Views

Your views: Revise DSA to reduce stress on students

While the Primary 6 pupils had a stressful event to handle last year - the Primary School Leaving Examination - 16,000 of them had to go through another stressful event - the Direct School Admission (DSA) process ("Record number of pupils applied for direct entry to Sec 1"; The Straits Times, Jan 23).

The DSA scheme was introduced with noble intentions, but parents have turned it into an additional trial for pupils.

Children are being sent for training in sports, music, art, theatre or dance even before they start primary school.

This has resulted in a nation of children who lack time for free play, leisure, reading and even sleep.

It has also created a greater divide between families with resources and those without.

Indeed, Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua said it is an "open secret" that the DSA benefits children who have had more resources from a young age.

With the Ministry of Education reviewing the scheme, I hope concrete steps will be taken to eradicate such a bias. The bar should not be set too low.

Admission through sports, music and art should be limited to only a small number of pupils with exceptional natural talent.

Alternatively, MOE could consider implementing the DSA only for Secondary 3 or tertiary admission.

This would certainly reduce the stress on younger children.

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