Friday 15 June 2012

Primary One Internet System (P1-IS): Registration made easier

34 more schools added to online system to avoid visits in person
By Stacey Chia, The Straits Times, 14 Jun 2012

MORE parents will be able to register their children for Primary 1 without having to head down to the schools.

This year, the Primary 1 Internet System (P1-IS) will cover 42 schools - 34 more than last year - to make it easier for parents registering children in Phases 2C and 2C Supplementary.

The two phases are for children without siblings in the school or links to the school through their parents.

The annual registration exercise will start on July 3 and last till Aug 31.

Another change is the wider choice of schools for parents. Seven new primary schools will open next year, bringing the total to 187.

The online registration system was piloted by the Education Ministry last year, to give parents an alternative way of registering their children.

In all, about 30 per cent of registration for the two phases was successfully done online, said the ministry last night.

Newcomers to the online registration list this year include Chua Chu Kang Primary School, Jurong Primary School and St Margaret's Primary School.

Chua Chu Kang's principal, Mrs Lee Wai Ling, is glad her school can offer the service as it means parents will not have to take leave from work to register their children in person under the two phases.

Registration in these phases, whether done in person or online, will take place from July 30 to Aug 1 and on Aug 14 and 15.

Those doing it at the schools in person can register from 8am to 11am or 2.30pm to 4.30pm, while the online portal will be open 24 hours.

There is no online registration for the other five phases which must be done in person at the schools.

Mrs Lee said her school might distribute fliers during its open house in the first week of next month to inform parents of the availability of online registration.

Mr Tan Chun Ming, principal of Nan Chiau Primary School which provided the online service last year, said 'quite a significant number' of parents used it.

'But there are some who don't trust machines and fear something could go wrong with an application online,' he added.

Business analyst Liao Xue Li said the online system is beneficial for working parents like her and wished it was available last year at Horizon Primary.

The 39-year-old took half a day off work to register her daughter at the school.

'The six days of childcare leave I get is very precious as I need them for meet-the-parents sessions and other commitments,' she said.

Most of the new primary schools that will open next year are in new HDB towns such as Punggol and Sengkang. These include Punggol View, Punggol Green and Sengkang Green.

This year's registration will also see the introduction of the 'Singaporean First' policy in almost all phases.

It will give citizens priority over permanent residents when there are more applicants than vacancies.

Yesterday, parents interviewed adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

Ms Yvonne Wong, 36, a brand consulting manager, whose son will start Primary 1 next year, said the policy will not mean a better chance in popular schools.

'Mathematically, our chances may appear to be better without PRs but, in popular schools, there's still a lot of competition,' she said.

Minister Heng Swee Keat offers tips on selecting the right school for your child
AsiaOne, 10 Jun 2012

A neighbourhood school can be a good school for your child too, is what Minister Heng Swee Keat hopes more parents can believe in.

The Lianhe Wanbao reported on Sunday how many parents think that a brand-name school is far superior to a neighbourhood school -- a mind-set that Minister Heng is seeking to change.

While he understands that many parents want to get the best possible education for their children, but Mr Heng stressed that a brand-name school may not be the most suitable environment for your child.

"If we accept that all kids are different, a school that suits child A, may not be right for child B," said Mr Heng.

In the interview with Wanbao, Mr Heng shared four anecdotes and offered tips on what parents should look out for instead when choosing a school for their child.

1. High-scorer? A brand-name school may not be for you

Mr Heng shared a story of how a man's daughter had just met the minimum entry requirements for a top school. However, the man decided to send her to a neighbourhood school instead, as he thought competition may be too stiff at the brand-name school.

Instead of struggling to compete with other top students, the man thought his daughter may flourish instead in a neighbourhood school, said Mr Heng.

2. An old school need not be bad

Mr Heng revealed that he once visited an old primary school located in the east of Singapore. Enrolment at the school was low, as parents flocked to enroll their children in a newer school in the vicinity.

But as a result of the low student population, the principal knew every child and their family background, and even helped set up an after-school care centre for needy students.

Although the school is old, said Mr Heng, but it offers a cosy environment and has its merits.

3. Don't write off 'unpopular' schools

On similar visits to schools which have a larger foreign student population and fewer local kids, Mr Heng noted that students there shared a broader world view as a result to their exposure to different cultures.

This would be a valuable asset in the future, said Mr Heng.

4. Your child's character and temperament comes first

Mr Heng said he once asked a parent if his daughter is one who would thrive in a competitive environment, or would do better in a more relaxed environment, with friends to help her.

The parent was stumped for a moment, but replied that his daughter does not handle stress well, and enjoys spending time with her friends. 

Mr Heng then advised the parent to consider sending his daughter to a school that will be best-suited for her.


When it comes to homework, Mr Heng said while there should be homework given to schoolkids, he agreed that kids should not be overloaded with homework, reported the evening daily.

Mr Heng said schools and parents should communicate more effectively on their expectations when it comes to homework.

On the issue of parents complaining about being robbed of their time spent with their kids because of their many co-curricular activities, Mr Heng said the problem is multi-faceted.

He said although some parents complain, they also acknowledge that their children have learnt and benefited from these experiences.

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