The Straits Times
Published on Nov 08, 2012

How to spread IP to more schools without sacrificing quality


REGARDLESS of how one tackles the review of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), one reality will remain ("O level link to PSLE stress" by Mr Clifton Lee Ci-En; last Saturday): Parents will still try to shepherd their children towards brand-name schools.

The Education Ministry has increased the number of schools that offer the Integrated Programme (IP), but this will not change the mindsets of parents determined to send their children to brand-name schools, as these schools are the ones currently offering the IP.

The ministry could consider having more schools, including neighbourhood schools, adopt the programme, even if it means having only one class per school devoted to the IP.

However, this does not mean the ministry should lower standards; the qualifying criteria for the IP should remain the same.

This will reduce the demand for a branded schools because demand will now be programme-specific rather than school-specific.

Over time, the Education Ministry's target of making all schools good schools may be achieved.

This may reduce the pressure on pupils sitting the PSLE as they will be able to choose from more good secondary schools.

Ivan Goh