Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng stated that all affiliated secondary schools in the Republic will have to reserve 20 percent of its Secondary One places for incoming students who do not have any affiliation priority from 2019.
According to the Minister, the decision was made to strike a balance between ensuring open access to all students and recognising the importance of affiliation.
He also said that affiliation has its educational merits, stating, "It helps foster a strong school spirit and preserve schools’ traditions and ethos."
"But notwithstanding these merits, we have to ensure that our schools are open to all students, regardless of their backgrounds or connections," he added.
Speaking during Committee of Supply debate, the Minister stressed that the Government has to ensure that schools are open to all students, regardless of their backgrounds or connections although affiliation helps to "foster a strong school spirit and preserve schools' traditions and ethos".
There are 27 secondary affiliated secondary schools in the country. They offer students from their associated primary schools' priority in the Secondary One posting exercise if they meet the school's minimum PSLE score requirement and indicate it as their first choice.
Responding to media queries, MOE stated that the 20 percent figure takes reference from its policy of reserving 40 places in every primary school for pupils with no prior connections to the school during the Primary 1 registration exercise.
However, Mr Ng noted that most affiliated secondary schools already admit more than 20 percent of non-affiliated students, adding that this proportion can vary from year to year.
He then stressed that as the education system improves, the Government will continue to ensure that it remains open and inclusive, such that every child will have access to a quality education.