Fifty-nine primary schools were oversubscribed when the first day of Phase 2C of the annual Primary 1 registration exercise closed yesterday.
These schools, which are likely to go through a ballot, include Catholic High School, Radin Mas Primary, Henry Park Primary and Maha Bodhi School. A total of 187 primary schools took part in the exercise.
Last year, 99 schools were oversubscribed by the time Phase 2C ended. This phase is for children who have no affiliations to their primary schools of choice.
The earlier phases are for children who have siblings in the school or whose parents are old boys and girls, school volunteers, or members of a clan or church affiliated to the school.
The three-day registration period is the most competitive of the exercise. In some years, as many as half of the total number of primary schools will end up having more applicants than places.
Last year, 91 of the 99 that were oversubscribed had to conduct a ballot. Parents hope the situation will improve this year because of a new rule by the Education Ministry stipulating that all primary schools reserve 20 places for Phase 2B and and 20 for 2C.
The move is to ensure there will still be spots left in popular primary schools for children who have no ties to them.
Mr Victor Hoo, 45, a funeral director, registered his six-year-old at Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) (Primary) yesterday. Mr Hoo lives in Chancery Court, less than a five-minute walk to the school, with his wife and two sons.
But with 24 children vying for 30 seats, Mr Hoo is feeling the heat. "These few days I have been monitoring the primary schools like the stock market," he said.
He is also closely watching ACS (Junior), which by last night had 72 children vying for 73 seats. The school is slightly farther away, but is his second choice.
However, his son should get priority in the phase because his home is so near the school.
"But if the competition gets too intense at ACS Primary and those living within 1km have to ballot, we might make a last-minute switch on Friday to ACS Junior," said Mr Hoo.
Phase 2C registration will end tomorrow.
Not all oversubscribed schools will need a ballot. If the number of Singaporean children vying for a place matches the number of places available, all of them will get in, and others will not be admitted. In this phase, citizens are given priority.
This article was first published on August 2, 2014.
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