Closeness to popular schools no guarantee of a place

Living near the popular schools along Bukit Timah Road does not mean they are within reach, it seems. That is the problem facing at least one parent, who wanted to be known only as Madam Goh, and her son.

With no links to the nearby schools, the only phase her son is eligible for is 2C. Madam Goh, a 35-year-old bank executive, hopes he will get one of the 33 places left in Pei Hwa Presbyterian, which is a five-minute walk from the condominium they live in. But last year, the school held a ballot for Phase 2C as it was 1.5 times oversubscribed.

"I knew we were moving into a hot zone, but we had to do it out of convenience," said Madam Goh, whose family moved to the condo two years ago to be near her aunt, who is their son's caregiver. "My husband and I also can't afford to volunteer at schools as we both work long hours. I'm stressed, but there's nothing I can do about it."

Since the start of Primary 1 registration this month, she has been monitoring the results of each phase to see how many vacancies are left. "We're worried and helpless because the way the system is structured leaves people like us with not much chance," said Madam Goh, whose husband also works in a bank.

"It doesn't help that there are no boys' schools in the area. Girls have more choices like Methodist Girls' and Raffles Girls'."

The other co-ed schools in the area are Nanyang and Henry Park.

Her son currently attends Glory Kindergarten at Pei Wah Avenue, which is next to Pei Hwa Presbyterian. Both schools are not affiliated. "My son thinks that he will naturally attend the school next door," she said.

"If we don't get into Pei Hwa, the other school nearby would be Bukit Timah Primary. But we will be competing with everyone else who did not get into the popular schools in the area - what if it goes into a ballot too?"

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