School admission must be meritocratic

Several writers have made suggestions similar to that of Mr Gerard Lee How Cheng to tackle the problem of inequality (Spread top students among more schools; Jan 3). The most likely result of such a move would be a decrease in the overall talent level in Singapore.

Admission to the best schools must follow the principle of meritocracy. Harm is done when you deny a prized place to applicants who meet the stringent entry requirements, while accepting applicants who do not.

Spreading the most talented students among more schools is a disincentive for the best to work hard. Just look at the negative results of affirmative action in other countries, where racial quotas resulted in the top tier of talent leaving for greener pastures.

The creme de la creme wish to challenge themselves in a competitive environment. They must not be denied entry to the best schools to achieve their dreams.

The Ministry of Education should be helping our young and aspiring talents to level up, not the other way around.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline 'School admission must be meritocratic'. Print Edition | Subscribe