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Review bonus-point criteria for admission to junior colleges
Thu, Mar 25, 2010
my paper

I REFER to a report that the St Joseph's fraternity will discuss the future of its secondary school, St Joseph's Institution (SJI), at an annual general meeting tomorrow.

It was mentioned that a former member of the board of governors wanted the cut-off mark for pupils from feeder schools to not be set too high.

However, the board responded to say that an admission policy based primarily on affiliation may spell a "mediocre future" for the school.

This is interesting because the SJI community itself is arguing against a policy based too strongly on affiliation.

There is a parallel between this issue and the affiliation policy that grants prospective junior-college (JC) students from feeder schools bonus points.

For students seeking admission to a JC, the Ministry of Education (MOE) allows the awarding of bonus points according to certain criteria, which better the students' chances of entering a JC of their choice.

For instance, students with good co-curricular activity (CCA) grades are eligible to get a maximum of two bonus points.

This is fair because all students participate in CCAs and every student is given a chance to earn a good CCA grade.

Students who score A1 to C6 in both their first languages (that is, English and a higher mother tongue) also stand to get two bonus points.

In addition, students from feeder schools who choose their affiliated JCs as first or second choices are given two bonus points.

But these two criteria for awarding bonus points are not fair. Not all students take a higher mother tongue, and not all prospective JC students studied in a feeder school.

The majority of students in Singapore are not eligible to receive the maximum of four bonus points from the second and third criteria mentioned.

Perhaps MOE should reconsider its bonus-point criteria based on affiliation and first-language scores.

MR LIM POH SENG

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