P1 admission in Singapore: Priority for home-school distance or alumni?

What do you feel parents? Home-school distance or alumni - what should be given greater priority in P1 admission?

When it comes to Primary 1 admission in Singapore, what gets greater priority - proximity to school or one's school ties?

This was the question put forth by Ang Mo Kio GRC Member of Parliament Gan Thiam Poh.

According to Channel NewsAsia, Mr. Gan expressed concern that some Singapore residents could not get a place in the school of their choice despite living next to it. He also questioned if the MOE would review the distance criteria to ensure those who stay the closest get priority.

Currently, phases for primary school admission in Singapore are arranged in the following priority:

  • Phase 1: Sibling currently studying in school
  • Phase 2A(1): Parent of the child is either a former student who joined the school’s alumni association or a member of the school’s advisory or management committee.
  • Phase 2A(2): For a child whose parent or sibling has studied in the primary school or whose parent is a staff member of the school.

In response, Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary clarified in Parliament that there was a need to balance the 2 sides, "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 1 km and 2 km, and then only those who live more than 2 km from the school.”

However, he opined that apart from giving those staying close to the school greater priority, it was also important to give parents the opportunity to send their children to their alma mater or to the same school as an older sibling.

Dr. Janil revealed that the number of applicants who enrolled through Phase 2A(1) and Phase 2A(2) stands at about 12 % of the Primary 1 cohort, a figure that has remained stable over the past 3 years.

He also clarified that, "Out of all successful applicants at phases 2A(1) and 2A(2) in the past three Primary 1 registration exercises, less than 15 % stay more than 8 km away from their schools. So they form less than 2 % of the total P1 cohort.”

He however assured that the MOE was assessing data from the Primary 1 admission exercises.

A Singaporean mummy, however, offers a different perspective, "Many schools have a rich heritage and culture and some of them have been around for over a 100 years."

"To say that proximity might take precedence over the alma mater is unfair and discrediting the school culture we want to preserve. Generations of alumni have contributed money for facilities and events in these schools."

"By making it all about 1 to 2 km proximity, it's not making it fair in any way."

What do you feel parents? Who should be given the upper hand when it comes to P1 admission priority? Those living close to the school or those with close school ties? Let us know in the poll below!

Also READ: Preparing your child for success in Primary 1

(Source: Channel NewsAsia)