Letter of the week: Offer IB programme at some neighbourhood schools

Students in a classroom at Yuying Secondary School on Dec 17, 2020. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The change in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring system is a move in the right direction (MOE offers glimpse into impact of new PSLE scoring, April 28).

However, it arguably does not alter much in terms of the breadth of opportunities available in secondary schools. It also does not change the stigma of "neighbourhood schools".

My suggestion is for the Ministry of Education (MOE) to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme at a handful of neighbourhood schools.

I can think of a few benefits from this.

First, these educational opportunities would be offered to a larger group of students.

Second, it would help raise the profile of neighbourhood schools and eradicate the stigma surrounding them.

Third, it would broaden students' education choices - both the IB diploma and the A-level route have their merits.

Making both more widely available in our education system will benefit students who may be more suitable for the IB programme, but who are denied the opportunity because they fail to qualify for certain schools.

I believe there would be benefits beyond my aforementioned points.

I also believe that MOE would be in a better position to assess the tangible and intangible costs and benefits based on the statistics available.

As the educator John Holt said: "We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions - if they have any - and helping them explore the things they are most interested in."

Lee Wen Long

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