Social mixing in secondary schools

Published Date: 03 November 2021 07:30 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Leon Perera, Aljunied GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) from 2011 to 2020, in respect of students enrolled in secondary schools, what is the annual percentage breakdown for each secondary school type in terms of (i) housing type (ii) household income levels (iii) the proportion on 100% financial assistance from the Ministry (iv) parents' education levels and (v) race; and (b) whether the Ministry monitors the socio-economic composition of schools' student intake for diversity.

Response

1. Our secondary schools are set up to cater to the diverse learning needs of our students. Admission is thus based on students' choices and their academic and non-academic profiles.

2. We have a diverse education landscape so that students can access schools that are best suited to their own aptitudes, interests and learning needs. The majority of our secondary schools offer all three academic courses. At the same time, some schools offer specialised programmes for specific learner profiles – for example Specialised Schools offering practice-oriented, hands-on learning, the six-year Integrated Programme offering a more unstructured and broader academic experience, and specialised schools that cater to specific interests in sports, arts and STEM.

3. Admissions at Secondary 1 is determined by the combination of students' choices and their PSLE Scores or the Direct School Admission (DSA) exercise. This enables students to be placed in a school that is suited to their aptitude and ability. As different schools cater to different student profiles, not every school will reflect the same demographic profile.

4. What is important is to ensure that schools remain open to students of all backgrounds, and for students from all schools to have the opportunities to interact with those from different backgrounds.

5. To do so, we offer bursaries and scholarships to ensure school fees are affordable for all, and have measures that ensure good access to schools, such as the DSA as well as reserving 20% of places for each course in every secondary school for students without affiliation.

6. All our schools also provide students with opportunities to interact with others from different backgrounds, including between schools and with the community, such as through co-curricular activities, values-in-action projects, and cluster-based activities and competitions.

7. Taken together, our approach strikes a balance to ensure that each student can access schools best suited to their learning needs, while having opportunities to interact with others from different backgrounds.

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