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The Singapore Ministry of Education created the direct school admission program. It is designed in such a way that all students have an equal opportunity to advance their job or talent. The system is not defined by the grades or marks obtained by students in the primary school leaving examination (MOE, 2017). The Singapore government believes that pupils should not be forced to take the PSLE in order to demonstrate their intelligence. Talents should be identified early and nurtured without limitations. The DSA initiative levels the educational playing field, allowing everyone to succeed in life. Those who cannot perform well in written exams have got another opportunity to proceed with their education. This paper will examine the importance of expanding the DSA program.
Why DSA should be expanded
In March 2017, the government t of Singapore proposed to expand the DSA program in order to accommodate students with talents. One of the reasons put forward for the expansion of this program is the opportunity for students to get better schools that are equipped to develop talents (Yang,2017). In many education systems all over the world, the best performing and equipped schools are reserved for academic giants. Students who get to these secondary schools must prove that they are qualified and the only way to do so is passing the primary school examination. However with the expansion of the DSA scheme students whose performance in academia is very low will get an equal chance to learn in this schools. This will ensure that they have the necessary infrastructure that can help them grow their talents. Critics of this program may argue that students who excel in academics should be given priority in well-equipped secondary schools. However, this should not be the case. The only way to nurture talents like sports or arts is by developing them and this requires facilities that can only be found in institutions of learning.
Another reason that favors the DSA program is the idea of moving away from grades to the natural ability of an individual. For many years education was reduced to grades and scores. The procedure of getting scores and grades has been so tedious to many learners hence some drop out of school due to their inability to produce favorable grades. The DSA seeks to abolish the over-reliance on grades and bring on board the idea of talents (Teng, 2017). Some people may argue that this will cause a major drop in academia; however, it should be noted that students who want to excel in academic will still be subjected to PLSE. This implies that every student can easily stick to his/her line of interest without coercion.
The expansion of DSA program will ensure a holistic approach to education in Singapore. When the DSA program started in 2004, it was geared towards widening secondary school admission scope. This was however compromised to suit students who are strong in academics. The expansion of the program, therefore, will ensure that no student is left out of school due to non-performance in various academic fields (Davie, 2017). When everyone in the society gets an equal opportunity to access education irrespective of their ability, then education becomes holistic and accommodative. Critics to this program may allude to the fact that academics offers everyone an opportunity to develop. However, it is worth noting that academics and grade based education has for a long time discriminated talented children hence rendered them retarded. Therefore the only way to a holistic approach to education is the expansion of the DSA program which the Singapore government is proposing to implement.
The expansion of The DSA program offers children a chance to grow their talents. Learners have a great opportunity to demonstrate their natural abilities when it comes to sports or art. The academic centered education does not really provide for this. Students who wish to be admitted to secondary school through this channel must demonstrate their strength in co-curricular activities while at primary school level (Asianparent, 2017).They will be examined based on their talents and thereafter qualify for entry into specialized secondary schools to further develop their talents. This, of course, can elicit various reactions with some opposed to the idea of talent development. On the contrary, children are not the same when it comes to performance in class work. There are those who are gifted or talented in sport and art and there is no way they can be ignored in the society. The contribution of everybody in the society is essential and this includes the students who are talented in other fields apart from academics. Therefore expansion of DSA will definitely increase the chances of developing talents among young people in Singapore.
The step by the Singapore government to expand the DSA program is commendable because it will ensure direct entry to secondary schools. The barriers that were created in the way that required one to pass an exam have been done away with. This implies there will be a drastic increase of secondary school admission. The tests that frustrated some learners are no longer a thing to worry about (Mokhtar,2017). If one has got a talent he/she needs not to worry since the talent will definitely secure him/her a place in secondary school. Though some may argue that this scheme may dilute the essence of academic excellence. However, this should not be the case, because DSA offers an equitable and healthy competition among students with diverse talents and abilities. This will, in turn, make education beneficial for all students.
The DSA expansion program is going to ensure that there is diversification which will, in turn, create vast economic opportunities. Children will not narrow themselves to academic excellence in order to be successful in life. There are various opportunities that the world offers and they include sports and art (Kotwani,2017).In reaction to this expansion program, there are those who feel that academic excellence will be tempered with since it contributes to the development of the society by a bigger margin. However, this argument cannot hold water because society thrives on a multiplicity of aspects. Therefore talents play a major role in the society and should not be disregarded.
The DSA expansion program as proposed by the government of Singapore is one of the best programs. The education systems seek to do away with the barriers that have been erected in the path of learners to access secondary education. The education system also seeks to give students a chance to join well-equipped schools for the development of their talents. This program also seeks to create diversity in education. Therefore it should be embraced by all the stakeholders in Singapore education system.
Asianparent, (2017). Five things you need to know about direct school admission (DSA) for your school going child. Retrieved from: https://sg.theasianparent.com/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-direct-school-admission-dsa-for-your-school-going-child/.
Davie, S. (2017). Will changes to direct school admission work? It depends on how schools define specific academic talents. Retrieved from: http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/will-changes-to-direct-school-admission-work-it-depends-on-how-schools-define-specific.
Kotwani, M. (2017). DSA to exclude general academic tests as criteria by 2018: Ng Chee Meng, Retrieved from: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/dsa-to-exclude-general-academic-tests-as-criteria-by-2018-ng-che-8776882.
Ministry of education Singapore, (2017). What is the direct school admission secondary? (DSA0-SEC). Retrieved from: https://www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/direct-admissions/dsa-sec.
Mokhtar, F. (2017). Direct school admission exercise cap raised to 20% for all schools: MOE. Retrieved from: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/direct-school-admission-exercise-cap-raised-20-all-schools-moe.
Teng, A. (2017). Going beyond grades: Evolving the Singapore education system. Retrieved from: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/going-beyond-grades-evolving-the-singapore-education-system.
Yang, C. (2017). Parliament: DSA scheme for pupils to enter secondary 1 directly to be expanded, Retrieved from: http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/parliament-dsa-scheme-for-pupils-to-enter-secondary-1-directly-to-be-expanded.
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