Forum: MOE exploring other approaches to CCA allocation

We thank the writers for their recent contributions sharing their views on co-curricular activity (CCA) selection trials in schools (Give kids a chance to follow their hearts; CCAs should have competitive and recreational groups; Auditions or trials put unnecessary stress on kids, March 13; and Why kids shouldn't have to audition for CCAs, March 11).

We fully agree that CCAs play a key role in the holistic development of our students. Through CCAs, we seek to provide students with the opportunity to pursue their interests and passions, cultivate character and develop new interests and strengths.

We recognise the importance of letting students take up the CCA of their choice, without selection trials. However, there are trade-offs to this.

As schools have limited resources, one such trade-off is for some schools to offer fewer CCA options.

This is especially so in schools where certain CCAs are far more popular than others. The less popular CCAs with insufficient student participation may then have to be discontinued.

The irony is that we end up with less choice for a minority of students in the school.

For CCAs with large student enrolment, schools would need to allocate resources in a way that would meaningfully engage all students in the CCA.

For example, schools could introduce recreational teams for CCAs in high demand. However, this would require schools to spread the training days across the week due to limited physical resources, like the school field or courts.

In spite of the trade-offs, the Ministry of Education recognises that we should explore CCA allocation through approaches beyond selection trials.

We recently embarked on a pilot for the removal of CCA selection trials in eight primary schools which will adopt one of three approaches:

• Allocate all students their first-choice CCA.

• Allocate students their first choice if they select certain CCAs.

• Allocate students a CCA within their top-ranking choices, based on criteria beyond aptitude.

MOE will study the findings of the pilot to refine CCA allocation approaches and support students in pursuing their interests and talents, while balancing the possible trade-offs.

In seeking to do so, we are also cognisant that many students have developed talents and interests in CCAs that were not their first choice.

Tan Chen Kee

Divisional Director, Student Development Curriculum Division

Ministry of Education

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