MOE should make its intentions clearer

The decision by the Ministry of Education to give priority to its kindergarten pupils for Primary 1 admission has invited serious questions for educators and heightened anxieties among parents (MOE kindergarten pupils to get priority in P1 entry; Nov 28).

While its objective to ensure a less nerve-racking transition from pre-primary to primary education for children is laudable, the concern that it would create an uneven playing field between government and private kindergartens has not been addressed.

Neither has the worry that the system would transfer pressure from Primary 1 to kindergarten admission been allayed.

Is it the ultimate mission of the MOE to include pre-primary education under its formal education umbrella and not later, at the primary education phase?

If so, the pilot scheme that would eventually bring not just MOE kindergartens but private kindergartens, too, under its jurisdiction would be better received.

In that case, the role of public funding and the involvement of private kindergartens ought to be better articulated.

However, if that is not part of its big-picture plan, then the current proposed Primary 1 admission priority would be negatively viewed as an exclusive and privileged policy that unfairly benefits some while disadvantaging others.

At a time when the MOE should be rethinking complicated school-allocation priorities, it has regretfully gone in the opposite direction.

The jurisdiction of the MOE and its intended hand in pre-primary education ought to be made more transparent to key stakeholders, including private educators and anxious parents.

Sunny Goh (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2017, with the headline 'MOE should make its intentions clearer'. Print Edition | Subscribe