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In-person trials, interviews for Direct School Admission to resume this year

In-person interviews will resume this year for the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme, which allows students to gain entry to secondary schools and junior colleges through their aptitude in non-examinable fields, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Wednesday (May 4).

This will let students better demonstrate their talents and potential in sports trials, for example, or be assessed in person for their musical abilities.

Applications will open from 11am on Thursday to 3pm on June 1. Students and parents can submit applications to the 142 secondary schools and 20 JCs involved through the MOE portal.

MOE said the resumption of in-person interviews is in line with the national relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, and is possible because of the high vaccination rates among students and staff in schools.

The DSA scheme provides a pathway for students to gain acceptance to secondary schools or JCs through their abilities in extra-curricular activities outside of national examinations, and is an important avenue to ease the pressure off eligible pupils from the Primary School Leaving Examination or O-Level examinations.

Starting this year, more students can be admitted to schools via the scheme, with places for Government-aided JCs increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent of their intake for the two-year A-level programme.

There were 31,400 DSA applications last year, up from 30,500 in 2020.

Separately, applications for early admission to the Institute of Technical Education based on course-specific aptitude and interests will start from May 26, while that for polytechnics will begin from June 6.

Some in-person selection processes will also resume, with MOE saying that whether they will be conducted virtually or in-person will depend on course requirements.

MOE said some Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) selections were already conducted virtually before the pandemic.

"MOE will work closely with ITE and the polytechnics to ensure EAE selection is conducted fairly and rigorously for all students, regardless of modality," it added.

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