The Ministry of Education (MOE) will open up 2,600 more Primary 1 places for the larger number of Dragon Year babies born in 2012 starting primary school next year.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post yesterday that, in all, there will be about 41,800 Primary 1 places available in 184 primary schools next year.
The MOE added: "The planning of school places takes into ac-count the current and projected population as well as planned housing development programmes to ensure that there are sufficient school places to meet the localised demands."
The Straits Times found that more than 60 schools will be adding 30 to 90 places to their intake.
These include Xinghua Primary in Hougang, Greendale Primary and Horizon Primary in Punggol, and Damai Primary and Bedok Green Primary in Bedok.
There is generally a bump in the number of children born in the Dragon Year, which is considered auspicious, but it also leads to parents worrying about more competition for places in popular schools.
Past exercises have seen classes added on and new schools being opened for Dragon Year children, but this time, with population trends shrinking, no new schools are being opened. In fact, MOE is merging 14 primary schools into seven schools next year.
Mr Ong encouraged parents to choose schools suited to their children's strengths and interests.
In recent years, primary schools have been encouraged to offer distinctive programmes, including the Learning for Life Programme (LLP) and Applied Learning Programme (ALP).
Almost all primary schools, with the exception of Fern Green Primary School, which started ope-rations only this year, have either an LLP or ALP to help young children to explore ideas, try out new skills such as basic coding, and be creative.
At Teck Whye Primary School, for example, pupils use 3D printing to create products.
Registration for Primary 1, which begins today and ends on Oct 31, will see some tweaks.
This year, children at MOE kindergartens situated within primary school compounds will get a higher priority in entering those schools.
The children can register under Phase 2A2, which was previously reserved only for children whose parents or siblings have studied in the school, and whose parents are staff members of the school.
This is also the first time that computerised balloting will be used, so parents do not have to physically go down to the schools to ballot.
Separately, a new two-step registration process will be introduced for international pupils.
All international pupils will have to register under Phase 3, after all Singapore citizens and permanent residents have secured a place under the earlier phases.
Parents of these pupils must first submit an online "indication of interest" form through the MOE's P1 website.
The ministry will then notify parents in October if their child is offered a place in a school.
Madam R. Kokila, 38, who lives in Punggol, was cheered by the news of more places being added to several schools near her home.
"There was some worry as MOE had announced so many school mergers. But I am glad to hear more places will be available."
• Additional reporting by Fabian Koh