Greater emphasis on cyber wellness and mental health education in schools
The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be refreshing the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum with a greater emphasis on cyber wellness and mental health education.
The new CCE curriculum will be progressively implemented in all primary and secondary schools from 2021, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung during his Committee of Supply speech.
About 50 per cent more time will be spent discussing cyber wellness issues during CCE lessons for primary and secondary levels, said MOE.
MOE will develop more materials to teach this subject so that “students will learn to critically evaluate what they read online, be able to tell genuine news from falsehoods, and not rely on social media ‘likes’ for validation,” Mr Ong added, noting that 11 secondary schools will be piloting the new curriculum.
Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah said that mental health education will be part of the new CCE curriculum in secondary schools “to help students to understand common mental health issues and their symptoms, know when and how to seek help for themselves and others, and develop empathy and care towards persons with mental health issues”.
All schools to have peer support networks by 2022
As peer support can contribute to students’ well-being, MOE will also establish peer support structures in every school by 2022.
“Our vision is for every student to be a peer supporter, forming a strong network of support in their class, CCA or peer group, where they can look out for each other, and seek guidance from teachers or counsellors where necessary,” Ms Indranee added.
Strengthening digital literacy through new National Digital Literacy Programme
MOE will enhance the curriculum to help students strengthen digital literacy through the launch of a National Digital Literacy Programme for our schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).
This better enables our students, at different stages of their education journey, to acquire the digital skills required to navigate the digital age through four components in the “Find, Think, Apply and Create” framework.
All secondary school students to have personal digital device by 2028
By 2028, all secondary school students will have their own school-prescribed personal learning device under a new national digital literacy programme the Ministry of Education is rolling out to better enable students to acquire and apply digital skills.
Schools will progressively come on board from June this year, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung said. The Ministry of Education (MOE) “will make sure” that the device is affordable, and does not intend for it to be a high-end device since it is used for learning and education.
Mr Ong said students will have to purchase the devices on their own. But there will be an Edusave top-up of $200 for all students this year to support the purchase. Students from lower-income households will get further subsidies to ensure that their out-of-pocket cost is zero dollars.
“We need to teach students to use software and devices productively to learn, for work and for daily living, across different contexts.”
More schools to offer Computing as an O-Level and A-Level subject
More schools will offer Computing as an O-Level and A-Level subject, announced Mr Ong.
Thirty secondary schools will offer O-Level Computing, up from 22, and 10 junior colleges will offer A-Level Computing, up from eight.
A revised lower secondary science syllabus will be rolled out in 2021. It will help students develop a better understanding of artificial intelligence and other technological advancements.
Institutes of Higher Learning will enhance baseline digital competency requirements for all their students, said Mr Ong. They are also upgrading their curriculum for sectors that require more advanced digital skills such as cybersecurity, finance, manufacturing and logistics, he added. All polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education students will also be taught AI-related topics.
Teachers to get SkillsFuture road map
Teachers will receive more professional training, with a new SkillsFuture road map drawn up for them, so they can better meet the changing needs of students.
MOE has identified six priority areas, including assessment literacy, learning how to teach classes of mixed-ability students, supporting those with special needs through a wider range of teaching strategies and using inquiry-based learning.
From this month, teachers are encouraged to work towards having a “proficient” level of practice – which is not more than 20 hours of professional development – in each of these six areas over a period of five years.
Stronger integration of school and community support for disadvantaged students
An inter-agency taskforce led by the MOE is piloting a new programme to help disadvantaged students earlier, through more community based-support.
The programme will be piloted in three towns – Woodlands, Kreta Ayer and Boon Lay.
Under the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT) Community Pilot, a town-level coordinator based in the Social Service Office of three towns will “integrate school-based and community-based support”.
“By improving coordination, we can set up protective factors around the students and their families faster, and address underlying causes of absenteeism earlier,” said Ms Indranee.
MOE estimates that more than 300 students will benefit from this new system from 2020 to 2022.