P1 admission: Priority given for proximity but balance needed, says MOE

P1 admission: Priority given for proximity but balance needed, says MOE

School bus
Students boarding a school bus in Singapore. (File photo: Wee Teck Hian/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: When it comes to the Primary 1 admission exercise, there is a need to balance the availability of spaces for students living near the school as well as give parents the opportunity to send their children to their alma mater or to the same school as an older sibling.

Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary said this in Parliament on Tuesday (Oct 3), in response to a question by Ang Mo Kio GRC Member of Parliament Gan Thiam Poh.

Mr Gan asked what percentage of Primary 1 school children had successfully enrolled in their parents’ alma mater, and of these, how many stayed more than 8km from the school.

Dr Janil said the number of applicants at Phase 2A(1) and Phase 2A(2) has remained “fairly stable” over the past three years. It stands at about 12 per cent of the Primary 1 cohort.

Phase 2A(1) of the admission process is for a child whose parent is either a former student who joined the school’s alumni association or for a child whose parent is a member of the school’s advisory or management committee.

Phase 2A(2) refers to the admission process for a child whose parent or sibling has studied in the primary school or whose parent is a staff member of the school.

“Out of all successful applicants at phases 2A(1) and 2A(2) in the past three Primary 1 registration exercises, less than 15 per cent stay more than 8km away from their schools. So they form less than 2 per cent of the total P1 cohort,” Dr Janil said.

“The current P1 framework does recognise the need to consider school ties and home-school distance together, as priority is given to those who live within 1km of the school followed by those who live between 1km and 2km, and then only those who live more than 2km from the school.”

But Mr Gan questioned if the ministry would review the distance criteria to ensure those who stay the closest get priority. He said some residents have experienced a situation where they could not get a place in the school of their choice despite living next to it.

To this, Dr Janil said there is always a need to balance the varying needs. He assured Mr Gan that his ministry is carefully tracking data from the Primary 1 admission exercises. 

Source: CNA/mo