SINGAPORE - Children of alumni will have only one phase reserved for them in the Primary 1 registration exercise instead of separate phases for those who have joined alumni associations and those who have not.
The change will take effect next year, said the Ministry of Education (MOE), which announced this along with other changes, such as an increase in the number of places in phase 2C, on Thursday (Sept 9).
This comes about six months after a review of the registration process was announced in Parliament by then Education Minister Lawrence Wong in March.
Before the changes, two phases were set aside for children of alumni - phases 2A(1) and 2A(2).
Phase 2A(1) was reserved for children whose parents had joined the school's alumni association or are members of its advisory or management committee.
Phase 2A(2) was reserved for alumni who were not members of the association; children of staff; and children in the MOE kindergarten located within the primary school.
The ministry said priority for alumni members was introduced in the 1999 Primary 1 registration exercise to encourage stronger alumni and community support for schools.
It said: "Over time, more stakeholders such as former students and alumni associations have been actively contributing in their own ways to the schools.
"It is timely to review the fine differentiation of priority between stakeholders in phases 2A(1) and 2A(2)."
MOE added that the increase in reserved places for phase 2C will result in fewer places in earlier phases, such as those reserved for alumni.
"We expect that several schools would end up with relatively few or even no places left for phase 2A(2) registrants, if we continue to maintain the differentiation of priority between the two phases," it added.
Stiff competition at popular schools with strong alumni networks means that some schools are often full at the end of phase 2A(1) and unable to offer places in phase 2A(2).
This year, phase 2A(2) began with six schools already full up from 2A(1) and ended with 12 schools holding a ballot.
The schools included Gongshang Primary, Holy Innocents' Primary, Nan Hua Primary and Rulang Primary, according to the MOE website on July 21.
MOE also said the changes will help its objective of providing priority admission for children at MOE kindergartens who had been eligible for Phase 2A2.
This year, The Straits Times reported that more than 70 per cent of the 3,400 Kindergarten 2 children graduating from MOE kindergartens registered for a place at the affiliated primary schools usually located in the same compound.
About 28 per cent registered under Phase 1 of the ongoing Primary 1 registration exercise, while about 43 per cent registered under Phase 2A(2), said MOE in response to queries from ST.
There are now 36 MOE kindergartens, with plans to increase the total to 57 by 2025. Eight are opening next year and seven more in 2023.
Most of them are located within the premises of a primary school. They include MOE Kindergarten @ Anchor Green, which is in Anchor Green Primary, and MOE Kindergarten @ Horizon, which is in Horizon Primary.