Fewer PR children in top schools after P1 rule change

SINGAPORE: The more popular primary schools may have fewer Permanent Resident (PR) children from now on, said observers.

They said this is one possible outcome, following the government’s move to tighten the Primary One (P1) registration exercise.

Under the change announced on Sunday, PRs will remain eligible for the same phases of the P1 registration exercise as citizens. However, when balloting is necessary in a specific phase of the registration exercise, citizens will be given absolute priority over PRs, even before home—to—school distance is considered.

The change will take place from the P1 registration exercise this July.

Last year, nearly half of all primary schools held ballots for the P1 registration exercise.

With the latest change, some popular schools told Channel NewsAsia they are expecting a much smaller intake of PR children.

Competition for the popular schools is already fierce, even among Singaporeans, and one MP said it would make sense for PRs to avoid “brand name schools” — where balloting will most likely take place.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan, chairman of Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Education, said: “If they think that they want their child to go to a certain school, they have to consider whether that school would require balloting or not. If it does, quite honestly, they should put their efforts in volunteering in a school where balloting may not take place.”

Property analysts also expect a slowdown in PRs going after HDB resale flats near popular schools.

Mr Eugene Lim, ERA Realty Network’s key executive officer, said: “The premium that buyers have been known to pay for being located near good schools is as much as 10, sometimes even 15 per cent.

“So, if there are less buyers competing for these units near these good schools, technically the premium would go down. But it’s still early days. It’s very hard to say at this point if the prices will be affected, because for the gap that is vacated by the PRs, the locals will come in and fill it, as locals still have to compete for the 1km rule if there are more locals applying for the limited places available in each school.”

Mr Lim added that buying a residential property with the intention of being near “good schools” is more prevalent among Singaporeans than PRs. He said HDB flats near “good schools” would likely be in greater demand than private properties.

According to Mr Lim, PRs currently make up about 20 percent of the HDB resale market and 13 percent of the private property resale market.

— CNA/ir

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