Singapore

Expansion of DSA shows 'strong message': Parents, principals

Principals embrace changes in scheme as there is less focus on academics

Parents and school principals welcomed the changes in the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme, with one saying it would help to "democratise schools beyond the usual names".

Evergreen Secondary School principal Carol Lim said: "The public will be encouraged to learn the skills and strengths of all schools, not just certain schools that have built certain names in certain areas."

Mrs Lim said it would be good for everyone to be more curious of schools in the neighbourhood.

"They can appreciate that every school is a growing and good school," she added.

Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng yesterday announced the expansion of DSA places in secondary schools, the removing of general academic tests and streamlining of DSA applications.

Tanjong Katong Girls' School principal Mary Seah said the expansion has sent a "strong message" for students to pursue their dreams and non-academic talents "without fear".

Queensway Secondary School principal Benjamin Lui felt the changes "reflected the move away from merely looking at academic achievement".

This may encourage parents to develop their children in other areas instead of solely academics. Madam Choo Pheh Fun, who has a 10-year-old son

Madam Choo Pheh Fun, 44, was happy to hear the changes as she is planning for her son, 10, to enter secondary school through DSA in sports.

She said: "I am glad more places are reserved for students to qualify through DSA. This may encourage parents to develop their children in other areas instead of solely academics."

Another parent who wanted to be known as Madam Chua, a 45-year-oldĀ mother of three, said her daughters, aged 13 and 15, entered secondary school through DSA in gymnastics, and her son is trying out different sports to find a niche he can use for DSA.

"It is a good thing because there are more places for DSA students... But parents may also become more competitive and push their children to excel in sports because there are more places," she said.

Other changes by Ministry of Education

Catering to students' academic strengths

By next year, all secondary schools offering Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) courses will offer subject-based banding. Students can take subjects in which they have done well at a higher academic level.

Enhancing government bursaries

More students in post-secondary education institutions will be eligible for bursaries. The amounts will increase to between $200 and $400.

Strengthening aptitude-based admissions

Polytechnics' Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) intake allowance will increase from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent. ITE will also start the EAE this year.

Future-ready training

A new Future@Work Programme will build awareness, knowledge and competencies needed in the future economy. This will include an understanding of emerging technologies, how they impact work, and how to interpret and use data.

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