Schools To Reduce Scope Of 2021 Year-End Exams & Hire More Counsellors

The River Valley High School incident has shaken the core of the Singapore community, urging many to rally support and offer help to those in need.

16-Year-Old Teen Arrested Over Death Of River Valley High School Sec 1 Student

There have also been calls to strengthen measures to safeguard the well-being of our youths.

In his ministerial statement on Tuesday (27 Jul), Education Minister Chan Chun Sing announced that the scope for end-of-year exams would be reduced this year to relieve the revision load of students.

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He also highlighted that the Ministry of Education (MOE) would ensure that more counsellors will be hired at schools so that more can seek help when they need it.

Support measures to enhance care for students’ mental well-being

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (27 Jul), Mr Chan outlined a series of support measures in the wake of the River Valley High School tragedy, including:

  • Ensuring all teachers are well-trained in mental health literacy so they can identify students in need of support and offer help when necessary
  • Increasing the number of teacher counsellors in schools from 700 to 1,000 over the next few years
  • Expanding MOE’s pool of existing counsellors by recruiting or by ‘re-roling’ suitable educator

All schools currently have at least one counsellor on their campuses.

Additionally, all teachers will need to take time to check in on their students’ well-being at the start of every school term.

They will also inform students on the avenues where they can seek help, if necessary.

National exams scope reduced in light of pandemic

In light of severe disruptions brought by the Delta variant, MOE will also be reducing the scope of national exams this year.

Similar to last year, Common Last Topics (CLTs) will be removed from all national examinations.

This will relieve the revision load placed on students sitting for these exams.

As more people are expected to complete their vaccination regime, CCAs in secondary schools and pre-university institutions will also resume in the coming weeks.

Described as channels for students to “build bonds”, these activities have been suspended as the local Covid-19 situation worsened.

MOE to review security measures in a targeted manner

Other security measures in schools will also be reviewed in a targeted manner, without compromising on the “homeliness” of the campus.

Minister Chan, however, did not disclose the exact measures concerned.

He did, however, shared his own reflection on how it would feel to have his bags or pockets checked or frisked respectively when returning home or stepping through a school gate.

Noting that schools are like a “second home” for students and staff, Mr Chan questioned if implementing such measures will erode the intimate feelings they have for their institutions.

The real key to staying safe lies not with more security measures but enhanced community vigilance.

Once these security measures have been updated, he said MOE would apply them sensitively to balance security needs “without losing our sense of safety, trust and homeliness of the school environment”.

Schools currently have CCTV and alarm systems installed on campus.

Security officers also conduct spot checks and take down names of visitors before allowing them to enter the premises.

Hope measures will safeguard students’ safety & mental well-being

The River Valley High School incident is understandably troubling for all students, staff, and parents in Singapore.

We’re hence heartened to see the authorities’ swift response to the incident and the preventive measures that have been planned.

We hope they will help with the struggles currently faced by students and give better peace of mind to stakeholders.

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps and MCI Singapore on YouTube.