Allow principals to exercise judgment in admissions

In his maiden speech in Parliament, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung spoke about aspects of governance which may have to evolve because of changing domestic and external circumstances ("Evolving to suit the times"; Jan 26).

He stressed that good judgment is far superior to simply sticking to rules and numbers.

This left me bemused because the Ministry of Education seems to be moving in a completely different direction.

For instance, it recently decided to enforce the ruling that admission to secondary schools and junior colleges would be based strictly on cut-off points ("Stricter rules on JC transfers"; Jan 15).

In doing so, the MOE has removed principals' ability to exercise judgment and discretion, and to provide students with more opportunities.

This is an issue, especially at the junior college level, where bonus points given to students taking Higher Mother Tongue has resulted in cut-off points being as low as three.

This means students who do not take Higher Mother Tongue are at a disadvantage, as they can never achieve that cut-off point, even if they score As for everything.

Without the ability to appeal, they will lose their opportunity to study in the school of their choice.

The MOE should retract its position and allow principals to consider appeal cases without the need to meet the cut-off points.

Simon Wee Kok Cheng