Streams apart; Has streaming run its course?
16 Dec 2018
Article highlighted that starting in a certain stream does not mean a student is locked in it permanently because there is flexibility between streams. In recent years, N(A) students who do well at the N levels also have alternative tracks to post-secondary education like the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP), which allows students to skip the O levels and Secondary 5. From next year, the PFP will take in about 1,500 students a year, up from the current 1,200. The programme has borne fruit and showed that students do well when they are in the course most suited for them. Among the first cohort of PFP students, 70 per cent scored a grade point average of at least three out of four in polytechnic, above the cohort norm of 55 per cent. For Dr Chua Koon Ting, who found himself in difficult family circumstances in his younger days, he ended up in the Normal (Academic) stream instead of the Express route that is the conventional path of most dentists and medical professionals. While studying, Dr Chua worked part-time - in fast-food outlets and retail stores and as a security guard - to supplement the household income. He shared if he was in the Express stream, he may not have been able to juggle working and studying as the pace is faster. After doing well in the N and O levels, Dr Chua chose to read SP’s Diploma in Biomedical Science and was later admitted to the National University of Singapore under a scheme that allowed a small number of students to gain entry into university based on both academic and non-academic talents. Today, he is the owner of Polygems, a chain of four dental clinics in heartland areas like Yishun and Woodlands. (The Straits Times, pB4-5)