SINGAPORE - About 45 per cent of pupils who joined the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) over the last five years live in Housing Board flats, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (March 9).
The pupils selected for the GEP came from 60 per cent of Singapore's primary schools, he added in response to a question from Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC).
This works out to about 109 out of Singapore's 182 primary schools.
Mr Perera had asked the Minister for Education for the percentage breakdown of students admitted into the GEP by housing type, their parents' education levels, race and financial assistance status.
Mr Chan added that schools offer a range of programmes for the diverse aptitudes and learning needs of their students.
He said: "This includes the various learning support programmes for low-progress students, as well as the GEP and school-based provisions for high ability learners in our primary schools."
The GEP was introduced in 1984 and is offered at nine primary schools, including Anglo-Chinese Primary, Nan Hua Primary and Rosyth School.
It caters to the needs of intellectually gifted students, according to the Ministry of Education's (MOE) website.
Pupils are identified for the programme through a two-stage exercise in Primary 3 and selected pupils are invited to join it in Primary 4.
On Tuesday (March 8), Mr Perera also made a speech asking for the release of socio-economic and demographic data in schools here.
He said that he had filed a question in November last year asking for data on the socio-economic backgrounds of students admitted into different categories of secondary schools, such as government, government-aided and independent schools.
He said: "I wanted to find out the extent to which students from well-off families were concentrated in the more popular and well-resourced group of schools."
In response, Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman said that most schools have good representation from different socio-economic backgrounds, but that the MOE's fundamental objective is not to achieve identical profiles for every school.