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Fri, Nov 21, 2008
my paper
First batch of home-schoolers do well in PSLE

By Dawn Tay

WHILE most children are enjoying the holidays, 12-year-old Simon Rocknathan is looking forward to school next year after collecting his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results yesterday.

He was among the first batch of 31 home-schoolers who took the PSLE this year under the Compulsory Education Act. Pupils from madrasahs and San Yu Adventist School, a private institution, also took the exam for the first time.

Home-schoolers did fairly well - 92 per cent made the secondary- school grade, while 73 per cent qualified for the Express stream. This year, 97 per cent of the 49,856 pupils in national schools made it to secondary school, with 64 per cent qualifying for Express.

While parents of PSLE home-schoolers are happy, they have some questions which they hope the Ministry of Education (MOE) could address.

Simon's father, Mr George Rocknathan, 42, who owns education and consultancy firms, asked why there is "a different benchmark for home-schoolers when they took the same exam".

Two of the seven pupils who must re-sit their exam next year had grades that would have qualified them for secondary school.

But they did not meet the benchmark of a score of 191 set by MOE for home-schoolers.

Also, home-schoolers have to approach secondary schools directly for posting or they can go to MOE for assistance.

Occupational therapist Johnny Tan, 40, hopes that MOE could reconsider the rule.

He said: "Even though we chose to home-school our children, we followed the stipulations set by MOE."

His home-schooled son, Jeremiah, took the PSLE this year.

Overall, parents are proud of their children?s achievements.

As Mr Rocknathan said: "We hope home-schooling can be seen as a valid choice for parents if they want to change their child's learning environment."

Meanwhile, Simon is keeping his fingers crossed that with his respectable aggregate of 240, he will be able to join his peers in secondary school.


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