SINGAPORE: Children attending Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens located within primary school compounds will get higher priority in entering these schools, MOE announced on Monday (Nov 27).
Under the pilot programme, these children will be eligible under Phase 2A2 starting from the 2018 Primary 1 registration exercise, for admission in 2019.
Previously, Phase 2A2 was only 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. (FAQs about the announcement here.)
BENEFITS IN TRANSITIONING
Currently, about half of the children who attend these MOE kindergartens register to enter co-located primary schools, the ministry said during a media briefing held at its headquarters in Buona Vista on Monday.
MOE said that it has received feedback from teachers and parents on the benefits of moving on to a co-located primary school. Remaining in a familiar physical, social and educational environment helps to smoothen their move to Primary 1, a spokesman said.
Speaking to the media after the briefing, Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said: “In this environment we hope to enable a smoother learning journey, a more familiar environment where they have older primary school kids who look after them.”
MOE, which has been operating kindergartens for about four years, currently has 15 kindergartens. The remaining three are in community sites and will eventually be relocated to primary schools.
At the National Day Rally this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that MOE will increase the number of its kindergartens to 50 by 2023. MOE said all new kindergartens will be co-located in primary schools.
Among factors that give children priority in admission to MOE kindergartens are being Singaporean siblings of K1 children studying in the kindergarten in the year of registration, living nearby and coming from a particular income bracket.
Currently, the kindergartens take in 60 to 120 children in the K1 level.
When asked why private kindergartens which are affiliated to or co-located with a primary school do not enjoy the higher priority, MOE said: "Because there's the 2A2 priority, it is only right that, if we want the kindergarten to benefit from this, then MOE also has some oversight over the admission into the kindergarten."
SPACES FOR ALL CHILDREN
The ministry, however, assured parents that it will continue to set aside a minimum of 40 places for Phase 2B and 2C, which include children whose parents are school volunteers and children who have not yet registered in a primary school.
It added that there are sufficient primary school places on a regional basis so that no child will have to travel a long distance to get to school.
When asked if the scheme will lead to added stress for parents, Mr Ng said he does not believe so as the overall supply of school places remains the same.
“The supply remains the same, the overall demand in a specific location will be roughly the same. it is now a matter of managing the stages of demand and supply," he said.