More students go on to post-secondary institutions

SINGAPORE - More students are continuing their studies beyond secondary school, according to data from the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Of the cohort that entered Primary 1 in 2003, 95 per cent made it to post-secondary institutions, compared to about 90 per cent for the 1994 cohort. More than 30,000 children start school every year.

Malay students improved the most, with 90 per cent of them pursuing post-secondary education, up from 79 per cent in 2004.

The number of Indian and Chinese students going on to post-secondary institutions increased by about 7 and 4 percentage points respectively.

The statistics were released yesterday by MOE in its annual set of data on how students have fared over the decade.

A ministry spokesman said the rise in post-secondary enrolment is because students have more options for school. Most schools had improved student progression rates over the last decade.

The rise in post-secondary enrolment is because students are performing better academically and fewer are dropping out of school.

Schools are also providing better support for students and there are more opportunities for them beyond secondary school, she said.

For instance, schools such as Northlight School and Assumption Pathway School were set up in 2007 and 2009 respectively, to take in students who struggle with mainstream studies.

Both schools recruit students who fail the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), providing them with a pathway to complete their secondary education and continue studying. About 30 per cent of Northlight's students move on to ITE.

Schools like Yuan Ching Secondary are also helping more students progress to post-secondary institutions. Last year, more than three-quarters of Yuan Ching Secondary's Normal (Academic) stream qualified for junior colleges and polytechcnics, compared to about half in 2009.

Similarly, more than 97 per cent of the school's Express stream students could enter junior colleges and polytechnics, up from about 92 per cent in 2009.

Its principal, Mrs Saraspathy Menon, said strategies such as assessing students' varying learning needs and engaging parents to support their children through reading programmes have helped students improve academically. "Our students have developed greater confidence and have become self-directed learners," she added.

The report also showed that students fared better at the A levels, while PSLE and O-level pass rates remained stable.

This article was first published on November 11, 2014.
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