Parliamentary Replies

July 10, 2012

Ranking of Primary Schools

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Yee Jenn Jong, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education over the past five years, in terms of primary schools that are ranked according to their number of graduating students with PSLE T-scores of 250 and higher (a) what percentage of the graduating class in the top 10 primary schools obtained PSLE T-scores of 250 and higher; and (b) what percentage of the graduating class in the bottom 10 primary schools obtained PSLE T-scores of 250 and higher.

Response

MOE does not rank our primary schools by the number of students with a PSLE score of 250 or above. Such a ranking would not be meaningful. In fact, many Members, including Mr Yee, have previously voiced their concerns about focussing too narrowly on academic success in education. The Ministry shares these concerns and is taking steps to broaden the definition of success, and to emphasise holistic education, with character and values at the centre. Ranking schools based on the number of pupils with high PSLE scores will undermine these efforts, with potentially adverse impacts on our schools and our students.

In fact, a good school is not measured by the number of top students that it produces at national examinations. Instead, a good primary school understands the profile and needs of its students, develops them holistically, in academics as well as other non-academic areas, and prepares them well for secondary education.

As part of our emphasis on holistic education, MOE funds the Programme for School-Based Excellence. This Programme enables primary schools to offer niche programmes, thereby providing opportunities for their students to grow in different areas and enrich their educational experience. The niche domains span across sports, uniformed groups, aesthetics, information and communications technology (ICT), character education, and environment education. Through these programmes, schools also help their students to develop important life skills such as teamwork, communication and creativity. We aim to develop niches of excellence in every school. There are now 83 primary schools with the Programme for School-Based Excellence, up from 76 last year.