More pupils abroad sit 'export' version of PSLE

The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is going places in Asia, after an international version of the national exam was introduced some 10 years ago.

The export version, known as the iPSLE, was designed for pupils in overseas schools which adopt a primary school curriculum similar to Singapore's.

Over the years, more exam centres across Asia have been appointed to conduct the iPSLE, catering to a wider range of pupils in the region.

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), which introduced the iPSLE in 2005, said the exam allows foreign schools to benchmark their pupils' performance against Singapore's academic standard.

"The iPSLE results would provide an indication of how well the schools have implemented the Singapore curriculum," it said.

The iPSLE, for pupils at the end of their primary school education, was available at one appointed centre in Indonesia in 2005. It is now offered at 18 such centres in seven countries including China, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.

This has allowed more pupils to sit the iPSLE, which in 2005 had just 22 candidates.

The number of candidates taking the exam has since risen to around 1,400 in recent years, according to the SEAB.

The board told The Straits Times that the iPSLE is "based on the same curriculum as the PSLE and pegged at an equivalent standard".

It added that candidates usually take three subjects - English language, mathematics and science.

Other subjects like Chinese, Malay and Tamil languages are also offered. Pupils can take up to four subjects.

Unlike pupils here, who take the national exam in September and October, the iPSLE is conducted over the July to August period.

KinderWorld Education Group, which runs Singapore-style schools in Vietnam, said nearly 120 of its pupils took the iPSLE last year. Its general manager Stephen See said: "Asian parents generally are very much results- oriented, and expect to assess the performance of their child through their grades in major examinations like the iPSLE."

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'More pupils abroad sit 'export' version of PSLE'. Subscribe