Forum Letter Replies

March 17, 2020

Supporting students in pursuing their interests and talents

We refer to the recent forum letters on Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) selection trials in schools and thank the writers for sharing their thoughts and experiences.

We fully agree that CCAs play a key role in the holistic development of our students. Through CCAs, we seek to provide students with the opportunity to pursue their interests and passion, cultivate character, and develop new interests and strengths along the way.

We recognise the importance of letting students join the CCA of their choice, without selection trials. However, we are mindful of the trade-offs that come with this. Since schools do not have limitless resources, one such trade-off is that some schools may have to offer fewer CCA options. This is especially so in schools where certain CCAs are far more popular than others. The less popular CCAs with insufficient student participation may then have to be discontinued. The irony in this case is that we end up with less choice for a minority of students in the school.

For CCAs with large student enrolment, schools would need to allocate resources in a way that would meaningfully engage all students in the CCA. For example, schools could introduce recreational teams for CCAs that are in high demand. However, this would require schools to spread the training days across the week due to limited physical resources, like the school field or courts.

In spite of the trade-offs, MOE recognises that we should explore CCA allocation through approaches beyond selection trials. Hence, we have recently embarked on a pilot for the removal of CCA selection trials in primary schools. Eight schools will pilot one of three approaches – (i) allocating all students their first choice CCA; (ii) allocating students their first choice if they select certain CCAs; and (iii) allocating students a CCA within their top-ranking choices, based on other criteria beyond aptitude.

MOE will study the findings of the pilot to refine CCA allocation approaches and support students in pursuing their interests and talents, while balancing the possible trade-offs. In seeking to do so, we are also cognisant that many students had developed talents and interests in CCAs that were not their first choice. MOE will continue to help students grow and develop through their CCA, regardless of whether it was their first choice.

Mrs Tan Chen Kee
Divisional Director, Student Development
Curriculum Division, MOE