We thank Mr Joel Pang and Madam Karen Koo for their letters (Develop local version of O and A levels, Feb 27; and Let go of colonial past to create world-class local qualifications, Forum Online, March 6).
Both writers suggested that Singapore could develop our own local version of the GCE O-level and A-level examinations.
Singapore's GCE O-level and A-level examinations have been delinked from the United Kingdom examinations since 2002 and 2006 respectively, when the Ministry of Education (MOE) took greater control of these national examinations.
Our examinations are based on the Singapore curriculum and syllabus designed by the MOE, which emphasises strong fundamentals and 21st century competencies. They are different from the UK examinations.
While the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) engages Cambridge Assessment to set and mark the GCE examination papers, the curriculum standards, learning objectives and assessment standards of the GCE subjects are determined by the MOE and SEAB.
The awarding of the grades for the GCE subjects is also determined by the MOE and SEAB, in consultation with Cambridge Assessment. For GCE Mother Tongue language subjects, these are entirely set, marked and graded locally by the MOE and SEAB.
As part of SEAB's ongoing efforts to enhance our marking processes, we are also currently exploring electronic marking to help reduce the risks of transporting hard copy exam scripts. That said, any further changes to the conduct of the national examination and its processes must be carefully planned, taking into consideration the timeline and resources available.
The MOE, SEAB and Cambridge Assessment will continue to work together to ensure that our Singapore-Cambridge GCE qualifications continue to be well-recognised by institutions of higher learning both in Singapore and overseas.
Tan Lay Choo (Ms)
Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board