Singapore’s Education System To Go Through Major Restructuring

The recent “Life Beyond Grades” movement is the latest to tackle the issue of Singapore’s excessive emphasis on grades.

And after years of pleas from parents and teachers, it seems that the Ministry of Education is finally giving in.

On Friday (28 Sep), MOE announced sweeping changes to Singapore’s education system.

And there will be more in the future: Education Minister Ong Ye Kung shared that a similar review of assessments in Junior Colleges will be held soon.

These changes follow an earlier review of polytechnics and ITEs in March.

So what were the big changes to Singapore’s education system? MustShareNews breaks them down:

1. No weighted tests and exams for Primary 1 & 2

Primary 1 and 2 students will no longer sit for major exams. They will not receive reports of marks or results of their tests and assessments.

When: From 2019

2. No mid-year exams for Secondary 1

Since secondary school students are transitioning from the primary school curriculum, removing mid-year exams will allow them to adjust to the secondary school curriculum.

When: From 2019

3. No mid-year exams for Primary 3 & 5 and Secondary 3

Like Secondary 1, these are transition years when students are exposed to new–and often more rigorous–content.

Without mid-year exams, students can focus on adapting to this content.

When: From 2020

4. Result slips

Remember how scared you were to tell your parents that you weren’t 1st in class? Now you won’t be able to, since results slips will no longer record the following:

  • Position in class
  • Position in standard
  • Progress report — remove tracking of students’ exam performance
  • Percentile scores for each subject — no comparison with peers
  • Total marks — only total percentage will be reflected and rounded up to a whole number
  • All marks will be rounded up to whole numbers
  • No underlining of fail scores

When: From 2019

5. Mixed ability classes

Allocation of classes will no longer segregate high progress and low progress students. Instead, classes will be mixed ability.

When: From 2019

6. Edusave awards

Ranging from $200 to $350 for primary and secondary students, these bursaries used to be presented to top scorers.

But with the changes to Singapore’s education system, they will be awarded to students who show good learning attitudes. This change only applies to Primary 1 to 3 students.

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When: From 2019

Here’s a comprehensive graphic detailing all the changes that will be implemented:

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Making learning enjoyable for life

Mr Ong announced the changes at MOE’s Schools Work Plan Seminar and stressed that they were necessary.

He acknowledged that “education in schools is at risk of becoming too stressful” and asserted that “examination results are but one outcome of education.”

Not everything will be scrapped

National exams such as the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), ‘N’, ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level Examinations remain.

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These are useful tools to measure the effectiveness of students’ learning and ensure that they have gained the most out of Singapore’s education system.

MOE believes that preserving national exams will sustain the quality of education.

But by introducing these 6 changes, the agency hopes to introduce a curriculum that will also instill the joy of learning in students.

Little room for further cuts

The last notable curriculum reduction in our education system was made in 2005 with the “Teach Less, Learn More” movement.

While this initiative also promoted better engagement in education, it was targeted mainly at teachers.

MOE reduced the curriculum content by 20% to give teachers more flexibility to customise their teaching and engage more with students.

The reduction made then has left little room for MOE to introduce much more changes at the risk of under-teaching.

Ongoing improvement

MOE has emphasised its commitment to constantly review and improve its system over the years.

Let’s hope that with these new measures Singapore can produce well-rounded individuals, whose success is measured beyond solely academic achievements.

Featured image from Facebook.