primary school registration
Recently, there has been a furore among parents with young children over plans by the education ministry to 'review' the current primary school registration process as the current system gives priority to certain groups of people, much to the chagrin of others.
I belong to a group who has some 'slight advantage' over others as I graduated from one of the local top schools - that 'automatically' qualifies Claire for a place for the school. Never mind that we stay a good 30 - 40 mins drive away from the school. However, being a single gender school, we will need to seek alternative schools for the boys, adding to our logistics woe in the future. Our current residence is in a private estate and the nearest school is 1.3km away. We have started looking at properties nearer to school for Claire, which means that we will have to move out of our comfort zone in the east. To make matters worse, property prices have escalated to ridiculous levels with suburban properties going above S$1,000 psf - meaning a 1,000 sq ft private apartment would easily cost S$1m!
Thus, I am advocating a complete scrap of the current system and replacing with the following:
Phase 1 - citizen families with 3 or more kids get to select the school of their choice. this has multiple benefits, namely boosting our declining birth rate and eventually, reducing our dependence on FOREIGN TALENT and simply more reasonable logistically since parents will only need to choose 1 school for their children (if they have children of both genders).
Phase 2 - citizen families with 2 kids (as above)
Phase 3 - citizen families with 1 kid to ballot if required (i.e. demand more than supply), otherwise automatic enrollment as well; if there is a need to differentiate between locally born and bred citizens, then one more ballot for those whose fathers have served their NS obligations since it is a sacrifice that our men has undertaken.
Phase 4 - remaining spaces open for balloting for PRs then foreigners.
This is essentially a 'Singaporeans First' policy. I have to stress that I am NOT against foreign immigrants - I am, however, against freeloaders. There are ample reports on the internet about migrants who make plans to give up their PR status (or even citizenship since some countries have a U-turn policies for those who gave up their citizenship earlier) once their offsprings are due for NS or when they find greener pastures in other countries. Since we are born and bred here, as with our children, in a way, we have no other choices. PRs and foreigners on the other hand, can opt for international schools, an option not available to us. Many of them opt for local schools simply because of the cost.
A registration process like I suggested will even out the playing field for every citizen - no more alumni/old boy/old girl priority, no issues of property prices escalating further around popular schools, no more exploiting poor parents' precious time doing meaningless, mundane tasks as parent volunteers.
The downside, however, would be for couples who have trouble conceiving - these groups may feel marginalized though its no fault of theirs. For these individuals, the govt. can do more to help them with fertility treatment since these are people who are willing to have more children but are unable to. However, it must be noted that there has to be a cut-off age for such help since it is medically proven that egg quality deteriorates as women ages. This may in turn encourage more couples to get married and start their family at a younger age.