Relocate 'branded' schools to heartland

Mr K. Sabehshan's proposal to allow only the top 10 per cent to 20 per cent of each PSLE cohort into the top schools may not be feasible (Modify school selection process; Oct 8).

This will only cause parents to spare no costs or effort to get their children to do well enough to get into the top schools.

The children will be subjected to greater pressure, which would not be in line with the current push to get parents to look beyond grades.

It may behove the Ministry of Education (MOE) to mull over the factors that make a school more popular than others.

Parents do believe that all schools have equally good and competent teachers. But maybe, in this age of high expectations, "good" is not good enough. They may want the best.

Parents also want their children to mingle with children from higher socio-economic status homes. They hope this will help their children pick up better behavioural traits and attitudes.

Many of the more popular schools are also situated in districts with higher-income families.

These "extras" matter too.

From the almost palatial and aesthetically pleasing designs of many of the more popular schools to the smarter-looking uniforms of some schools, we can see that there are a host of factors at work.

Schools with bigger compounds are thought to have better facilities for learning as well as for co-curricular activities.

Short of demolishing all schools and building schools with a similar architectural design - which is definitely too drastic - the perception that not all schools are equally good will remain.

Perhaps, besides sending principals of popular schools to neighbourhood schools, the MOE can relocate some so-called branded schools to the heartland?

Then, if pupils are indeed sent to schools near their homes, more pupils will have a chance of getting into "branded" schools.

Low Siew Hua (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline 'Relocate 'branded' schools to heartland'. Print Edition | Subscribe