20% of secondary school places to be reserved for students with no affiliation

20% of secondary school places to be reserved for students with no affiliation

Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng says on Tuesday (Mar 7) that the change, which will take effect from 2019, is to strike a balance between recognising affiliation and ensuring open access for all students.

File picture of students waiting for their GCE N-Level exam results. (Photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: From 2019, the 27 secondary schools in Singapore that offer their affiliated primary school students priority in the Secondary 1 posting exercise will have to reserve 20 per cent of their places for students with no affiliation to the school.

Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng made the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 7).

Speaking during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Mr Ng said this is to strike a balance between recognising affiliation and ensuring open access for all students.

He noted that affiliation has its educational merits. “It helps foster a strong school spirit and preserve schools’ traditions and ethos,” he said. “But notwithstanding these merits, we have to ensure that our schools are open to all students, regardless of their backgrounds or connections.”

Since the 2014 Primary 1 Registration Exercise, at least 40 places have also been set aside in every primary school for children without a prior connection to the school.

Currently, most affiliated secondary schools already admit more than 20 per cent of non-affiliate students, said Mr Ng. But this proportion can vary from year to year.

The changes take effect from the 2019 PSLE cohort.

Mr Ng also stressed that as the education system improves, the Government will continue to ensure that it remains open and inclusive, such that every child will have access to a quality education.

In response to questions from Members of Parliament about MOE’s resourcing of schools, he said that when deciding how much to resource, MOE’s focus is on the student.

“Equitable funding is not about giving every school the same resources, but taking a needs-based approach, varying our resourcing to bring out the best in every child.”

For example, he said Crest and Spectra, which are two specialised schools for students in the Normal (Technical) course, received per capita funding of about S$27,000 in FY2016, which is significantly higher than other schools.

“This funding goes towards supporting a skills-based curriculum and customised learning environments that can better position the students for subsequent studies,” said Mr Ng.

Source: CNA/lc