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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Parents go extra mile for their kids

QUEUES for Hello Kitty dolls, pre-school places and, now, for the chance to be a parent volunteer at a popular school.

More than 80 parents lined up outside Mee Toh School in Punggol on Monday morning to get a better chance at landing a coveted spot for their child.

Being a parent volunteer, which requires at least 40 hours spent doing things such as preparing meals or being traffic wardens, gives them priority in the Primary 1 registration exercise.

Mee Toh had about 50 volunteer places available for parents whose children are starting Primary 1 in 2017. Registration was on a first-come first-served basis, hence the queue outside its main entrance.

The school did not respond to queries on its rule and how long it has been in place.

Schools choose parent volunteers at their discretion.

For instance, some parents may be interviewed, or face a ballot if there are too many applicants.

Ken Wong said his wife, a personal assistant, got in line at 7.15am.

“We had expected the long queue, as we had read in forums online that Mee Toh is one of the good schools in the area,” said Wong, 35, owner of an industrial-cleaning business.

Their son is four years old.

“We’re not going for the school because of its reputation, but because it will be very near our home,” he said, adding that the family will be moving from Choa Chu Kang to their new Build-to-Order flat in Punggol later this year.

There are only two schools – the other being Horizon Primary – within 1km of their Punggol flat, he added.

If they get in as parent volunteers at Mee Toh, they will start serving from May next year.

This will allow them to qualify for Phase 2B, which is for children with parent volunteers or parents who are grassroots leaders, or have church or clan links.

Parent volunteer slots are now rarer; many popular schools like Rosyth and those under the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, such as Nan Chiau and Ai Tong, have done away with parent volunteers due to oversubscription. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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