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Aug 25, 2013

Ways Done in the Past - School Admission

This is not a posed photo with actors and actresses in a film-shoot for a movie or documentary TV program.

Primary One School Admission

The archived photo taken in 1970 and other selected relevant photos on this blog topic are curated from the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) with thanks and acknowledgement.  These are real-life photos of Singaporean parents, grandparents or great-grandparents to join overnight queues at schools all over Singapore to register for primary one school admission in the 1970s.

Night-Shift Queue

Armed  with pillows, food baskets, drinks and warm clothings, these anxious parents queued over-night at a school to secure admission of their children to a particular school of their choice.

Day-Shift Queue

Bags and stones placed by parents to 'reserve' places in the queue outside the school.  It was fear that their children might not be registered within the intake that brought them rushing to the schools early parents maintained that this 'First Come, First Serve' basis had much to do with the school of their choice.  (Source: NAS).

Many decades ago, as it is present and in the future in Singapore, the importance of education for our children is top priority for every generation.  Education is compulsory in Singapore and every parents are aware of the needs of their children to start schooling as early as possible.

Speaking from experience, the social and economic circumstances in Singapore about 6 decades ago was very different.  At that time of the earlier stages of Singapore's development and nationhood, there were not as many schools for young Singaporeans to attend school.  Education was not compulsory then.

Due to the prevailing reasons of the lower income family and poorer children who grew up in the kampong, not every child has the opportunity to receive formal education in the schools. 

In the early 1950s and after the Japanese Occupation, the parents and other family members who were unable to earn a regular income to earn a living, schooling for the children was not top priority.  Many families with financial hardship were living daily from hand to mouth just to survive.

Over 48 years of vast changes to improve the education system in independent Singapore, every child has the chance to attend school.  The Ministry of Education provides financial assistance to needy Singapore Citizen students in Government or Government-aided schools so that all Singaporeans, regardless of their financial background, can benefit from the best opportunities in education ... to nurture the younger generations of Singaporeans for the future.

The mindset of the parents in the early days were different compared to the better educated, more affluent parents of today. So are the opportunities offered to the students to do their best to fulfill every individual's potentials and the quest for education; starting at a young age as early as possible. 

As the ways done today with balloting systems for school admission, there are no longer day-shift queues or night-shift queues as shown in the above photos.  The rest is history.

Secondary School Admission

Since the days of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) decades ago,  the choice of the students to be admitted to a secondary school for continuation studies are based on the PSLE results of the individual students.

At Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally 2013:  "Wider bands for PSLE grading, changes to P1 school admission" to read the Yahoo News in text and watch the full-length video in English  here .

"National Day Rally 2013 - New PSLE Scoring System" on YouTube. Uploaded by Peter Nuh.



Blogger PChew said...

The pictures of parents lining up to register their kids for primary schools reminded me of 1970 when I queue up overnight to register my eldest son at St Stephens Primary School.

But not all schools had the same practice. At one very good school in town between Bras Basah Road and Middle Road, I was promised a place for my son by a staff. At the interview the school principal showed me a string of calling cards. They were CEO, GM, Directors, etc all holding high positions. I did not have one and the answer from the principal was obvious. St Stephens School was my second choice.I have no regret, my son is a businessman in US.

October 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger PChew said...

Your pictures took me back to 1970 when I queue up overnight to register for my eldest son at St Stephens Primary School.

My first choice was for a school in town between Bras Basah Road and Middle Road. There was no que at all as I was promised a place by a school staff. The School Principal interviewed me. He showed me strings of business cards. All holding high positions like CEO, GM, Directors, Chairman etc. When I could not produce one, the answer was obvious.

The school I referred to was a very reputable. It has been relocated to another area. One the student is now leading our country.

I have no regret about the incidence for my son is now doing well in US.

October 4, 2013 at 6:12 PM  

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