Beginning with the Primary 1 (P1) Registration Exercise in 2022, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will allocate more places to Phase 2C of the exercise, while Phases 2A1 and 2A2 will be combined into single Phase 2A.
Speaking on the matter, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing said that there was a decline in the number of students who were able to access schools near their home without affiliation in recent years.
More places based on proximity
Hence, MOE will reserve more places in Phase 2C for children who live near a primary school but have no prior links to it, he said.
MOE noted that competition for Phase 2C of the P1 registration has intensified, even though 20 places for each primary school have been reserved for this phase since the 2014 P1 Registration Exercise.
Currently, Phase 2C is open to children who have not yet been registered in a primary school, while Phases 2A1, 2A2 and 2B, are open to children whose parents have links to a primary school in various ways as seen below.
Phase 2C places to be doubled, places for Phases 2A2 expected to shrink as a result
The number of places in each primary school for Phase 2C will be doubled from 20 to 40, starting with the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise.
Meanwhile, Phases 2A1 and 2A2 will be combined into a single Phase 2A, as the increase in the number of places for Phase 2C will mean fewer places for earlier phases.
MOE added, "We expect that several schools would end up with relatively few or even no places left for Phase 2A2 registrants, if we continue to maintain the differentiation of priority between Phase 2A1 and Phase 2A2 registrants."
The combination will therefore ensure that all P2A2 registrants will have a chance to register under the newly-combined Phase 2A, the ministry said.
In addition, one-third of any remaining vacancies at the end of Phase 2A will be allocated to Phase 2B, while two-thirds will go to Phase 2C.
Chan highlighted that the move recognises all of a school's alumni regardless of their membership with alumni associations.
The measure will also help keep society "open and inclusive" where people from different backgrounds can learn together, he said.
As for Phase 2B, the number of places will remain unchanged at 20. This means a total of 60 reserved places will be set aside in all schools at the start of the P1 Registration Exercise.
MOE to calculate distance from primary school with school boundary to registrant's home
MOE will also be updating the methodology used to calculate the distance between a registrant's home and the primary school of their choice, also known as the Home-School Distance (HSD).
According to a press release by the ministry, it will calculate the HSD from any point on the boundary around the school to the registrant's home.
Currently, the HSD is calculated based on a single reference point within the school's original layout to the registrant's home, even if the current layout has changed significantly due to upgrading or re-building.
Majority of registrants will not be affected
MOE further added that the majority of the registrants for primary school will not be affected with the updated calculation.
In addition, some registrants will also fall within the nearer HSD category of being within one kilometre of a school.
However, there will also be a small number of registrants for three primary schools who will be shifted to the further HSD category of being within two kilometres of a school.
These three schools are Cedar Primary School, Maris Stella High School (primary section) and Marymount Convent School.
According to MOE, this is due to the schools' original reference points falling outside of their boundaries as a result of past upgrading and re-building works, coupled with school boundary changes.
However, for the purpose of the 2022 P1 registration, these affected registrants will be allowed to retain their original HSD category as a "once-off transitional arrangement."
Top image via Chan Chun Sing Facebook
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