500 more pupils offered secondary school places via MOE’s move
Five hundred more pupils were offered places in secondary schools of their choice via Direct School Admission (DSA) this year.
The increase came after the Ministry of Education allowed secondary schools to accept up to 20 per cent of their non-Integrated Programme Secondary 1 intake via DSA.
This resulted in 3,000 pupils getting confirmed offers from schools this year, compared to 2,500 last year.
The rise in capacity, from 5 per cent for schools with distinctive programmes and 10 per cent for autonomous schools, has resulted in some schools introducing new talent areas for pupils to enter via DSA. The areas can range from scientific investigation to badminton.
About 143 out of 153 schools participated in the 2018 DSASecondary Exercise, of which 129 schools gave confirmed offers.
Jurong Secondary School is known for its basketball and volleyball. This year, it introduced science communication and research and service leadership as part of its DSA talent areas.
Uptake for these areas has been positive, with about 20 out of 50 applications applying for these areas in the recent exercise, said principal Ruby Tan.
She said: “When the idea of 20 per cent came out, we were deciding on expanding the existing talent areas. But you can have only so many players in one team, so what is the value of expanding the same sport?
“Since science and research are areas we have been growing in, why not expand it?”
In service leadership, students are put through group interviews and scenarios and assessed if they have a heart for serving the community and whether they can lead others in doing the same.
For science communication and research, they are assessed on their passion for science and their scientific skills, such as precision and accuracy during experiments.
Madam Tan added that the school plans to introduce another talent domain, environmental studies, next yearand will continue to introduce more over the next few years.
More emphasis will also be placed on potential during the selection. In Jurong Secondary School, teachers are trained to identify pupils with potential, such as when selecting athletes, how to gauge their ball sense or flexibility in responding to instructions given on a court.
– ADELINE TAN