Starting from next year's Primary 1 admissions exercise, every primary school will set aside at least 40 places for children with no prior connections, as the Government seeks to open up access to all schools to a wider swathe of society.
The figure constitutes about 10 to 15 per cent of each school's enrolment and will give every Singaporean child a chance to enter the primary school of his choice, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday.
The current process gives priority to siblings and children of alumni and helps schools develop unique traditions and identities.
Popular schools used to have places for children with no prior connections but over time these places have shrunk, as seen from this year's admissions exercise, said PM Lee.
Primary schools cannot be "closed institutions", he added, and if the Goverment does nothing, one day these schools may have no such places left at all.