DSA may not put students in the right environment

Students at the release of 2018 PSLE Results at Geylang Methodist School (Primary) on Nov 22, 2018.
Students at the release of 2018 PSLE Results at Geylang Methodist School (Primary) on Nov 22, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

Streaming created a sort of educational caste system where students, teachers and parents perceived students based on their streams.

Hopefully, subject-based banding will dispel this pigeonholing, as students will not be so clearly segregated, and will allow students to learn individual subjects at levels catered specially for them.

I urge the Ministry of Education to consider abolishing the Direct School Admission (DSA) programme as well. The only upside for students in the DSA is that those with non-academic talents will get access to a school with a higher educational standard.

However, such students may not actually be suited for such an educational tempo.

For example, a student scoring 200 in the Primary School Leaving Examination may, based on his sports prowess, get into a school whose normal cut-off score is 240.

Such a student would surely struggle studying among peers who are stronger academically and who are being taught at a certain level.

The student might face unnecessary pressure and suffer from low self-esteem as a result.

The main parties that benefit are the schools, which get to boast about their sporting and other extracurricular achievements, essentially creating another educational caste system.

Abolishing the DSA will allow students to be educated at a level that is comfortable for them.

That is surely more important than allowing select schools to hog all the medals.

Adam Reutens-Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2019, with the headline 'DSA may not put students in the right environment'. Print Edition | Subscribe