Three key developments in education

Serangoon JC will be absorbed by Anderson JC as part of a merger exercise under which 14 schools will be absorbed by others. This is the first time that junior colleges are being merged.
Serangoon JC will be absorbed by Anderson JC as part of a merger exercise under which 14 schools will be absorbed by others. This is the first time that junior colleges are being merged.ST FILE PHOTO

1. A FIFTH OF AFFILIATED SECONDARY SCHOOL PLACES TO BE SET ASIDE FOR NON-AFFILIATED STUDENTS

From 2019, 20 per cent of places in the 27 affiliated secondary schools will be set aside for students who do not benefit from affiliation priority.

The Secondary 1 entry requirements for students from affiliated schools are lower than those for applicants from non-affiliated primary schools.

Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said the quota was being implemented as the Government has to ensure that schools are open to all students, regardless of their backgrounds or connections.

Mr Ng also said, however, that affiliation helps to foster a strong school spirit and preserve schools' traditions and ethos.

The 20 per cent figure was derived from the Ministry of Education's 2014 policy of reserving 40 places in a typical school's Primary 1 enrolment of 210, for pupils with no prior connections to the school during the Primary 1 registration exercise.

 


2. 8 JUNIOR COLLEGES AMONG 28 SCHOOLS TO BE MERGED

Four junior colleges (JCs) will be absorbed by other JCs by 2019, bringing the number of JCs down to 19.

Serangoon JC will be absorbed by Anderson JC, Tampines JC by Meridian JC, Innova JC by Yishun JC, and Pioneer JC by Jurong JC.

This is part of a merger exercise under which 14 schools will be absorbed by others.

The move is a result of falling enrolment, and marks the first time that JCs are being merged.

The Ministry of Education explained that for some of them, annual intakes would have dipped to the 200-to-300 range over the next few years, lower than optimal levels of between 700 and 800.

Schools were also selected based on location, to ensure a good spread across the country.

The four JCs will not take in JC1 students next year, while current cohorts will complete their A-level studies at the same school.


3. APPRENTICESHIP DEGREE SCHEME LAUNCHED FOR UNDERGRADS

A new scheme modelled after the renowned German and Swiss system of apprenticeship started in January, allowing undergraduates to work and study at the same time.

Students from the Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Social Sciences could do so under the SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programmes.

The scheme aims to better support the growing number of degree holders here amid a more challenging job landscape.

It is meant to ensure that the skills that students pick up are directly relevant to their intended industry of choice, and to support workers who want to upgrade their skills through a degree course.

Close to 200 people applied this year for 65 places on offer under the scheme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2017, with the headline 'Three key developments in education'. Print Edition | Subscribe