SINGAPORE — The number of Primary 1 places in Phase 2C, reserved for children with no ties to a school, will double from 20 to 40, starting from next year's Primary 1 registration exercise.
Phase 2B, for children of parent volunteers or parents affiliated to a related church or clan, will continue to have 20 reserved places. This means a total of 60 reserved places will be set aside in all schools, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a statement on Thursday (9 September)
Meanwhile, Phase 2A1, which prioritises parents who are alumni of the school or are members of the school advisory or management committee, and Phase 2A2, for children whose parents or siblings previously studied in the school or whose parents are staff members, will be combined into a single Phase 2A.
In addition, one-third of any remaining vacancies at the end of Phase 2A2 will be allocated to Phase 2B, and two-thirds to Phase 2C.
Alluding to the March 2021 Committee of Supply (COS) debate, the ministry noted that it had revealed the Primary One (P1) Registration Framework was being reviewed to help more children obtain a place in a school near their home in Phase 2C. "We undertook this review carefully to balance the competing needs of other children. The review is now complete with (the upcoming) changes," MOE said.
A single Phase 2A
An MOE spokesperson noted that priority for alumni members was introduced in Phase 2A1 in 1999 to encourage stronger alumni and community support for schools. Over time, more stakeholders such as former students and alumni associations have been actively contributing in their own ways to the schools.
"It is timely to review the fine differentiation of priority between stakeholders in Phases 2A1 and 2A2."
The new Phase 2A will therefore ensure that all Phase 2A2 registrants continue to have a chance to register under Phase 2A.
It will also better achieve the objective of providing priority admission for MOE Kindergarten children, who are currently eligible for Phase 2A2, to support their transition to P1, said the MOE spokesperson.
The methodology for calculating Home-School Distance (HSD) will also be revised. According to the MOE statement, HSD is currently calculated from a single reference point based on the school's original building layout to the registrant's home, even if the layout has changed significantly with upgrading or re-building.
From 2022, HSD will be calculated based on the School Land Boundary (SLB), meaning from any point on the boundary around the school to the registrant's home. The SLB is much less likely to change over time, and is a more stable basis to compute HSD.
Using the SLB to compute HSD would also result in a slightly larger coverage of residential addresses within 1km and 2km for all primary schools. The majority of registrants applying to primary schools will not be affected under the updated methodology, said the ministry.
MOE noted that even with the changes, there will always be balloting for some schools, even for those who live within 1km of their preferred school. But the ministry aims to ensure that every child is well supported to reach their fullest potential.
According to media reports, an MOE spokesperson told reporters at a media briefing that the P1 registration framework has a long legacy. "Many stakeholders are involved and they all hold diverse views. If there is one clear conclusion from our review, it is that there’s really no perfect option that will satisfy everyone, because simply giving more places for one group means fewer places for another group.
“In that sense, the P1 exercise is a zero-sum exercise.”
Parents registering their child in the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise can find more information here.
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