Crest student lost sight of studies to care for ailing mum but makes it to ITE to study social work

SINGAPORE – Crest Secondary student Nurashikin Mohd Noor, 18, had a patchy school attendance record for years because she often stayed home to take care of her ailing mum.

A single child whose father died when she was three, Ms Nurashikin found it difficult to focus on her studies and since her primary school days, felt that her main duty was to take care of her mum, who had diabetes and also suffered a stroke.

Even passing her PSLE exams was a struggle but somehow she made it to a secondary school of her choice but was barely able to juggle the demands of school with the need to care for her mum.

She said: “It was just the two of us, so my main priority was to spend time with her. I lost all motivation to study, and although I still passed lower secondary overall, I was not interested in my grades at all.”

During her secondary school years, she switched schools twice, and had to repeat Secondary 3 after missing almost an entire year’s lessons.

Her mother died last year (2020) from complications from her illnesses, and Ms Nurashikin is now staying in accommodation run by a welfare agency.

After her mother’s death, the shy and soft-spoken teen took a long time to come to grips with the grief.

Finally, she decided last year to resume attending classes regularly at Crest – a specialised secondary school for Normal (Technical) students.

Teachers and classmates at the school were supportive, she said, and she got an award for her results during the Industry Experiential Programme this year.

Ms Nurashikin said she now has her sights set on becoming a social worker – to help others like her who are in need – after all the support she has received through the years from welfare agencies.

She has already received an offer to pursue a Nitec in Community Care and Social Services through the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) early admissions exercise, which assesses students’ aptitude and non-academic qualities.

On Friday (Dec 17), she received her results, achieving a grade point average of 3.58 out of 4 – equivalent to an A and two Bs at Normal (Technical) level.

Ms Nurashikin said: “I think my mum would have been proud of me for finishing the N-levels. I think she would have been happy.”

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