Schools: Moving away from overemphasis on grades

Edusave: Awards for lower primary pupils to be based on learning attitudes

The Ministry of Education will adjust the academic criteria for the Edusave Merit Bursary for Primary 1 and 2 pupils, and Good Progress Award for Primary 2 and 3 pupils.
The Ministry of Education will adjust the academic criteria for the Edusave Merit Bursary for Primary 1 and 2 pupils, and Good Progress Award for Primary 2 and 3 pupils.PHOTO: ST FILE

As there will be no more exams at the Primary 1 and 2 levels next year, Edusave awards at the lower primary levels will need to be based on a different criterion.

That is why they will recognise pupils' attitudes towards learning - such as the diligence, curiosity and enthusiasm they show in class, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said.

Speaking at the annual Schools Work Plan Seminar earlier this week, he said the removal of exams at the Primary 1 and 2 levels left an administrative obstacle in awarding the bursaries, but it is one the Ministry of Education (MOE) would overcome. He said: "It is important to retain these awards as they celebrate students' academic success and learning milestones.

"Every year, I personally give out about 2,000 Edusave awards in my constituency... You can really see the pride and joy in the eyes of the parents and students, especially the younger ones."

Recipients of the Edusave Merit Bursary award, for Primary 1 and 2 pupils, get $200. The Edusave Good Progress Award is worth $100 for Primary 2 and 3 pupils. One of the key criteria is how well the pupils do academically.

Going forward, the MOE will use qualitative descriptors instead of marks to gauge the children's progress, the minister said.

Mr Ong explained: "Teachers can observe the demonstration of positive traits in students like diligence, curiosity, collaboration and enthusiasm through daily lessons and learning activities.

 

"It is not as quantitative and standardised as school-based examinations, but qualitative judgment is a fact of life."

 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2018, with the headline 'Edusave: Awards for lower primary pupils to be based on learning attitudes'. Print Edition | Subscribe