5 changes to the Singapore education system every parent needs to know

January 03, 2018
  • 1. MOE kindergarten students will get priority to enter primary school
    1 / 5 1. MOE kindergarten students will get priority to enter primary school

    Children in Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens will from next year enjoy priority to enrol in primary schools that share the same compound as their kindergartens.

    The move aims to help children better adjust to Primary 1, with more cooperation between the kindergarten and primary school.

    For instance, the kindergartens could share information on the children’s progress with the primary school teachers so that they are more aware of their pupils’ needs.

    The key role of the MOE kindergartens is to raise the standards of early childhood education. So its expanding involvement and presence in the pre-school sector is a boon to children from poorer families who have less access to good-quality education in their early years.

    A third of the kindergarten places go to children from disadvantaged homes; and priority is given to those who have a sibling studying there and who live within within 1 km of the kindergarten.

    By 2023, MOE will have 50 kindergartens, all located in neighbourhoods where there will be high demand for quality pre-schools.

    Currently, there are 15 MOE-run kindergartens, with a dozen of them co-located in primary schools.

    (Photo: The Straits Times)

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  • 2. Places in affiliated secondary school will be reserved for non-affiliated students
    2 / 5 2. Places in affiliated secondary school will be reserved for non-affiliated students

    Changes have also been made to the admissions processes from secondary to tertiary levels, in an effort by MOE to ensure greater access to all schools, and that students are not assessed solely by their grades.

    From 2019, one-fifth of places in affiliated secondary schools will be reserved for pupils with no affiliation priority. The MOE had said this is to ensure that there is open access to schools for all pupils regardless of their backgrounds or connections.

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

    Related: 7 out of 10 Singapore parents are stressed about helping their kids with exams

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  • 3. Secondary schools will be allowed to admit more students through Direct School Admission
    3 / 5 3. Secondary schools will be allowed to admit more students through Direct School Admission

    All non-Integrated Programme secondary schools will be allowed to admit up to 20 per cent of their Secondary 1 intakes under Direct School Admission (DSA).

    This applies to Primary 6 pupils from 2018 and is up from the existing 5 per cent cap for schools with distinctive programmes, and 10 per cent cap for autonomous schools.

    Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said in March that schools were scrapping the general academic ability tests they used in the DSA process, and focusing instead on identifying pupils with talent in specific domains.

    They can use a range of assessment tools, such as interviews and auditions, to admit pupils.

    In a similar vein, there is also more emphasis on holistic selection practices at tertiary institutes, which have expanded their aptitude-based admissions.

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

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  • 4. Polytechnics will be allowed to admit more students through the Early Admission Exercise
    4 / 5 4. Polytechnics will be allowed to admit more students through the Early Admission Exercise

    From 2018, the polytechnics can admit up to 15 per cent of their intakes through the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE), up from 12.5 per cent now.

    The scheme allows students to secure a place in a programme of their choice using course-specific talents and interests, before they sit the O levels or Institute of Technical Education (ITE) final examinations.

    A similar exercise known as the ITE EAE will be in place for those entering the ITE from next year. It will also be able to admit up to 15 per cent of the intake.

    Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung had said that the polytechnics had given good feedback about the scheme’s usefulness in sectors such as early childhood, nursing and social work or creative subjects, where aptitude and commitment are crucial.

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

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  • 5. Universities will be allowed to admit more students not based on grades
    5 / 5 5. Universities will be allowed to admit more students not based on grades

    From 2017, universities can also admit 15 per cent of students based on talents and strengths, up from 10 per cent previously.

    University officials have said that the increase has helped inject more diversity into their student bodies, especially in competitive faculties such as law and medicine.

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

    A version of this article first appeared on The Straits Times.

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    Singapore’s education changes won’t stop paper chase – because employers still look at grades first

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