they
are moving out of Singapore
2. 21-Oct-2005 My BIIS - Worksheets Teachers are requested to upload the worksheets
on to the website more regularly and promptly.
point taken. 2
3. 21-Oct-2005 My BIIS - Email Some teachers do not respond to the e-mails, as
some parents have send mails on important issues the mail was
point taken. 2
4. 21-Oct-2005 Lesson Planning and Pace There should be a Lesson Plan for a class as a
whole. Section teachers may lead or lag w.r.t the plan to
some extent depending on the class pace, but a plan in place
will provide some uniformity. The speed of teaching and
amount of homework needs to be distributed more uniformly
across the term. This lead or lag result in rushing thru the
portions or deleting a few chapters towards the tail
Teachers are expected to complete the portions
1 week before exams and use the last week for revision. As
for the uniformity in teaching pace, school's reply is
5. 21-Oct-2005 House activities and other
More advance notification is required and
criteria of selection must be made transparent.

6. 21-Oct-2005 MY BIIS Practice papers to be posted in the website of

7. 21-Oct-2005 Teachers needs to motivate children and encourage them
in the class if they are good in– academic, sports, Mannerism

8. 21-Oct-2005 PTM School to ensure all the teachers are available
during PTMs. In unavoidable circumstances, parents be
informed in advance about the unavailability of a
Point Noted. Starting from the PTM scheduled in
May'06, any teacher not available , due to unavoidable
circumstances, the parents shall be given prior intimation
and alternative arrangement will be made.
9. 21-Oct-2005 Projects More project work to be included. Projects
should not be done with the sole aim of putting up a poster.
An instance where the project work was handed over to the
teacher but was immediately handed back to the children was
brought up. This reduced the child's motivation to do a good
job on the subsequent project. Suggestion: Teachers should
“accept” the work and comment on it, and explain how things
can be improved. Children should be given a chance to present
their work and explain it, talk about it. Projects can
preferably be done at school (and not by parents at home!)
and don't have to be graded.


1 - Raised with school - awaiting response
2 - Agreed by school - awaiting implementation
3 - Under implementation

Open feedback items - std 8 to 10


School`s Response

1. 21-Oct-2005 Preparation for Board Exams Parents feel the need for better quality of
preparation of kids once they reach the secondary school.
Parents request exam oriented extra-coaching on the CBSE
A new scheme 'Brilliant Global' has been
launched, in a tie-up with Brilliants Tutorials of India.
Students who would like to take advantage can enrol for the
2. 21-Oct-2005 Career Counseling Parents are worried and feel insecure about
their child’s future especially university admissions due to
lack of career counseling as against other international
The school is taking up this issue and
introducing more guest talks by people from various field.
However, the school shall take a discretionary call on who
the audience should be for the talks, as premature exposure
to the variety of fields may cause confusion.
3. 21-Oct-2005 Lack of Challenging Environment for
The children are not challenged enough due to
the range of performance in a given class. If this is not
arrested, a good student will either become mediocre or even
join the below average band wagon.
With an increase in the number of sections and
a wider gamet of students joining, the competition is
becoming more noticeable and the challenge is higher.
4. 21-Oct-2005 Marking by Teachers Parents commented on the different marking
styles of teachers. At times the students are not aware of
the teacher’s expectation for answering a question.

5. 21-Oct-2005 Punishments Some teachers make the student stand outside
the class as punishment due to which the student misses the
entire lesson. Parents want teachers to be able to motivate
them towards the subject and not pose as strict taskmasters
such that they lose interest in the subject.
This punishment is being done away with.
However, the parents have to play a crucial role in ensuring
that basic discipline is not violated. Parents should
appreciate the fact that teachers use punishment as one of
the last options.
6. 21-Oct-2005 Hindi Hindi needs to be taught in a clearer &
simpler way. Non Hindi speaking students find it difficult to
understand as the teacher uses very high level of Hindi to
talk to the children.

