Secondary School Streaming Replaced By Subject-Based Banding In 2024

Come 2024, Normal and Express streams will be a thing of the past for secondary school students.

On Tuesday (5 Mar), Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced that there’ll be no more streaming from 2024, in what is seen as a historic change for the nearly 40-year old system.

Instead, full subject-based banding will replace the current streaming system.

Full subject-based banding from 2024

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will push out the new banding system in 25 schools next year. This system will be fully implemented in all secondary schools in Singapore from 2024.

With full subject-based banding, all Sec 1 students from the 2024 batch onwards will take varying combinations of subjects across different standard bands, depending on their strengths.

Subjects will be taught at 3 levels, with G for “General”:

  • G1 – equivalent to Normal (Technical) syllabus
  • G2 – equivalent to Normal (Academic) syllabus
  • G3 – equivalent to Express syllabus

When these students reach Sec 4, they will take a common examination which will replace the current GCE O-Level and N-Level.

They will also all receive the same certificate upon graduation, effectively removing any notions of streaming.

The certificates will show the subjects, along with the standard band, taken at the examination.

In addition, the certificate will bear the names of both Singapore and Cambridge.

Streaming made some students “lose confidence”

This announcement comes a day after 5 PAP Members of Parliament (MPs) advocated for subject-based banding, in place of streaming.

This allows students to learn at their own pace, while not being explicitly categorised as ‘Normal’ or ‘Express’.

More than a decade ago, MOE allowed Normal stream students to take a maximum of 2 higher level subjects in Sec 3, if they had excelled in those subjects in Sec 1 and 2.

Labelling students ‘Normal’

However, the label ‘Normal’ can still have debilitating effects on the students’ confidence.

MP Mr Ang Wei Neng, who was in the teaching profession 30 years ago, said that students in the Normal stream had a sense of “resigned acceptance and defeat”.

Citing a past experience, Mr Ang claimed that Normal stream students were dismissive and felt no need to learn when he tried to teach them topics outside their syllabus.

MP Louis Ng also shared concerns about streaming, in particular how it may cause “social stratification” as students may experience immobility in the education system.

A unifying move

In ending, Mr Ong described the new banding system as “one secondary education, many subject bands”.

This means that under the new banding system, students will be able to chart their own secondary education journey with their different abilities in the various subjects.

We hope this new change will herald a new era in the education journey for our future generations.

Featured image from YouTube.