98.8% of PSLE pupils at madrasahs make it to secondary school

All but four of the 352 madrasah pupils who sat the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) this year have qualified for secondary school, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said yesterday. This is a 0.3 percentage point improvement over last year's result involving pupils enrolled in madrasahs, or Islamic religious schools.

Muis noted the challenging environment caused by Covid-19 in the lead-up to the national exam, and added that the proportion of Primary 6 madrasah pupils progressing to secondary school has been stable over the past five years.

Muis chief executive Kadir Maideen said the result is a reflection of the resilience of not just the pupils, but also the teachers and parents.

"It has been a tough battle handling Covid-19 and preparing for the exams," he said.

"I would especially thank our madrasah teachers who have worked tirelessly to prepare the pupils well for PSLE."

Nur Haziqah Mohammad Azar, who is diagnosed with dyspraxia, a disorder which affects movement and coordination, sat the PSLE as a pupil of Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah. The 12-year-old, who qualified for the Express course, said: "I'm happy with the overall results. There have been challenges but I have overcome them with the support of my family, friends and my teachers.

"I hope to continue to study hard and do well in school and pursue my passion for maths and maybe one day become a scientist."

Her mother Norjiha Kamsani said: "I am at a loss for words, I just cannot believe it. She has done so well and we are so happy for her."

In 2018, Nur Haziqah was awarded the bronze medal in the Maths Olympiad and a scholarship from the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries. This year, she received the Madrasah Student Award, given to the top 5 per cent of best performers and the top 5 per cent of best improved students in secular and religious subjects.

Muis said that with Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah clearing the PSLE benchmark twice in a three-year block (2020 to 2022), it will now be able to continue to take in pupils at Primary 1.

In its statement, Muis said that since January, through the support of the Ministry of Education, it has facilitated madrasahs in enhancing the quality of maths and science teaching at the primary level.

In addition, Muis rolled out Centres of Excellence and Collaboration this year that allowed individual madrasahs to focus on a particular area, build deeper expertise and offer relevant developmental programmes to the other madrasahs.

One of the participants, Madrasah Irsyad, opted to be a centre for primary school maths as well as Stem subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Mr Kadir said that Muis will continue to build and expand such programmes to support and strengthen the madrasahs.

Separately, Muis said that it will continue to extend its PSLE Assistance Package to all full-time madrasahs students taking the national exam.

This year, Muis provided $218,700 in grants to a total of 729 Primary 5 and 6 pupils, or $300 per recipient, to help support them in their studies and preparation for the PSLE.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2021, with the headline '98.8% of PSLE pupils at madrasahs make it to secondary school'. Subscribe