She hopes daughter can still enrol in her alma mater
Latest changes to P1 registration give children with no links better chance to get into schools near home
She is worried her daughter will not be able to follow in her footsteps, while he believes the changes to the Primary 1 registration exercise were necessary. The Tangs, who will be taking part in the registration exercise in 2023, do agree, however, that the changes announced yesterday by the Ministry of Education (MOE) were fair.
Mrs Yvonne Tang, who is an alumni association member at Methodist Girls' School (MGS), is hoping her eldest daughter will be able to join the school, but she will have a smaller chance as candidates with alumni links will have fewer places in their registration phase.
That is because from next year, the number of spots reserved in Phase 2C - for children without priority admission to a school - will be doubled to 40.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Mrs Tang, 41, an admin manager, said: "I am a little worried that things might become slightly more competitive for children whose parents are alumni or have volunteered.
"I wouldn't say I am super pleased with the changes, although I see why it makes things fair for everyone. It is also more convenient for those people who live near a school."
Husband Justin Tang is sanguine about the changes.
"I don't think there have been such changes to the P1 registration exercise recently. So this move shows that MOE is addressing the needs of parents," said the 42-year-old equity strategist.
Phase 2C is based on home-to-school distance and is for pupils with no links to a school - either through alumni parents, siblings or clan.
Noting that more places reserved for Phase 2C may mean that several schools will not have any places left for Phase 2A(2) registrants, MOE said Phase 2A(1) and Phase 2A(2) will be combined into a single Phase 2A.
Previously, Phase 2A(1) was for children of parents who had joined the alumni associations while 2A(2) was for children of those who had not.
This means children whose parents are in the alumni association will not have priority above those who have parents or siblings who used to study in the school. They will now compete in the same phase.
The ministry noted that competition for places has intensified under Phase 2C, despite 20 seats having been reserved for this phase since the P1 registration exercise in 2014.
This year, one in three schools had to undergo balloting in Phase 2C for Singaporeans living within 1km of the school, up from one in four schools that balloted in the same category in 2014.
Citing the reasons for the changes, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing said the number of students who can access a school near their homes without affiliation has declined.
"We hope that all of (you) will support these changes to ensure our schools remain accessible, open and inclusive," he added.
Ms Lee Pei Ling, 37, who works in strategic planning, was happy to hear of the changes made for the registration exercise.
She is hoping to enrol her five-year-old twin daughters in Opera Estate Primary School, her husband's alma mater.
Said Ms Lee: "This is good news as my girls fall under Phase 2A. Even if they don't get in under that phase, they still have a pretty good chance of getting in under Phase 2C as we live nearby.
"This is a good move by MOE as it helps to create a level playing field for children from different backgrounds, whether their parents are alumni or not."
MOE said the increase in the number of places under Phase 2C will be "in the educational interest of children, to help them spend less time travelling and more time pursuing other interests, as well as for the convenience of the family".
Mr William Toh, founder of parenting forum Kiasu Parents, believes the extra spots in Phase 2C will alleviate the stress of many parents.
"Phase 2C has always been the most competitive phase, and it requires balloting almost all of the time," he said.
Mr Toh, who founded Kiasu Parents 23 years ago, added: "I understand some parents may feel frustrated after having spent time and effort volunteering and joining the alumni association and now not receiving the priority they thought they would.
"But the most important thing is a child's willingness to learn because all schools go through the same curriculum and everyone takes the same national examination at Primary 6."
Mr Tang, who has two daughters, is taking the changes in his stride.
He said: "Overall, this is a step in the right direction as it gives everyone a better chance to get into the school they prefer, without needing prior connections."
But Mrs Tang wants her daughter to get into MGS.
When asked whether the family would shift closer to the school, she said: "We may. In fact, we have been considering moving nearer to the school even before this news came out. But nothing is concrete yet.
"I am banking on the fact that I am an alumna for my daughter to be accepted in.
"The best-case scenario is that my eldest daughter gets into MGS. Then, my youngest daughter, who is now two years old, can join her too."
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