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One secondary education, many pathways

05 Mar 2019 2 min read

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The streaming exercise in secondary schools will stop in 2024, and be replaced with full subject-based banding, said Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung.

Announcing this major change during the Committee of Supply debate, Mr Ong noted that streaming has been an ‘efficiency-driven’ phase of Singapore’s education system for the past 30 over years. However, he acknowledged that streaming has its downsides and has led to stigmatisation in the society. “In its original form, streaming assumed that students needed a certain pace of learning in all their subjects, whereas many students, in fact, have uneven strengths across different subjects,” Mr Ong elaborated.

This shift away from streaming, Mr Ong said, will encourage students to find their strengths while continuing to reap the benefits of education without being labelled.

This change will affect all Secondary One students in the 2024 batch. They will take subjects, based on their ability and strengths. Subjects such as Mathematics will be taught at three levels – G1, G2 or G3, with G standing for ‘General’.

When students reach Secondary 4 in 2027, they will take a common examination, and graduate with a common secondary school certificate, co-brand by Singapore and Cambridge.

Mr Ong added that this new system will also give schools an opportunity to reshape the social environment to benefit their students.

As for junior colleges (JC), Mr Ong said the ministry will begin a multi-year JC Rejuvenation Programme. Three schools will be rebuilt, while another JC will be upgraded. The initiative aims to support the evolution of JC education and ensure campuses are digital ready for the future.

Watch an excerpt of his speech

Earlier, Second Minister for Education Ms Indranee Rajah said that teaching tools and assistive learning devices have been introduced to mainstream schools to support a wider spectrum of students. In addition, allied educators for learning and behavioural support in mainstream schools have increased by over 40 per cent and there are also a core group of teachers in schools who are trained to support students with special educational needs.

“More importantly, we have a strong network of support to guide students with special educational needs in their educational journey from enrolment to graduation,” said Ms Indranee.

She added that education and career guidance counsellors and teachers at institutions of higher learning will work with students to help them identify their strengths and find work-related opportunities that interest and suit them.

Ms Indranee also emphasised the need for employers and society to look beyond disabilities, and accept people as they are, for Singapore to be truly inclusive.

Ms Indranee, who also chairs the inter-agency task force UPLIFT, announced that a dedicated office will be set up with MOE. The UPLIFT Programme Office, she said, will work with schools to identify disadvantaged students and map their needs to facilitate better coordination for the families, providing suitable community programmes or assistance.

Furthermore, the after-school programmes in secondary schools will be enhanced and expanded to 120 schools by 2020.

These consolidated after-school programmes will be known as GEAR-UP and will work with community partners to strengthen students’ social-emotional competencies and social skills, said Ms Indranee.

Image Credit: Minister Ong Ye Kung Facebook