Take different tack to tackle falling enrolment

I urge the Ministry of Education (MOE) to adopt a different mindset towards declining enrolment in secondary schools and take the opportunity to implement a smaller teacher-student ratio in classrooms ("22 secondary schools in big pair-up"; last Saturday, and "Smaller classes: Boon or bane?"; Sunday).

The MOE has been emphasising the teacher-student ratio in schools, but it is in the classrooms that the ratio can make the most difference. With 20 to 30 students in each class, teachers will be able to give more attention to individual students.

Also, just as Singapore does not try to compete in every sport because of its small population, and manages to do creditably in niche sports, schools with smaller populations can adopt a similar approach to co-curricular activity offerings for their students. In fact, even schools with normal enrolments select their CCA offerings strategically, and students do not always get what they would like.

If schools with smaller class sizes can develop students well and produce worthy results, that could help arrest the falling enrolments.

Chen Junyi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2016, with the headline 'Take different tack to tackle falling enrolment'. Subscribe