End schools' priority for kids of alumni

Schools in Singapore have the practice of giving priority to children of parents who are former students.

This is surely one of the factors contributing to elitism here ("A hard look at averting elitism"; Wednesday, and "RI population less diverse now, say many alumni" and "RI now a 'middle-class' school/'Make RI a better school for S'pore'"; both published on Tuesday).

Good schools by and large produce students who do better academically and go on to be part of the middle class.

By giving priority to their children, it is natural that students in good schools are predominantly from the middle class.

A blue-collar worker is unlikely to hail from an elite school, so his children's chances of getting into one is very much reduced.

This is repeated every year, and, as a result, it is no surprise that it is mainly children from middle-class families who get into the better schools, creating a class of elites.

Take Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) for example.

The school is located in a private residential area, with no Housing Board estates within its 1km radius, and possibly its 2km radius as well.

The children of alumni get first priority, followed by those who meet other criteria.

The first step towards less elitism in schools would be to do away with the practice of giving priority to children of alumni.

Wong Yow Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2015, with the headline 'End schools' priority for kids of alumni'. Subscribe