[N(T)]We refer to the letter by Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong (Specialised schools may be curbing student aspirations, social mixing; June 13).
The Ministry of Education's (MOE) aim is to develop every child, by providing multiple pathways that cater to different strengths and interests within our education system.
This is why we set up Crest and Spectra secondary schools in 2013 and 2014 respectively - to offer further choices to students in the Normal (Technical) course who prefer a more hands-on and practice-oriented curriculum.
This reflects our commitment to students who need stronger learning support plus education and career guidance.
Taking a whole-school approach allows us to better customise our curriculum, programmes and environment to their needs.
Feedback from students and parents have been extremely positive.
Many students shared that they are well-supported in their learning and that the positive school culture nurtures their confidence, motivating them to attend lessons and strive for the best in all that they do.
Indeed, educators at Crest and Spectra adapt their pedagogy, put in place diverse programmes to develop students holistically, and partner other schools so their students can interact with peers through co-curricular activities, or with older mentors through community projects.
Students also collaborate with peers from different schools through inter-school camps, such as the MOE-Outward Bound Singapore Challenge Programme.
Through Subject-Based Banding (SBB), N(T) students in Crest and Spectra, just like in other schools, can offer their stronger subjects at a higher level (Normal (Academic) or Express) from Secondary 1.
SBB recognises students' uneven strengths across various subjects and enables them to do well in subjects they are strong in.
In fact, many students who qualified for lateral transfers based on their school-based examination results choose to remain in Crest and Spectra for the schools' unique curriculum and pedagogy, while offering some subjects at a higher level.
As students find meaning and confidence in their learning and discover their passions and interests, they perform better and strive higher.
Looking at the 2017 graduating cohort from Crest and Spectra, almost all the students have progressed to the Institute of Technical Education to deepen their skills; like any other student in ITE, if they keep doing well, they can go on to pursue a polytechnic diploma.
The MOE will continue to work with Crest and Spectra to support all students in fulfilling their aspirations and maximising opportunities for their holistic development.
Cindy Khoo (Ms)
Divisional Director, Planning Division
Ministry of Education