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WP’s Yee Jenn Jong says the new PSLE scoring system “does not change anything”

'With limited places in desired schools, there will still be pressure'

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Singapore — Workers’ Party member Yee Jenn Jong feels that the new revamped PSLE scoring system will not reduce anxiety over this high-stakes examination.

“Will it change the anxiety over this deemed high-stake examinations? My short answer is, NO.”

My take on the new…

Posted by Yee Jenn Jong 余振忠 on thursday, 29 April 2021

As long as parents believe some schools are more desirable than others, and some academic streams better for their children, there will be anxiety, he points out, noting the existence of “top schools” in an article he wrote regarding the new system.

“With limited places in the desired schools, there will still be pressure at PSLE, at the tender age of 12,” he adds.

“I thought the worst thing that happened was when we started to rank and brand schools. It was first started in 1992, published by our national newspaper Straits Times. The exercise went on for two decades, with tinkering of the criteria along the way, but nevertheless, schools were publicly honoured and of course, those left out of the published rankings were deemed not-so-good, to put it mildly, in the perception of the public,” he wrote, noting that many parents still look at cut-off points and reputation of schools.

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Mr Yee feels that the cut-off points “do not say much”. He feels “quite sad” that people do not take into account how schools that take in lower-scoring students “transform and value-add to [those] students”.

A junior college that takes in “5-6 pointers” will obviously have to ensure that the vast majority, if not all, of its students will make it to “good’” universities. However, the JCs that take in average-scoring O-level students but enable many of them to do well for university admissions should be lauded more, he says.

Mr Yee, who was a Non-Constituency MP in the 12th Parliament (October 10, 2011 – August 25, 2015), says: “I had pushed many times in Parliament (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012) and in the WP 2015 manifesto for through-train primary to secondary pilot schools. I would have gladly sent my children to such schools even if there was no option for them to enter a top secondary school through this path.”

A through-train school is a school where primary school pupils may proceed directly to the linked secondary school without going through a central allocation process. Hong Kong currently has a few such schools, including the Diocesan Girls’ School, Renaissance College, and Ying Wa College.)

About the new PSLE scoring system, he says, “This change alone will not reduce any anxiety, maybe even add more confusion in the initial years until people understand what it will actually take to get where.

“Change needs to come from having a different mindset, and changes to other policies in schools and in society. All the best for those taking PSLE this year,” he writes, concluding his Facebook post.

Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISGFollow us on Social Media

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