5 questions answered on MOE kindergartens' priority admission scheme

5 questions answered on MOE kindergartens' priority admission scheme

children eating at MOE kindergarten
Children during meal time at an MOE kindergarten in Punggol View. (File photo: MCI)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Monday (Nov 27) that children attending MOE kindergartens will get priority admission to co-located primary schools.  

Under a pilot scheme, these children will be eligible for admission under Phase 2A2 during the 2018 Primary 1 registration exercise, for admission in 2019.

Previously, Phase 2A2 was reserved for children whose parents or siblings have studied in the school, and whose parents are staff members of the school.

The 12 primary schools where the kindergartens are located are Northoaks, Riverside, Punggol Green, Punggol View, Sengkang Green, Springdale, Farrer Park, Blangah Rise, Dazhong, Frontier, Westwood and West Spring. Co-located kindergartens are under the purview of the schools.

MOE answers five commonly asked questions that parents may have on the programme:

1. Why has MOE decided to accord children attending MOE kindergartens Phase 2A2 eligibility and not an earlier or later phase?

The Primary 1 registration framework balances different considerations, including convenience to parents, parental ties with the school, community involvement and proximity to home.

The purpose of including children attending MOE kindergartens in Phase 2A2 is to facilitate their transition into their co-located primary school as there are developmental benefits in doing so. Remaining in a familiar physical, social and educational environment for their primary school education will help smoothen their transition to Primary 1.

With a close partnership between the MOE kindergartens and the primary school, the latter would also be more familiar with the needs of the children attending MOE kindergartens, and can more quickly ensure that they have the necessary developmental support when they enter Primary 1.

Phase 2A2 eligibility for children attending MOE kindergartens will provide them with an earlier opportunity to apply for a Primary 1 place in the primary school with the MOE kindergartens - before the registrants in Phase 2B and 2C, who will continue to have a minimum of 40 places ensured for them.

This will balance the intent to provide some form of priority for children attending MOE kindergartens, while maintaining open access to all primary schools.

2. Will the change lead to more pressure for Primary 1 registration?

As demand situations differ from year to year, we are unable to predict the demand situation in individual schools and MOE kindergartens.

MOE kindergartens are located in areas with upcoming developments and families with young children. We expect healthy demand for these school-based MOE kindergartens as well as the primary schools in that area.

Nevertheless, the planned MOE kindergartens intake will be below that of the planned Primary 1 intake of the MOE kindergartens' primary school. The number of children attending MOE kindergartens who choose to register for the MOE kindergartens' primary school will also vary.

As part of the pilot, MOE will monitor and evaluate the admission patterns of both MOE kindergartens and primary schools.

MOE has also ensured that there are sufficient places for all the primary school-going children in these areas, regardless of the kindergarten they are from. To ensure open access to all primary schools, MOE will continue to ensure a minimum of 40 places in every primary school at Phases 2B and 2C.

3. Is the change intended to boost enrolment for MOE kindergartens?

This move was not implemented to boost enrolment. MOE has seen and continues to expect a healthy demand for MOE kindergartens, especially those located in estates with young families.

4. Does the Phase 2A2 eligibility for children attending MOE kindergartens mean that children not attending MOE kindergartens will be disadvantaged? Will there be additional Primary 1 places available for these primary schools?

The number of Primary 1 places available at subsequent phases depends on the number of children admitted in earlier phases, ie. Phases 1 and 2A.

Nevertheless, MOE is committed to ensuring continued open access to all primary schools, and a minimum of 40 places will still be ensured for Phases 2B and 2C in all schools.

While not everyone can be admitted to their preferred choice school, MOE ensures that there are sufficient school places on a regional basis so that no child will have to travel long distances to his or her primary school.

The new phase 2A2 eligibility for children attending MOE kindergartens will not apply to primary schools that do not have MOE kindergartens.

5. Why are children from private kindergartens (affiliated to or co-located with a primary school) not accorded Phase 2A2 eligibility as well?

Phase 2A2 eligibility is accorded to only children attending MOE kindergartens as the MOE kindergartens are under the direct purview of their primary school, with the Centre Head at MOE Kindergartens reporting to the Principal.

This arrangement allows the school to be in a better position to support the children coming from the MOE kindergartens. Remaining in a familiar physical, social and educational environment for their primary school education will help smoothen their transition to Primary 1.

There is curricular and pedagogical continuity between the MOE kindergartens and the primary school, given the professional exchanges between MOE kindergartens and primary school educators about pre-school and lower primary curricula, pedagogies and assessment.

Private kindergartens do not have similar structural or organisational arrangements.

Source: CNA/kc