Parliament: All normal stream students can take subjects they are strong in at higher level from 2018

CHIJ St Theresa's Convent teacher, Ms Donna Koh, conducting an English lesson for Secondary 4 students.
CHIJ St Theresa's Convent teacher, Ms Donna Koh, conducting an English lesson for Secondary 4 students.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - From 2018, a pilot scheme that allows lower secondary students from the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams to take subjects at a higher academic level will be extended to all schools.

This was announced in Parliament by Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng on Tuesday (March 7) during the debate on his ministry's budget.

He said: "We cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach... For students with uneven strengths across their subjects, they can stretch themselves in their areas of strength through subject-based banding."The scheme, which has been on trialat 12 secondary schools since 2014, allows students from the Normal(Academic) and Normal(Technical) streams who score at least an A for English, mathematics, science and mother tongue at the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) to study the corresponding subjects at the Express level.

Students in the Normal(Technical) course who score B or C in a standard PSLE subject or 1 in a Foundation subject could take the corresponding subject at one level higher, at the Normal(Academic) level.

If students perform well in their subjects after starting Secondary 1, their schools may also offer them the chance to take subjects at a higher level. They can take up to three higher level subjects.

The changes build on a flexible subject-based banding system that has been in place for upper secondary students since 2003. Normal(Technical) students are allowed to offer Normal(Academic) subjects if they are assessed to be suitable, while Normal(Academic) students can take "O" level subjects at Secondary 4.

Mr Ng said: "We call this flexibility Subject-Based Banding. Not only does this help them deepen their learning in areas of strengths, it also helps our students build confidence, and opens up new post-secondary possibilities for them."