S'pore A-level students achieve best passing rate since 2006 despite Covid-19 disruptions

Students receiving their A level results at the Anderson Serangoon Junior College on Feb 19, 2021.
Students receiving their A level results at the Anderson Serangoon Junior College on Feb 19, 2021.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Students in Singapore who sat the GCE A-level examination last year achieved the best passing rate since 2006 despite the difficult circumstances brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The number of students who attained at least three H2 passes, with a pass in General Paper (GP) or Knowledge and Inquiry (KI), was 10,905, or 93.6 per cent of the total 11,646 candidates, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessments Board (SEAB) said in a joint press release on Friday (Feb 19).

The result was slightly better than the 93.4 per cent achieved in 2019.

Like in 2020, students who returned to their schools on Friday to collect their results had to do so in their classrooms, instead of as a cohort in the school hall. This was due to safe management measures.

Those who sat the exams last year also had to cope with the sudden shift from in-person teaching to home-based learning (HBL) as the pandemic forced schools to move lessons online.

"The sudden shift towards HBL was especially challenging for me. School routines and a structured environment were less accessible, so it required a lot of self-discipline on my end," said Mr Luqman Nurhakim Mohd Ramle, a former student of Jurong Pioneer Junior College.

The 19-year-old, who is now serving his national service in the Singapore Civil Defence Force, decided to switch from the science stream to the arts stream after being retained in Year 1 of junior college.

"It was difficult to convince my parents that the decision was the right one as I come from a family who is into the sciences, but after I made the switch my results starting improving rapidly," said Mr Luqman, whose father and elder brother are engineers.

Reconsidering his subject choices allowed him to nurture his love for economics by switching from offering it at H1 level to H2.


Mr Luqman Nurhakim Mohd Ramle decided to switch from the science stream to the arts stream after being retained in Year 1 of junior college. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

"I love the subject because it allows me to understand things that I see happening around me, like income inequality, and think about possible solutions to them," said Mr Luqman, who hopes to go to the London School of Economics.

Schools congratulated their students on their achievements despite the trying situation created by the pandemic.

"We would like to congratulate the Class of 2020 for achieving a stellar set of results at the A-level Examinations. The excellent results, achieved in the face of Covid-19 disruptions, are testament to the Rafflesian spirit of fortitude and resilience embodied by our students," said Raffles Institution.

The school said that 98 per cent of its students achieved a pass.

Hwa Chong Institution also extended its well wishes to its former students.

"Our students displayed the Hwa Chong spirit of resilience and tenacity and demonstrated commitment and dedication during an unprecedented time," it said.

"Despite the physical constraints posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, they continued to serve the community whole-heartedly, contributing more than 100 Service Learning Projects and benefiting more than 150 beneficiaries organisations," Hwa Chong said in a release on Friday.