S’pore Schools Cannot Have Longer Mar & Sep Breaks With Shorter Dec Break, Time Needed For Exam Prep

On 24 Dec, The Straits Times published a forum letter asserting that the December school holidays are too long.

The letter angered many Singaporeans, who said that students and teachers needed the long break to rest.

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Finally addressing the issue, the Ministry of Education (MOE) explained why the December holidays are so ‘long’, in a separate article on The Straits Times.

MOE school holidays planned carefully

In the interview, a representative explained that MOE has deliberately planned and distributed holidays in a particular manner.

This method has apparently worked well over the decades, with little to no complaint.

Longer breaks for rest & other activities

The spokesperson added that longer breaks give students and teachers more time to “rest and recharge”.

Schools can also hold supplementary lessons or programmes like camps and overseas exchange trips during this period.

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Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari, who was formerly a teacher and principal, vouched for longer December holidays.

According to him, most school work should be completed by December.

Instead of having to plan shorter getaways, parents have more time to do a longer trip.

More curriculum time for national exam prep

In the forum letter, the writer suggested that MOE “transfer two weeks of school holidays in December to the March and September holidays”.

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Mr Zainal shared that the plan was not feasible since longer breaks in the school year will give teachers and students less curriculum time to prepare for the year-end N- and O-Level examinations.

Useful for personal development

An anonymous primary school teacher also agreed that the holidays offer students and teachers more than just a chance to rest.

The teacher acknowledged that some students may feel restless, but the holidays can be an opportunity for them to “find ways to engage and entertain themselves”, which can enhance their creativity.

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Teachers, meanwhile, can spend time to think about and refine their teaching methods:

As for teachers, we also get invaluable thinking time for how we wish to improve upon our pedagogical practices.

MOE holidays planned with students and teachers in mind

MOE’s response to the letter shows that every aspect in the education system has been thoroughly thought out, weighing all parties involved.

Shorter breaks in the middle of the school year give students more time to prepare for important end-of-year exams, while giving others a well-deserved break once everything is over.

What do you think about the reasons provided by MOE? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured image adapted from I Love Children.