SINGAPORE - Primary 1 registration for next year will open on June 29, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Thursday (May 19).
The registration exercise will be conducted online - as it has been for the past two years - and there will not be any in-person registration at schools, the ministry said on its website.
This year, more Primary 1 places will be set aside for children who do not qualify for priority admission.
The number of places reserved for this group will be doubled to 40, MOE announced last year.
These places will be parked under Phase 2C of the annual exercise, where priority is given to those who live nearby.
Since 2014, when MOE decided to set aside 20 places a year for Phase 2C, competition has intensified, the ministry has said.
Last year, one in three schools had to undergo balloting in Phase 2C for Singaporeans living within 1km of the school, up from one in four schools that balloted in the same category in 2014.
This year, MOE will also combine Phase 2A(1) and Phase 2A(2).
This means children whose parents are in the alumni association will not have priority over those who have parents or siblings who used to study in the school. They will now compete in the same phase.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing last September said the changes are meant to ensure that schools remain accessible, open and inclusive.
He added that the number of pupils who can access a school near their home without affiliation has fallen in recent years.
The announcement in September last year drew mixed reactions from parents. Some welcomed the moves, saying they could make the system fairer. But others feared increased competition and balloting for places.
Property experts also chimed in at the time, saying sale and rental prices of homes near popular primary schools could rise as the new places prioritise Singaporeans living closer to the schools of their choice.
This means those who can afford to buy homes near popular schools may stand to benefit from these changes, they added.
Housewife and Novena resident Y. N. Choo, 42, echoed these fears, saying she is concerned that more places will go to families that can afford to stay within 2km of schools.
Mrs Choo, who is registering her son for Primary 1 this year, said she understands the need to improve diversity by increasing the number of places in Phase 2C, but is concerned that it could make schools socio-economically less diverse.
She said: “Under the new rules, a primary school could be very quickly filled with kids who live in specific areas, which could compound the problem of elitism in rich areas like Bukit Timah or Holland Village.”
Phases and key dates
For children with older siblings currently enrolled in the school of their choice.
All children registered under this phase are guaranteed places in the schools.
Starts at 9am on Wednesday, June 29, and ends at 4.30pm on Thursday, June 30.
For children who have a parent or sibling who is a former pupil of the primary school, including those who have joined the alumni association of the school.
Also for children who have a parent who is a member of the school advisory or management committee or a staff member of the primary school.
Includes children from the MOE Kindergarten within the primary school.
Starts at 9am on Wednesday, July 6, and ends on 4.30pm on Friday, July 8.
Results: July 18
For parents who are volunteers at the school, those endorsed by the church or clan directly connected to the school, and those endorsed as active community leaders.
Opens at 9am on Tuesday, July 19, and ends at 4.30pm on Wednesday, July 20.
Results: July 26
For eligible children who have not yet secured a place in a primary school.
Opens at 9am on Wednesday, July 27, and ends at 4.30pm on Friday, July 29.
Results: Aug 10
Phase 2C (Supplementary)
For those who did not register in Phase 2C.
Opens at 9am on Monday, Aug 15, and ends at 4.30pm on Tuesday, Aug 16.
Results: Aug 25
MOE will notify parents of the results via SMS.