I delivered the following speech during the Ministry of Education’s Committee of Supply debate today.
Madam, I have spoken about piloting primary through secondary integrated schools every year since I entered this House. I am glad that other honourable members like Mr Laurence Lien and Ms Denise Phua have also made similar calls.
Singaporean children must study in public schools unless they are granted permission by MOE to be schooled at home or in international schools. They have to go through the PSLE, which is in effect a sorting test to determine academic streams and secondary schools admission.
Even with the ongoing review, the PSLE will still be used to sort students. The stress of early high-stake tests will still be there.
Madam, I understand that some parents will want a competitive system and for their children enter into what they believe as the best schools. There are however, parents like myself who would rather have our children go through primary and secondary education in the same school, without PSLE. The brand of schools had not mattered to me. Such an integrated system is available in many countries, including those that have fared well in education benchmarks. This choice is not available here.
I urge MOE to study the feasibility to pilot such integrated schools. We can leave out the top schools in the pilot so that this does not become a back-door. We have years of holistic assessments experience and capable educators. We can use these strengths to make such schools as good schools too.