What is Next after the O-Levels?

Thinking of your pathway after completing your O-Levels? Here in Singapore there are two popular choices- Junior College or Polyethnic.

There are both pros and cons to which path you and your child choose depending on what interest your child has. Back in 2020 when Monkey Boy graduated from his secondary school. He had the choice of choosing to enter the Polytechnic , Junior college or even the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme with his straight As.

(For those who are not very familiar with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) it is one which leads directly into university and is seen as a better pathway for academically brilliant kids as more universities overseas recognise this qualification as compared to A-Levels. )

After much consideration he chose to go to Polytechnic instead to pursue his interest in Computer studies. This was his reasoning back then for choosing to go to Polytechnic.

No to International Baccalaureate Diploma
– Having to study the core subjects below which are very theoretically based on top of Computer Science

  • Theory of knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
  • The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
  • Creativity, activity, service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.

Monkey boy felt that the curriculum was very dry and he didn’t want to have to subject himself to just regurgitating theory and doing countless tests and exams in a classroom setting.

No to Junior College
He felt that what he would be learning in Junior College may not be relevant to what he wants to know as there are only two possible selections – Arts or Science stream. He would have to continue learning Chinese and have to wear a uniform to school. The workload is very heavy in JC and being in another regimental institute would be too stifling for him. To be in such a regimented environment for another 2 years will certainly hamper his creativity and growth.

I let him decide on his own and made it clear that he had to be responsible for his own decision at that point of time.

My Opinion

I felt that Polytechnic would be the best option for him as firstly he would be graduating with a Diploma and have some industrial experience with the internship that they have in Year 3. There will be more time for him to continue with a more rounded education as he will still have time to pursue his interests in music besides just solely focusing on academics. I also heard how rigid it is in junior college whereby what you are learning may be so dated that it can’t be really applied in the real world if you do decide to come out and work straight after A-Levels. The bottom line was that Monkey boy didn’t have interest to go for a very academic route where he had to study ” irrelevant” subjects to him. I personally feel that he would be better equip to enter the workforce in time to come if he had more practical experience and chance to pursue his passion in computing directly.

It has been 3 years since he made this decision and he is now doing really well in his chosen course in Polytechnic topping the whole cohort in his course and making it to the dean’s list two years in a row. He certainly does not regret the decision not to go to JC or do IB as he is flourishing in Poly. In fact the trend nowadays is to go to Poly rather then JC for most of my friends kids.

Which pathway would you choose ?

Posts in the Series so far :
1) Surviving the Secondary Years (Introduction Post)

2) From 4 to 8 subjects

3)How to Study Effectively in Secondary School
4) What Next after the N- Levels?

5) What Next after the O-Levels?

6) Subject Based Banding (SBB) and Me