ST Explainers: PSLE grading, rail financing, South China Sea ruling

It has been an action-packed fortnight. At home, headlines were dominated by the announcement of the new rail financing framework, the new PSLE grading system and the signing of the MOU on the Singapore-KL High Speed Rail. Internationally, The Hague issued a ruling on the South China Sea, Britain gained a new premier and Cabinet, and the focus in the US presidential race turned to vice-presidential candidates.

PSLE to have 8 scoring bands

Major changes to the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) grading system were announced by the Ministry of Education on July 13. Instead of the current T-score, eight scoring bands called Achievement Levels (ALs) will be used. For an explainer on why the changes will be implemented and the details of the ALs, go to

High-speed rail MOU signed

Three years in the making, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the historic high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was signed in Putrajaya on July 19. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak witnessed the signing, which heralded the formal start of work on the project. For details on the project, read our listicle and watch a video at

Govt to take over SMRT's assets

After four years of negotiation, SMRT and the Land Transport Authority announced a new rail financing framework under which the Government will take over SMRT's operating assets from Oct 1. Find out nine things about the deal at

New woman in Downing Street

The fallout from Brexit continued as Mrs Theresa May took office as Britain's new prime minister on July 13. We look at why the 59-year-old has frequently been compared to Britain's famous Iron Lady, Mrs Margaret Thatcher.

Also in the spotlight is the new First Husband, Mr Philip May, a relationship manager with the Capital Group. His sense of style has turned him into an unlikely social media object of scrutiny too. Read more about the man behind the woman.

Running mates in US election

As Mr Donald Trump and Mrs Hillary Clinton geared up to pick their running mates in the United States presidential race, ST Explainers took a look into the crystal ball to assess their likely vice-presidential picks.

The three Republicans who made the shortlist,, included Mr Trump's eventual choice, Mr Mike Pence.

Mrs Clinton has a more open field to choose from, with five potential Democratic candidates.

Ruling on South China Sea

An Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague issued a landmark ruling on July 12, declaring that China had no legal basis to claim historic rights to resources in the South China Sea. We crunch down the details of the decision, and how the countries involved reacted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2016, with the headline 'ST Explainers: PSLE grading, rail financing, South China Sea ruling'. Print Edition | Subscribe