Parliament: St Hilda's Primary to open one more Higher Chinese class

SINGAPORE - St Hilda's Primary School will add one more Higher Chinese class to take in more pupils who want to read the subject.

Parliamentary Secretary for Education Low Yen Ling revealed this in Parliament on Monday (Feb 6), noting that the school had an "unusually high" cutoff point for students interested in studying Higher Chinese.

The primary school in Tampines came under the spotlight last month, after The Straits Times reported that a Primary 1 pupil was turned away from reading the subject despite scoring 97 marks in a Chinese test.

The school, which offers Higher Chinese at Primary 2, had said then that the boy did not make the cut as he was not within the top 25 per cent of the cohort.

Ms Low said the school had sought to ensure a "high level of ability" in the students who wanted to take Higher Chinese.

"We acknowledge St Hilda's Primary School's good intentions in making sure that the students who want to take Higher Chinese are well-suited and also ready to take on the subject," she said.

After receiving feedback and guidance from the Education Ministry (MOE), the school has since reviewed its criteria and will be open another Higher Chinese language class, she said.

Ms Low was responding to Mr Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC), who asked if MOE reviews the selection process of individual primary schools in assessing pupils' abilities to take Higher Mother Tongue subjects.

She said schools need to take into account pupils' interest levels and language abilities when considering them for Higher Mother Tongue subjects, as the curriculum "incurs additional curriculum time and heavier learning load".

"It can be overwhelming to students who are not interested or ready to offer the subject," she added.