The Direct School Admission (DSA) exercise for admission to secondary schools and junior colleges (JCs) in 2021 will open for applications on 12 May 2020.
2. DSA provides a pathway for students to gain direct entry to secondary schools or JCs based on their diverse talents and achievements, beyond their performance at the national examinations. Upon admission, students can develop these talents further in their secondary schools or JCs. There are 146 secondary schools and 20 JCs participating in DSA this year.
Conduct of DSA Selection in View of the COVID-19 Situation
3. To ensure the safety and well-being of our students and school personnel amid the COVID-19 situation, DSA schools will not hold any physical trials or face-to-face interviews as part of their DSA selection process. Instead, all interviews and selection for shortlisted DSA candidates will be done via electronic modes (e-modes). The e-modes will be conducted at the applicants' primary school for DSA-Sec, or the applicants' secondary school for DSA-JC, during the selection period. This avoids inter-mingling of students across schools, in line with safe distancing measures. It would also provide all students with access to video-conferencing capability, suitable venues and equipment, with standardisation of the setting and equipment to ensure fairness in the selection process. The selection period for schools for DSA-Sec is from 1 July to 14 September 2020, and for DSA-JC is from 29 June to 4 September 2020.
4. MOE has issued a set of guidelines to all DSA secondary schools and JCs on the conduct of DSA selection, to ensure the safety of students and staff, as well as fairness and transparency in the exercises1. A list of FAQs on the conduct of this year's DSA selection can be found in the Annex.
5. To avoid creating additional workload for students, DSA schools will use e-modes which students are already familiar with for their selection assessment, such as conducting interviews through video conference and performance tasks. Students may also be asked during the e-interviews to perform simple tasks that can demonstrate their attributes and potential in a specific talent area, such as via simple pencil sketches or musical performances. The format and task will depend on the talent area and the school's selection criteria.
6. In addition to the interviews and selection via e-modes, schools will also consider a wide range of available information such as the student's Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) records and past achievements. They may also seek additional inputs from the student's current school. We recognise that there might be limitations in assessing students via e-modes for certain talent areas, like team sports. However, schools will adopt a holistic approach towards selection. More information on the DSA schools' selection criteria will be published on their respective websites.
7. Students participating in the DSA-Sec or DSA-JC Exercise are still required to take the PSLE or GCE O-Level examination respectively. As in previous years, students will be informed of the outcome of their DSA application and if an offer is made, they will need to decide whether to take up the offer by the indicated deadline, which will be before the release of the national examination results. A student who takes up a DSA-Sec confirmed offer is guaranteed a place in that secondary school, provided his/her PSLE results meet the minimum requirement for a course [Express / Normal (Academic) / Normal (Technical)] offered by the school. Students seeking entry to the Integrated Programme (IP) track must meet the minimum requirement for entry to the Express course. Similarly, for a student who takes up a DSA-JC offer, his/her GCE O-Level result must meet the eligibility criteria2 for admission to the JCs.
8. In accepting an offer of admission through the DSA-Sec or DSA-JC, students are expressing a commitment to study in that school, to develop their talent in the chosen area, and should honour this commitment. Students successfully admitted to a school via DSA-Sec or DSA-JC will not be participating in the Secondary 1 Posting Exercise (S1 Ex) or Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE). They will also not be allowed to transfer to another school after obtaining their PSLE or GCE O-Level results.
9. Students should carefully consider their DSA application, based on their aptitudes and strengths, the school's academic and non-academic requirements, and the programmes available to develop their talents.
10. Students and parents may submit applications for DSA-Sec via a centralised online portal from 12 May to 5 June 2020. The link to the portal will be available on the DSA-Sec website (https://www.moe.gov.sg/dsa-sec) from 12 May 2020, 9:00am to 5 June 2020, 3:00pm. Applicants only need to fill in one online form to apply to multiple schools and talent areas, and their details will be provided electronically to the schools they apply to.
11. Application through the portal is free-of-charge and requires one parent's SingPass to login, for authentication purposes. Parents who do not have SingPass access can approach their child's primary school for assistance.
12. Each applicant can indicate up to three choices in the application form. For each choice, applicants will need to choose a secondary school and a talent area offered by that school. For a student with more than one talent area, he/she can indicate a different talent area for each of his/her three choices, and a maximum of two choices may be used for the same school.
13. Students applying for DSA-JC are encouraged to check the MOE DSA-JC website (https://www.moe.gov.sg/dsa-jc) for important dates and timelines, and to find out how the exercise will be conducted. Interested students should visit the respective JCs' websites for more information on application periods, procedures and selection criteria, which may differ across JCs.
14. Students interested in the DSA-Sec and DSA-JC should visit the websites of the participating DSA schools for more details. They are advised to do so before submitting their application form. More information is also available at the respective MOE websites:
Financial Assistance Schemes
15. MOE provides financial assistance through various schemes such as the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and Opportunity Fund, to ensure that students from low-income families are not deprived of developmental opportunities. In addition, students who are interested in applying to Independent Schools (ISes) can tap on the Independent School Bursary (ISB) and the Edusave Scholarship for Independent Schools (ESIS) to help defray the higher fees in these schools. The UPLIFT Scholarship is also available to provide an annual cash award of $800 for eligible IS students from low-income families. More information on these scholarships can be found at https://www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/scholarships.
Applications for the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE)
16. Details on the applications process for the Early Admissions Exercises (EAE) to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the polytechnics will be announced separately.
The DSA selection principles are: transparency, objectivity, talent-specificity, inclusiveness and student-centricity.
Please refer to https://moe.gov.sg/jc-eligibility-criteria for more information.