Six myths about IP kids

Here's what the Integrated Programme looks like from the inside.

Aisyah Lyana
Aisyah Lyana

Published: 8 April 2016, 9:05 AM

You have probably heard of the “lucky” kids these days who get to skip ‘O’ levels via the Integrated Programme (IP). While the rest of the nation sits for the GCE ‘N’ and ‘O’ level, this privileged batch seems to get to spend six years exploring their interests in the IP curriculum…But is this really true?

Here are six myths about IP kids that people think are true!

1. IB and IP is the same thing 

For the umpteenth time, IP is not IB. IB refers to the International Baccalaureate course which eventually awards students with an IB diploma out of a total score of 45.

IP however refers to the many various programs that allow students to skip the ‘O’ levels. Some IP students would get the IB diploma, but others may earn an ‘A’ level certificate or relevant diplomas such as the NUS High School diploma at the end of six years.

So, no, IB and IP is not exactly the same thing.

2. We mug all day, err day

Step into our classrooms and you will definitely not think that we are muggers. Just like any other typical students in any ordinary schools – you will see students sleeping, chatting among themselves, using phones and doing last minute assignments under the teacher’s nose.

My school may look like a prison, but we are not all boring people, really.

The only time we mug is when the exams are really round the corner. As we do not have formal assessments for the first two years of our IP, we really slack a lot. In the third and fourth year of IP however, most of us begin to panic and study at the eleventh hour.

3. We are all vocal

While the tons of projects, presentations, debates and class participation nurtured us into individuals who can communicate our ideas clearly, not all of us are vocal kids per se. Being vocal or reserved is an individual trait independent of our academic background.

However, as a cohort, we regularly raise issues to the principal about the lack of performing arts facilities in schools, the value of arts subjects and enhancing the learning environment through creative means like graffiti and wall typography.

4. We are exclusive brats

This is the most common perception of IP kids by our fellow peers from the Joint-Admission Exercise (JAE). The JAE kids are those who have sat for the ‘O’ levels and were posted to junior colleges that had students in IP cohorts. IP kids only seem to have an air of arrogance and exclusiveness because we tend to stick to our social circles.

However, this is not always the case. Although we have established good connections with friends through the IP, most of us want to and have made friends with people from other schools to expand our social circles. So yes, we know the “real world”.

5. We are very, very, very, super smart

There is only slight truth to that. While IP schools have pretty high cut-off points at the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), everyone entering IP schools start anew. Just because one did really well in the PSLE doesn’t necessarily mean she will do exceedingly well in the next major exam.

The outstanding IP students really deserve a lot of credit.

6. IP students who fail their final national exams are doomed 

While this is probably the biggest nightmare for IP students, I feel that IP “failures” bounce back stronger once admitted into a more suitable institution.

Nursing student, Nurul Azirah, 21, said: “I was from the 4-year IP. I was happy to be accepted into the IP when I was 14, but after getting back my ‘A’ level results, I regretted not taking the ‘O’ levels to secure a good foundation in my studies.”

The former dance club secretary however managed to bounce back. She said: “I’m doing pretty well in nursing now and am hoping to receive a scholarship soon.”

We get to explore our interests in IP.

Several of my IP cohort mates opted out from the IP at age 16 because the education system was not suited to their learning styles and interests. While some might have thought of them as failures, they still went on to obtain diplomas in the local polytechnics, at specialised institutes like LASALLE as well as also overseas institutions, and are very successful in their respective courses of study.


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