Parliamentary Replies

July 11, 2018

Progression of school leavers after the national examinations and CET

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education how many young people leave the education system after their PSLE and the N- and O-Level attainment each year in the past three years and whether the Ministry is tracking their employment and continuing education and training prospects.

Response

1. Over the years, MOE has implemented many measures to reduce dropouts post-PSLE. These include different education streams to cater to students with different pace of learning at that age, early interventions at lower primary to help students keep up, and specialised schools, namely Northlight School and Assumption Pathway School to cater to students who did not qualify for secondary school courses after PSLE. With all these measures, the proportion of P1 cohort who did not progress to secondary education is practically 0%.

2. At the secondary school level, less than 1% of the P1 cohort did not complete secondary education, compared to 2% ten years ago. The percentage of P1 cohort that progresses to post-secondary education has increased from 90% ten years ago to 97% now. So the school dropout numbers that the member is asking about is a very small proportion of every cohort. And this is a result of our relentless efforts over the years.

3. For those who still drop out of school, our teachers actively reach out to them. But the reasons for dropping out are often complex, and we have to tap on the expertise and networks of agencies such as MSF, MHA, self-help groups, family service centres and Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs). For example, VWOs will engage the out-of-school youths and their families, and encourage them to participate in group activities to support their return to school and transit to the next stage of education.

4. As for students who entered the workforce and face employment difficulties, they can tap on support from their alma mater, Workforce Singapore, the CDCs, NTUC’s e2i or the Self-Help groups. We are also expanding the range of opportunities for upgrading and lifelong learning.

5. MOE does not track students who drop out of schools longitudinally as a group because different agencies and organizations do come in to provide support at different stages of a person’s life. Further, there is always a dynamic churn within the population – students who drop out after O- or N-Levels often move on to upgrade and hold good and stable jobs, while well-educated Singaporeans can encounter difficult patches due to industry downturns.