7. 21-Oct-2005 Academics For topics which are not covered in detail in
the text books, teachers are requested to give extra notes or
reference material that are easily accessible in

8. 21-Oct-2005 Academics Many a times , enough practice worksheets ,
especially for science and maths, are not provided and the
students work are not corrected by the teachers.

9. 21-Oct-2005 Maths Teachers to motivate children,pose tough
challenging problems and guide them in solving the same.
In general, 10 to 15% of the questions carry a
challenge for brighter children.
10. 21-Oct-2005 Personal Remarks by Teachers It has been found that a few teachers have been
passing personal remarks at the students which are very
shameful & demotivating for the students. Teachers need
to be counselled & trained to handle teenage
Whatever instances have been brought to the
notice of the school, has been attended to. Additionally,
teachers are also counselled repeatedly on this.
11. 21-Oct-2005 Principal’s involvement Principal should have direct discussions with
the students once a month to find out what issues they have
regarding studies. Even a pep talk will motivate the children
because it was found that the students listen to the
principal more than the teachers. Principal talking to
students about board exams at regular intervals will make the
children more clear and serious about their preparations.
This is done for std 10 onwards. Pep talks are
also given by the vice-principal and IB Co-ordinator.
12. 21-Oct-2005 Aptitude Test Some aptitude test will help the students to
choose the right system.


1 - Raised with school - awaiting response
2 - Agreed by school - awaiting implementation
3 - Under implementation

Open feedback items - std 4 to 7




School`s Response
1. 21-Oct-2005 Hands-On Labs GIIS Vis-a-Vis local or other international
schools, does not give enough exposure to hands-on lab
activity for students of this level. What will it take to
give proper lab exposure to kids?
Hands-on & lab exposure is increased and is
now adequate, as prescribed by CBSE.
2. 21-Oct-2005 Science Fair Request for a Science Fair where children
exhibit the science projects they have worked on over the
whole year (should be realistic, not just to showcase).
School is looking into the feasibility. It
shall be planned and executed as found appropriate.
3. 21-Oct-2005 Field Trips Parents appreciated the trip to the New Water
plant. More field trips are needed. Some parents have
volunteered to help. Suggestion: field trip-linked projects
can be undertaken by children, whereby they complete the
project work during the trip itself and turn it in on the
same day. Field trips need not be strictly related to
curriculum, e.g. A trip to the Fire Station.
Noted. 2
4. 21-Oct-2005 Answering Exam Questions The students often write incomplete short
answers where more points are expected. When that happens,
teachers are seen to just mark a “?” on the margin of answer
sheets, and sometimes not even that. This does not give the
student enough indication as to why his/her answer is
incomplete, or how to write a better answer. Some attention
is needed on this aspect.

5. 21-Oct-2005 Homework and WorkSheets Teachers should co-ordinate among each other so
that homework load is evenly distributed throughout the
Being attended to. 2
6. 21-Oct-2005 Homework and WorkSheets Lot more drill is needed in Mathematics. There
should be sufficient emphasis on the concept (as is now), but
followed by a lot more drill worksheets.
A scheme is in progress. 2
7. 21-Oct-2005 Checking of Homework This is apparently an issue with the teachers
as class size is big. Suggestion: teacher can enlist help of
students (using a swapping scheme) to get the whole class's
homework checked in a short time. She just needs to explain
the correct answers and provide corrective guidance for the
wrong answers.
The teachers are advised to ensure prompt
correction and the same is being sample checked by the
8. 21-Oct-2005 Biology power point based teaching method looks
interesting. This can be encouraged by school and practised
more widely.


1 - Raised with school - awaiting response
2 - Agreed by school - awaiting implementation
3 - Under implementation

Open feedback items - std 1 to 3




School`s Response

1. 21-Oct-2005 Teacher movement A lot of primary school teachers were leaving
or were moved to east coast campus before the academic year
With the exception of couple of teachers moving
to and from the East Coast campus and a couple of teachers
returning from their long leave, there will not be changes or
movement of teachers, unless and until the teacher is
relocating from Singapore.
2. 21-Oct-2005 Practical Approach The teaching strategy is very bookish. More
field trips to be organised for a practical learning
Point taken. 2
3. 21-Oct-2005 Reading Skills More emphasis be given on improving reading
Reading corner is being implemented for stds 1
and 2.
4. 21-Oct-2005 Personality Improvement Personality improvement activities to be
introduced in the classrooms.

