While the Secondary 1 posting exercise is meant for pupils from national primary schools, private candidates can also gain admission to mainstream secondary schools.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) takes into account pupils' school choices, Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results and the available places in schools when facilitating the posting, said Dr Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development yesterday.
Most of the private candidates, including pupils from the Islamic religious schools or madrasahs, are able to enter the secondary schools of their choice, he added.
Dr Faishal was responding in Parliament to Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), who asked about the policy of treating private PSLE candidates differently from those in mainstream primary schools.
Mr Zainal was concerned that private primary school pupils, who have the same PSLE results as their mainstream peers, would not have access to better schools because they are not eligible to take part in the Sec 1 posting exercise.
"Some of these students might be doing well but because they are private candidates, they may not be able to go to schools of better quality based on their results," said Mr Zainal.
Dr Faishal said MOE has facilitated private candidates' admission to mainstream secondary schools, with some also getting into their top-choice schools. But this is based on merit and vacancies.
He said that over the last five years, MOE has received about 20 requests on average per year from private PSLE candidates to be placed in mainstream secondary schools.
Parents of homeschoolers are made aware of the policy when they apply to homeschool their children, he said.
And the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore works with madrasahs to inform parents about the policy of limiting the Sec 1 posting exercise to mainstream pupils, he added.
Parents of private candidates are also informed of MOE's policy through its website.