As children prep for their Primary School Leaving Examinations, you as a parent are thinking of what secondary school to send your children to. There are so many schools and so many programs that you are confused and bewildered about it all. Then someone mentions DSA to you. At this point, you tired of acronyms, and this one has come up. But it is for the future of your child, so checking it could be worth a short. So, what is DSA?
DSA, or Direct School Admissions, is a straight route that students can use to get a placement in the school of their choice before other children can secure their placements. To be able to attain a DSA, your child needs to meet a set of criteria, and get their placements approved by the schools they have applied to. Your child gets into the school of their choice, and the schools are able to select the students they want to study in their institution.
The DSA-Secondary School exercise was first introduced in 2004 by the Ministry of Education. Intended as an alternative to the national exams, so that children can go straight to the secondary schools of their choice before taking the PSLE. DSA applicants are still required to take the PSLE and get good grades before they can gain entry into the secondary schools they have applied to.
Should My Kid Apply Via DSA?
There are differing opinions on whether children should apply for DSA or not: those for and those against.
Those for DSA applications are very supportive of the scheme because it provides an opportunity for children who are not academically strong to get into secondary schools on other merits. These children are typically very good in sports, arts, dance, music, and other talents and skills that have nothing to do with academics. Because of the availability of the DSA scheme, parents who notice their children’s inclinations at a young age start training them for the DSA, so that they can get into elite schools based on their talents.
Those against DSA applications are of the opinion that it limits the children to the same activity they got in school for, for the next four – six years they will spend in secondary school. To them, getting into secondary through DSA is like getting into university via a specialized scholarship. Your child will be contractually obliged to fulfil their responsibility for the duration of the program they have been admitted into.
These are both strong arguments, but it is left to you to decide if your child should apply for DSA or not.
A Matter Of Preference
DSA is not compulsory for every child. It is left to you and the child to decide if you get into the secondary school through DSA. For some parents, the DSA scheme is a golden opportunity to use and get your child into the ‘right’ schools. Other parents make this decision based on the talents of their children.
If your child is not academically inclined, you might strongly consider DSA as a means for your child to attend secondary school. Other parents have children who already know what they want to do, where they want to do it, and how they want to do it.
Getting into secondary school via DSA is a choice, it is not compulsory. Take the time to discuss with your child, so that both of you will reach a decision that will benefit your child well, and better equip him or her for the future. Be sure that your child wants this as well, and it is not just you forcing your wishes on the child.
Then again, DSA is a good opportunity for your child to get into the school of their dreams, but tell them not to be down hearted if they do not get in. Gaining admission into secondary school via DSA is not a simple process.
The Aptitude Of Your Child
The aptitude of your child should also help you in making your decision on whether they should apply for DSA. It is important to note that not every child that applies via DSA gets into the school of their choice. It is a very competitive thing, and the secondary schools that participate in it also get to pick the students they feel best representing their school.
A thousand children can apply for DSA to a specialized school that only admits a hundred students a year. A hundred students could apply to a sport in a secondary school, and only 40 will get admitted. How brilliant is your child, how talented is he or she? Do they have what it takes to beat hundreds of other students to that coveted spot in that secondary school they want? Think about it. It is your child that is getting in, not you. Do what will be in the best interests of your child.
Direct School Admission is a scheme that was introduced in 2004 that allows students to apply directly to the secondary school of their choice, where they may get approved and gain admission into the school. Many parents think that DSA is the best thing to have happened to education because it allows children who are sporty, artsy, or musically-inclined to get into elite secondary schools. Being of a low academic inclination is no hindrance to your child going to secondary school because of DSA. Other parents feel that DSA limits the child’s abilities, confining them to that one sport they applied to for the duration of their school program.
Applying via DSA is simply a matter of choice and aptitude. Does your child want to apply to school via DSA? Does your child have what it takes to beat the other children applying to DSA? This is something to seriously think about, and not rush headlong into. Discuss with your child, and decide that it what you both want before applying.
Next up related article: Tips & General Guidelines To Secure Direct School Admission