5. 21-Oct-2005 Hindi the portions are vast and covered at a pace in
which children are unable to cope. More exercises and
practices be given. Emphasis not given on understanding of
the subject.
A parallel to English Learning teachniques
shall be implemented for Hindi and Tamil too.
6. 21-Oct-2005 Class Teacher Class Teacher to act as point of contact for
other subject teachers as well. As a class teacher must spend
more time with the children, as compared to the other subject
teachers, it was suggested that the class teacher be alloted
more than one (academic or non-academic) subject.
Point taken. 2
7. 21-Oct-2005 Correction of books Teachers to not overlook the punctuation
mistakes in the notebooks & emphasize on them in the
class so the child not repeat mistakes.
Point taken. 2
8. 21-Oct-2005 Communication diary a better way to communicate as there have
been instances where the teachers failed to respond to
point taken. Will be implemented at the
9. 21-Oct-2005 Home work Homework not summarized in the diary. The
teachers to write h.w. On the right hand corner of the board
and leave it there for the rest of the day. Other teachers to
remind the children to note their h.w.
This shall be implemented for lower classes
10. 21-Oct-2005 Teaching of Maths Teaching methods not effective in communicating
concept level fundamentals. More time to be spent on word
problems so the children understand the basic concepts.
point taken. 2
11. 21-Oct-2005 Music Class Songs other than reliogious bhajans also need
to be taught during compulsory music classes.
point taken. 2
12. 21-Oct-2005 Teachers Attitude Teacher to notify the concerned parents’ about
the child’s behaviour immediately and not wait for any formal
meetings like PTM.
point taken. 2
13. 21-Oct-2005 The Timetable As a system, the teachers will have to specify
which books are to be carried on which day.
point taken. 2
14. 21-Oct-2005 Activities in Primary class A lot of activities were taken up but not
followed through.
All activities / projects & their follow up
will be planned in a more structured manner. Ms. Deepashree
will work on providing the students with framework for
writing their book reviews.
15. 21-Oct-2005 Unattended Classes Children complain of class being left
unattended in between classes

16. 21-Oct-2005 Interaction with teachers Teachers to be more interactive with the kids
and encourage them to interact with teachers.

17. 21-Oct-2005 Participation in Activities Teachers to identify shy children and encourage
them to participate in activities and ensure the all round
development of such children.

18. 21-Oct-2005 Heavy School Bags Cupboard space to be used effectively. No
notebooks be sent home. Implement weight guidelines.
The school is piloting a QCC procedure for this
issue. The pilot run will be done on class 3. Some Class 3
parents have received communication to this effect. The
result of this activity will be known in 5 to 6 weeks and
thereafter, the same shall be applied for other classes
19. 21-Oct-2005 IT Communicate to parents about what is being
covered in the IT class.
For primary classes, the concenteration of IT
is on familiarizing the children with computers, increasing
their comfort level in using the same, and as they go to
higher classes , they are trained to use some basic word
processing and presentation tools. The syllabus is as per the
prescribed textbook.

1 - Raised with school - awaiting response
2 - Agreed by school - awaiting implementation
3 - Under implementation

Sunday, December 16, 2007

HOW TO BE A TOP SCHOOL....(McKinsey's study)

[ The praise this article showers on Singapore schools, applies to the MOE-controlled schools of Singapore. GIIS, though situated in Singapore, is not an MOE school. ]
Please visit our HOME PAGE

Highlights from an article in The Economist, Oct 18th 2007. Article link:

" ...England and Wales are not alone. Australia has almost tripled education spending per student since 1970. No improvement. American spending has almost doubled since 1980 and class sizes are the lowest ever. Again, nothing. ..... To misquote Woody Allen, those who can't do, teach; those who can't teach, run the schools.

