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Factors for picking secondary schools [opinion]

    A recent article suggests factors to consider for picking secondary schools.

    As well meaning as the article is tries, if parents want their kids to go into JC, then the only consideration is if that school has a through train IP program.

    Everything else is secondary (pun unintended).

    Picking secondary schools: IP program

    An IP program is curated for the smarter students to go through an academic program without worrying about the downtime.

    The rational being that a good part of the year in secondary 4 students spend time preparing for the final O level exams.

    Consequently, schools design a richer curriculum for their students in replacement of exam preparations.

    On one hand, this means the child will not have to worry about the ‘O’ level exams (streaming).

    On the other, the richer curriculum may cover academic and non-academic experiences.

    Some schools send their students out to gain industry experiences like research attachments.

    Other schools create specialized classes where students undergo higher academic rigor, such as the Raffles Academy in Raffles Institution.

    There are some schools that just go ahead and start the JC curriculum in year 4 anyway.

    This is really important for the students as it places them ahead of their compatriots because they have more time to develop through years 1-4.

    Picking secondary schools: distance?

    Let me pour through each of the points of consideration the article states.


    Yes I do agree that distance to school is an important consideration when picking secondary schools.

    Which is why many parents decide to shift and rent near to the school, which also increases the chance getting their kids into IP schools.

    The example of Johorians traveling into Singapore is kinda moot.

    They do travel a long ways off, that is because they are in a different country.

    Because oping for a Singaporean education is a better choice. And they do so anyway despite the distance.

    The reason why they are willing to travel because of the hope that it will provide them with the best education they can receive. And that’s the same consideration for many parents for their kids.

    Since the Singaporean infrastructure is top notch there is no problems getting from one end of the island to another.

    More importantly, getting the students to travel to school forces them develop independence and resilience.

    If you ask the Johorian students, complains are few and far between.

    This is because they appreciate the chance they have as many countrymen cannot afford the chance.

    Ask the same of the locals and some even whine about the walk to school because of the weather.

    Who do you think is more likely to succeed in life?

    Picking secondary schools: CCAs offered?

    The article bring in examples where some CCAs are unique that one should look forward to when picking secondary schools.

    To the neighborhood school that is.

    It is not unusual if one were to go to an IP school.

    The more prestigious schools have a larger students intake and it allows the school to budget for and support various CCAs.

    And a quick browse through the National School Games website and you begin to see who are the dominant sports groups. They mostly come from prestigious schools.

    Special programs?

    AEPs and MEPs are traditional IP school strengths.

    So I wonder what the author was thinking when writing this point when advising about picking secondary schools?!

    Picking secondary schools: culture and religion?

    The author goes on to state that many schools have cultural differences one should be sensitive to when picking secondary schools.

    Specifically, some Christian mission schools have morning devotions or weekly chapel services.

    Well, guess what? The schools that have the ability to offer that are the more ‘prestigious’ schools anyway.

    On the other hand, is the author trying to suggest that some schools offer ‘better’ culture/religion than others for their kids?

    Special needs?

    Actually there are already schools who cater specifically to special needs.

    And these schools tend not to be a mainstream school because the latter just cannot meet the needs.

    And these should be the options parents consider in the first place.

    So the advice to picking secondary schools that is not ‘prestigious’ is completely moot.


    I get that the article is trying to push for the idea of opting for admissions into ‘non-elite’ schools.

    So that parents don’t chase for grades for their kids in the process.

    But unfortunately the reasons are pretty weak which is why majority of parents are still grades chasing.

    Because they want the best for their kids and they know where to put them in.

    Finally, let me know if this has been useful.

    Education commentary sitemap:
    No PSLE? Bad idea!
    Picking secondary schools
    A values driven education
    The education of Seth Yee
    Kid with tuition fare worse?
    Low standard of Singapore schools
    Paper qualifications not important?
    Go to an average neighborhood school?
    Foolish to think that the old ways of planning education…