The proportion of students pursuing post-secondary education remains high, the Ministry of Education (MOE) revealed yesterday in its annual set of data.
About 96.7 per cent of the Primary 1 cohort in 2005 progressed to post-secondary education last year, a slight drop from 96.9 per cent in 2014.
Still, it is a significant jump from a decade ago in 2006, when just 90.8 per cent of the 1996 Primary 1 cohort made it to post-secondary institutions.
National University of Singapore economics lecturer Kelvin Seah said the dip reflects that "further increases in the proportion are harder and harder to achieve once the proportion is already high".
"In any educational system, we will never see exactly 100 per cent of students progressing to post-secondary education," he said. "Some (students) dropping out of the system is inevitable, either because the students who drop out perceive work or employment as a more attractive option to studying, or because they feel they are unable to cope with the academic rigour involved in furthering their education."
LOOK BEYOND EXAM RESULTS
While it is heartening to see that students continue to fare well in their exams, it is also timely to consider and start tracking a more holistic set of indicators of student performance.
'' MP DENISE PHUA, who heads the GPC for Education.
The MOE report also found that students have been faring better at the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), O levels and A levels over the last decade.
More are passing the PSLE. Last year, 98.3 per cent of PSLE pupils were eligible for the Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses at secondary schools. In 2006, just 97.7 per cent did so.
About 93.1 per cent of students who took the A levels last year achieved at least three H2 passes, with a pass in General Paper or Knowledge and Inquiry. This is up from 87 per cent in 2006.
For the O levels, 83.7 per cent of students who took the exam last year received at least five passes, up from about 82 per cent in 2006.
Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua, who heads the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said: "While it is heartening to see that students continue to fare well in their exams, it is also timely to consider and start tracking a more holistic set of indicators of student performance.
"Otherwise, the signal remains that traditional exam performance is still the only important measure of successful student performance, which is incomplete and non-progressive."