School-going children of returning Singaporeans

Published Date: 16 August 2016 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling, Fengshan

Question

To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) whether school-going children of returning Singaporeans from overseas can be allowed to take the school re-admission assessments at the local consulates or embassies where they are presently residing instead of having to travel back to Singapore for the assessments.

Response

MOE is committed to helping returning Singaporeans re-enter our schools smoothly. We have made available several admissions routes, to cater to different circumstances and preferences.

The first option is via the centralised School Placement Exercise for Returning Singaporeans (SPERS), which caters for admission into Secondary schools and Junior Colleges. The SPERS offers families the convenience of a single round of tests. Based on their performance, returning Singaporeans could indicate their school preferences and would be offered places in schools based on their results, choices, and school vacancies. The SPERS is conducted twice a year to cater to the different timing of return for overseas Singaporeans.

Nevertheless, MOE recognises that not all returning Singaporeans are able to time their return to one of the SPERS cycles. A second option is for such returning Singaporean to approach MOE for help to obtain a school place. MOE will do our best to match the child to a school with vacancy that is near his or her home. The school will usually require the child to take a placement test and based on the results decide if it could offer the child a place and at which educational level.

A third option is also available to families who already have a specific school in mind and want to approach that school directly to be considered for admission. Again, the school will require the child to take a placement test and can offer the returning Singaporean child a place if it has available vacancy.

Most returning Singaporeans will make use of the centralised SPERS option as it is most convenient for them, where they only need to take a single set of tests and be assured of a posting by MOE to a suitable school.

On the member’s query, MOE has previously explored conducting admissions tests overseas, but the demand was low. Thus, we decided to conduct SPERS twice a year for the convenience of more returning Singaporeans, and to ensure that the tests are administered by trained invigilators so that placement outcomes are fair and educationally sound.

In summary, there are sufficient routes of admissions to cater to returning Singaporeans seeking re-admissions at any time of the year. I would like to assure the Member that MOE’s commitment is for every returning Singaporean family to re-integrate smoothly back into Singapore society.

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