SINGAPORE: More students qualify for secondary schools this year as compared to last year, with 97.6 per cent obtaining a pass for the Primary School Leaving Examination.
The passing rate last year was 97.4 per cent.
This is also the first time that the Ministry of Education is not naming the top scorers in the national examination... in a break from its practice of many years.
At Nanyang Primary School, a sense of anticipation fills the air.
The school has done exceptionally well this year, with 45 students obtaining aggregate scores above 270, and a 100 per cent pass in English Language.
Among them was Shermaine Ang who obtained 275 points, and done so without any tuition.
Beyond good grades, the prefect is also an all—rounder, having clinched two good character awards while balancing her time between Chinese calligraphy and guzheng (a Chinese instrument) in school.
Shermaine Ang said: "I believe that enriching myself is important as well, not only by academic, but on a holistic one. Learning extra, not just to do well and succeed in life but more about learning about the culture, learning about other things, learn about how we can do many things besides studying. Studying’s important too, but having other activities also helps you relax, relieve stress as well."
Seng Kang Primary School has also reported an improvement in the number of students who have obtained 250 points and above.
Naturally inquisitive Lee Xuan Jin credits the supportive environment in his school for helping him achieve 274 points.
He hopes to enter the Integrated Programme at Hwa Chong Institution.
Lee Xuan Jin said: "Hwa Chong Institution, it focuses more on the bilingual culture, so because I like both cultures, I would like to go to Hwa Chong, then I can expose myself to more knowledge."
Result slips show the highest aggregate score this year is 285.
And Channel NewsAsia understands that one student in Nanyang Primary is a top scorer in the PSLE.
It is the first time the MOE is not revealing the top scorer of the PSLE, and so far, reaction has been mixed. Some parents say it’s a matter of time before they find out through word of mouth, while others say it does not matter to them who the top scorer is as long as their own children have done their best.
Internet forums like the one at kiasuparents.com, however, were abuzz with speculation on who the top scorer could be.
Jean Lai, a parent, said: "Actually I feel a little sad for children who have done really well because I think they should be honoured for what they have done for their good results."
Shermaine Ang added: "Personally I feel it’s not a very good move because as a student, I understand how tough the competition is, and especially this year is the dragon year, so there’re many more candidates taking the examination. I feel that if they release the result and tell us who the top scorer is, it’s a benchmark for us, and we can do even better after this exam. It spurs our juniors on, makes them do even better.
"In recent years, the neighbourhood schools all that have got top scorers as well, so I think it’s a really good motivation for the students from other schools as well, not only from my school, or other so—called brand—name schools. I don’t believe there’s a separation between brand—name and neighbourhood schools. I think we’re all equal."
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has said on his Facebook page the ministry’s move in not naming the top scorer is "not to address stress per se, or move away from merit".
He said the PSLE is not the be—all and end—all, and there are now more avenues to recognise success.
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