Beware of perpetuating elitism with new rules


Ben Ong

Published: 4:02 AM, August 22, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, August 23, 2013
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The new Primary 1 registration rules are well meaning but would have unintended consequences. Property prices around top schools will continue to skyrocket. Parents will join alumni groups just to get children into top schools — rather than being truly keen to strengthen school ties.

Balloting would occur at more schools and in more phases in top schools, leading to increased stress.

Every school is a good school, only that some are more stellar than others. If we compare examination papers from top and neighbourhood schools, the differing standards would be apparent.

Hence, how many private and public sector luminaries are from neighbourhood primary schools? There would be disproportionately more Singapore Armed Forces/Singapore Police Force and President’s Scholars from brand-name schools.

I intend to send my children to my alma mater, a not-so-popular primary school, despite it being more than two kilometres from where I live — to share a deep relationship and history with the school.

But many parents want to send their children to top schools, and are unhappy because they do not qualify for Phase 2A. Are a sizable number, though, living in public housing opposite these schools?

Do we hear the same parents jostling for other schools nearby, for example, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian near Catholic High, Ghim Moh Primary near Henry Park Primary?

These are parents who can afford to buy private or resale properties next to top schools.

This group can also afford to be single-income households, and one parent then becomes a volunteer to qualify for Phase 2B.

We must be careful not to perpetuate elitism with the Pri 1 rule changes.

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