JCs too rigid in what students can offer for DSA

My son is a national athlete in karate and has represented Singapore in the sport.

He would like to apply for Direct School Admission (DSA) into a junior college (JC), but none of the JCs offers karate as a co-curricular activity (CCA). Thus, he is unlikely to enter the JC of his choice through DSA using his CCA.

It has been reported that recent tweaks to the DSA scheme are to bring it back to its original purpose, which is "to admit students based on specific academic strengths, or talents in non-academic areas such as the arts and sports" (Back to core objective - a chance for other talents to shine; March 8).

Unfortunately, this is not quite true in how JCs admit students through DSA.

A reply by one of the JCs applied to was this: "We are only able to offer DSA to the domains we have published on the website. Hence, we are not able to accept your son under our current listing."

Others state in their DSA application forms: "Please do not apply to the JC if the CCA you are applying for DSA is not in the list."

Why are JCs not more flexible when admitting students through the DSA scheme?

Rather than limiting admissions based on a specified CCA list, they should look at transferable soft skills acquired, such as discipline, resilience and time management - which can be applied to any CCA.

Lim Juin Ting (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'JCs too rigid in what students can offer for DSA'. Print Edition | Subscribe