MOE's Addendum to President's address: Schools to look beyond academic results when assessing students

Students at Chung Cheng High School receiving their O-level results, on Jan 11, 2016.
Students at Chung Cheng High School receiving their O-level results, on Jan 11, 2016.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Students can expect less emphasis on academic results and more opportunities to pursue a broader range of interests, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) which unveiled its plans for the next five years.

As students move up to junior colleges, polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) or universities, they will be assessed not just based on academic scores, as the institutes of higher learning expand the use of holistic selection practices.

One of the aims is to make sure that there is a better matching of interest and course of study, so that young Singaporeans leave the education system wanting to continue to learn.

Acting Education Ministers Ng Chee Meng (Schools) and Ong Ye Kung (Higher Education and Skills) on Tuesday (Jan 19) outlined these plans in the ministry's addendum to the President's address at the opening of Parliament last Friday (Jan 15).

Here's a look at the MOE's plans:


Develop strengths and interests of every child

* Continue efforts to reduce excessive focus on academic results, so that learning is more enjoyable and examinations are not overly perceived to be high-stake endeavours

* Allow students more time and space to pursue a broader range of interest

* Strengthen programmes in primary schools to help students discover strengths and interests in areas such as arts, music and sports

* Stronger emphasis on outdoor education so as to build up ruggedness and resilience

* Develop and share with the pre-school sector quality kindergarten curriculum and age-appropriate teaching and learning resources

Opportunities for all

* Strengthen school-based levelling-up programmes for academically weaker students

* Financial support for students who need help

* More student care centres to provide after-school learning environment for more students from a less advantaged background

* Support children with special educational needs in different ways, such as school-based programmes and working with employers to smoothen transition from school to work

* Deepen use of information and communications technology resources

* Strengthen teacher training and professional development

Diverse aspirations, multiple pathways

* Better matching of interest and course of study so that students leave the education system wanting to continue to learn

* Institutes of higher learning will expand the use of holistic selection practices to assess students based on attributes beyond academic scores

* Help students better understand their strengths. Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Centres have been set up, and ECG counsellors are working with secondary schools, junior colleges, ITE, and polytechnics

* Greater emphasis on industry attachments and apprenticeship programmes

* More diverse offerings at the universities, as cohort participation rates for publicly-funded university places is expected to go up to 40 per cent by 2020 from the current 32 per cent

* Strong regulation for private education sector to ensure quality

* More part-time programmes at post-secondary education institutions to encourage lifelong learning