The Ministry of Education (MOE) is introducing more changes to the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme and the university admission score system so that students may develop their talents in a range of fields and benefit from more pathways to nurture their potential. Beginning this year, all secondary schools can admit up to 20 per cent of their non-Integrated Programme Secondary 1 intake via the DSA. This is an increase from 5 per cent for schools with distinctive programmes and 10 per cent for autonomous schools. The results are heartening. Following the change, 3,000 Primary 6 pupils this year, who applied for places through the scheme, have received confirmed offers, 500 more than last year.
Equally promising is the move to refine DSA selection processes to help schools identify potential in pupils even if they have not demonstrated it already. Also, schools no longer administer academic ability tests during their DSA selection, a move which reiterates the objective of recognising specific kinds of talent, not general academic talent, which the Primary School Leaving Examination does. The change to the university admission score system, which will come into effect in 2020, will see the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University dropping the 20 per cent weighting given to O-level results for polytechnic graduate applicants. By assessing polytechnic graduates primarily on the basis of their latest academic qualifications, the education system can better acknowledge the merit of a person as he or she stands at the point of university entrance, not where they were years earlier. Late bloomers, those who recover lost academic ground after having left school, and those who find their true interests only when they are more mature, will all gain from this enlightened change to the university admission score system.
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