... There are big variations in educational standards between countries. .... the best performing countries do much better than the worst....the same countries head such league tables again and again: Canada, Finland, Japan, Singapore, South Korea.

Those findings raise what ought to be a fruitful question: what do the successful lot have in common? ... Not more money. Singapore spends less per student than most. Nor more study time. Finnish students begin school later, and study fewer hours, than in other rich countries.

... Schools, need to do three things: get the best teachers; get the best out of teachers; and step in when pupils start to lag behind.

... if you take pupils of average ability and give them to teachers deemed in the top fifth of the profession, they end up in the top 10% of student performers; if you give them to teachers from thebottom fifth, they end up at the bottom. The quality of teachers affects student performance more than anything else.

McKinsey argues that the best performing education systems nevertheless manage to attract the best. In Finland all new teachers must have a master's degree. South Korea recruits primary-school teachers from the top 5% of graduates, Singapore and Hong Kong from the top 30%.

.... the top performers pay no more than average salaries !

...Nor do they try to encourage a big pool of trainees and select the most successful. Almost the opposite. Singapore screens candidates with a fine mesh before teacher training and accepts only the number for which there are places. Once in, candidates are employed by the education ministry and more or less guaranteed a job. Finland also limits the supply of teacher-training places to demand. In both countries, teaching is a high-status profession (because it is fiercely competitive) and there are generous funds for each trainee teacher ...

South Korea shows ... that teacher training needs to be hard to get into, not easy.... Singapore provides teachers with 100 hours of training a year ...

But there is a pattern in what countries do once pupils and schools start to fail. The top performers intervene early and often.... Singapore provides extra classes for the bottom 20% of students and teachers are expected to stay behind--often for hours--after school to help students.

McKinsey's conclusions seem more optimistic: getting good teachers depends on how you select and train them; teaching can become a career choice for top graduates without paying a fortune; and that, with the right policies, schools and pupils are not doomed to lag behind.

(Original article at )

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Results of Poll#2. Pricing of textbooks and notebooks

Poll: 99% polled, mention excessive mark up. Loudly and clearly spoken ! Not to be ignored by GIIS any more.

A particularly relevant comment among many comments received on 14 Nov 2007:

"Without wishing to hurt the author of this post,I want to point out that the very assumption that there should be a 'mark up' is wrong.You perhaps do not know that schools, especially big ones with more than 800 students get 20-25% off the listed price from all publishers; some offer 15%. This concession should more than offset the cost of freight by container!A good job on the calculator will tell you that the school can give it to at cost or at best 5% more. Or else, let the school declare that ' book shop' is a profit centre and we will accept it.Also, we are we not talking about notebooks/copies here. You can get better quality, branded notebooks at 40% of the cost at Popular book store. The PSG has been doing a good job by selling second hand books for the last few years."

We request GIIS to:

* Urgently publish the book list for Year 2008 ASAP.

Many families are travelling to India for the break; they can choose to buy there at cost.

* Permit use of local notebooks ('Popular' etc) - cheaper and better

Higher quality at lower price - why not? For standardisation, school can make brown paper wrapping and GIIS sticker mandatory. Sell only special notebooks (2 line, 4 line etc).

Parents: Please email this page to the principal of your campus before Friday for urgent action. If you do not wish for individual reply, you may fill the 'Sender' address as parentingstuff DOT(.) letters1 AT (@) blogger DOT (.) com instead of your own address. For help: how to send a page as email.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Improvements Seen

School is making some improvements, thanks to parents feedback reported here. The credit goes equally to us parents and school authorities for taking action.

  • QT canteen: After our feedback about canteen area, now separate queues are in place.
  • Re: frequent change of teachers. After strong feedback, Std X and Std XII of QT campus are being maintained with full set of teachers despite a loss of about 20 teachers from QT. This is being welcomed by parents, as Std X and XII are very critical.

If you have other improvements to report, please add to comments by clicking the link below.