SINGAPORE: Ninety-six per cent of students in Singapore passed their International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) examinations in 2013.
That is higher than the global pass rate of 80 per cent.
Singapore's average score for 2013, 36.5, was also higher than the world average, beating countries like Australia (34.2), the United Kingdom (33.6) and China (32.6).
At School of the Arts (SOTA), music student Brenda Koh is one of the International Baccaleaureate's star performers.
She said the broad-based, six-year course covered topics beyond the arts and made her a better artist.
Brenda said: "I didn't want an education that was only going to focus on the arts too much, because I feel I have to know happenings around the world, to keep myself in touch with what other people are doing, in other subjects, in other fields.
“The arts is about expressing yourself, but you have to express yourself in relation to what you're experiencing in your environment and the people around you."
The only national arts school that offers the IB diploma programme in Singapore, SOTA's 110 students who sat for the exam all passed and got their diplomas, upholding the benchmark set by its first batch of students who graduated in 2012.
More than half of them obtained a score of between 40 and 45 points, with 26 students achieving top scores of 42 points and above.
This is better than the showing among the 2012 graduating cohort -- 43.75 per cent of the cohort obtained a score of between 40 and 45 points.
The 2013 graduating students scored 39.18 points on average, higher than the Singapore average of 36.53 points and global average of 29.95 points.
SOTA said the 2013 graduating cohort performed particularly well in the Group 6 (Arts), with a mean score of 6 to 7 points in Dance, Film, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts at Higher Level.
Yang Tien, head of the faculty of music at SOTA, said: "It shows first and foremost that the study of the arts is not ‘airy-fairy’, which is the stereotype in Singapore, but the fact that it is grounded in academic understanding, and there must be the rigorous training required in the thinking."
A total of 1,747 students in Singapore sat for the 2013 exam.
Singapore produced 43 perfect scorers, and 32 of them came from Anglo-Chinese Independent School.
Eighty-one per cent of ACS (Independent) students also scored more than 40 points.
20 schools in the country offer the IBDP, which prepares students for university and offers broader academic subjects for study compared to other exam programmes such as the GCE 'A' levels.
In addition to six academic subjects in language, the humanities and sciences, IB diploma students also have to do independent research for a 4,000 word essay, and do community service as part of the programme. - CNA/fa/gn
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