The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a mandatory and important national examination for all Primary 6 students (12 years old) in Singapore. The PSLE tests students on English, Mother Tongue, Math and Science.
The aggregated T-score is the main tool for determining the secondary schools they qualify to enter. It is natural, therefore, that anxious parents are keen to send their children to tuition classes or engage private tutors to ensure that their children are performing at their best. With the proliferation of tuition centres, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has required that all tuition centres’ teachers have a minimum GCE ‘O’ level qualification, in order for the centres to be qualified as MOE-registered.
In 2004, the MOE introduced the Direct School Admissions (DSA) as another pathway to allow talented children with niche skills to enter their schools of choice so as to contribute to the secondary schools and to enrich their talents. As long as these students are accepted by the secondary schools through DSA, they will only need to have a minimum PSLE score of 200 to secure their secondary school places.
Many good secondary schools are autonomous schools. These schools allow them to dictate the curriculum and teacher-hiring to run the special curriculum and programmes for their students. They offer a choice of a four-year programme leading to GCE ‘O’ level, or a six-year integrated programme (IP), also known as the through-train programme leading to the GCE ‘A’ level. Popular schools are NUS High, Hwa Chong Institute (HCI), Raffles Institution (RI), Raffles Girls’ School (RGS), Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (SCGS) and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School. Students are usually accepted through DSA or based on their PSLE score.
Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) prides itself as the only girls’ school offering an IP programme leading to International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP). School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA), Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) or ACS(I) and St Joseph’s Institution (SJI) are a few unique, excellent schools that have a six-year integrated programme leading to International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB DP).
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