The Primary 1 (P1) registration frenzy has started. Congratulations, if you have already managed to get your child into the school of your choice. The rest of us who are still waiting, calculating, and praying for a place, are busy refreshing the registration results page on the MOE (Ministry Of Education) website.
My husband is a rational man. He works in Information Technology and believes in numbers. Since 3rd July, he has been eating and breathing the number of remaining seats in the school that we want to enrol our daughter in.
The leftover number from Phase 2A(2) officially makes our dream primary school the most difficult to get into in Singapore this year (2012).
Our anxiety thickens as the date for Phase 2B draws near. The seemingly small chance that we have tempts him to strategise and think about switching to a second-best school in the area which we may have a higher chance of getting into at Phase 2C.
But we are people of faith. We have prayed. We have followed all the rules, including leaving our comfy old home to come to this neighbourhood. Even if there is only one seat left for all the remaining tens of registrants, I will not budge. This I have made clear to him: we will fight to the end.
To be realistic, I have to admit that fate may lead our daughter to another school. It would be disappointing, but it really could happen. So I asked around to find out what the other parents would do in such situation.
Josephine Ang, mother of a boy and a baby girl, wants her boy to go to Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School. Her husband has been volunteering at the school, and they moved from Punggol to Bukit Timah earlier this year to be near to the school. She told me that if they were unsuccessful in getting into Pei Hwa, her son would just go to the school that the MOE appoints to him.
Unlike her, I am not such a good sport. I cannot bear to think that all our efforts and anticipation for the future can be terminated so simply. The Vice Chairperson of Mayflower Primary School’s Parent Support Group (PSG), Jenny Chung, shared her experience with the audience during the school’s open house.
She had come from South Korea and had eyes only for this school. Unfortunately, her son was not accepted. She put him on the waitlist and called the school regularly to check how close he was to the top of the list.
Just before the academic year started, the school called and offered her son a place. To express her gratitude, she joined the school’s PSG and has been active in it ever since. Now, this is more like what I would do.
When we were still living in Sengkang, a fellow mother told me a story about her friend. Her friend wanted so much for her child to study in Mee Toh School, that she kept him on the waitlist, and moved him there when a vacancy opened up at the end of his primary two year! I imagine the child having to adapt all over again. It is quite a discouraging picture.
Another story comes from Upper Changi; it happened last year. At Phase 2C, the father gave up their choice school for the neighbourhood school just beside their apartment block, but his son was not accepted there. The boy was assigned to a school far away from his home, with no school bus servicing his area. This is very unfortunate, and hopefully not many families have to undergo such an experience.
Our friends try to keep our spirits up by reminding us that Singaporeans have priority from this year onwards. As pink identity card holders, we are glad for the new policy, yet still wonder if there is no any better way to conduct these student selections.
A friend in Bangkok told me that his daughter had to sit for an admission test and go through an interview to get into the most sought-after convent primary school in the city. They have their ways, and we have our ways. I am sure there are pros and cons for each, but that could be a sensible idea.
For parents like me who would willingly sign up to be on the wait-list, remember one golden rule: procrastinate your way to the assigned school for that uniform purchase. And be stubborn. It is an admirable trait to doggedly pursue the one thing that means a lot to you. Here’s wishing you all the best!