SINGAPORE - Four oversubscribed primary schools will hold a ballot for places on Thursday. It will be the first time since 1995 that this has been seen at the early 2A2 registration phase, which caters for children whose parents or siblings are former students of the school.
When registration for this phase closed on Tuesday, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls' School in Ang Mo Kio had 24 children vying for 14 spots, while Henry Park Primary in Bukit Timah had 59 children applying for 46 vacancies.
At Radin Mas Primary in Bukit Merah, 67 children applied for 60 places, and Nan Hua Primary in Clementi had 55 children competing for 42 spots.
All four will conduct a ballot for children staying outside a 2km radius of these schools.
At Yu Neng Primary in Bedok, 62 children applied for 59 places, but the school will not conduct a ballot. It will give preference to all Singaporean citizens who applied because it has space to cater for them.
The primary school registration exercise started this month and has seven phases. Phase 2A2 is the third of these.
In past years, balloting does not happen at this stage as it is considered early in the registration exercise. The later stages, Phase 2B and 2C, are known to be the competitive phases when balloting begins.
Phase 2B is for children whose parents are school volunteers or grassroots leaders, or have church or clan links, while Phase 2C is for children with no connections to schools.
But a new rule this year has put the squeeze on Phase 2A2. It requires schools to reserve at least 40 places which are divided equally between children applying in Phase 2B and 2C .
However this year's early rush for places is not as big a headache for parents as it sounds. It will mean that those registering in the later phases will have at least 40 guaranteed spots up for grabs in their choice schools.
The last school to ballot at Phase 2A was Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) 19 years ago.