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Announce top PSLE scorer from neighbourhood schools

The Straits Times | Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014

Ms Vivien Tan's suggestion to relocate some Bukit Timah primary schools to the heartland to ensure a better mix of pupils ("Consider relocating some Bukit Timah primary schools"; April 19) may be a challenging one for the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Some of the popular primary schools in Bukit Timah already have direct affiliations with their secondary schools, which are also in the same compound.

Such an arrangement facilitates school administration, management of primary and secondary school students under one roof, and forges bonding between juniors and seniors via joint school activities.

Even if the primary schools were separated and relocated to the heartland, children of alumni or those with siblings who study there will get priority, leaving not many vacancies for heartlanders.

This defeats the purpose of the relocation.

In 2012, MOE decided to stop announcing the top Primary School Leaving Examination scorer (PSLE), in a move to reduce excessive competition and stress.

I suggest that the ministry reconsider this. It should permit the media to publicise top pupils from neighbourhood primary schools only.

This will highlight the strengths and niches of neighbourhood primary schools and dispel misconceptions that neighbourhood schools are not as good.

The success of each student does not hinge on the school's popularity or name.

On the contrary, it depends on dedicated and caring teachers, students' attitude towards work, and motivated and disciplined students who manage their time well. Peer influence also plays a part.

As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in 2012, at the 30th anniversary dinner of Townsville Primary in his Teck Ghee ward ("PSLE not the be-all and end-all: PM"; Nov 17, 2012), Townsville Primary's success is also due to its dedicated teachers, a strong parent support group and supportive alumni.

Letter from Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)

This article was published on April 28 in The Straits Times.

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