MOE will engage teachers and staff, consider ideas to improve education system: Lawrence Wong

Pupils maintain social distancing while being briefed by a teacher on the first day of schools reopening in phase 2 on June 2, 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Many of the recent reforms in the education system arose from feedback and input from teachers and staff at the Ministry of Education (MOE), Mr Lawrence Wong said.

Mr Wong, who is the newly appointed Education Minister, told teachers and staff that he will continue to engage them, with the help of Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman as well as Ms Sun Xueling and Ms Gan Siow Huang, who are both Ministers of State for Education.

In an internal memo seen by The Straits Times on Thursday (July 30), Mr Wong said: "(We will) consider your ideas for programmes and initiatives to help every student achieve their fullest potential.

"We want to benefit from your insights, and your experience on the ground interacting with our students. Our doors are always open, as we continue to look for ways to do better and improve."

Mr Wong, who served as Minister of State and then Senior Minister of State at MOE from May 2011 to November 2012, said he "firmly believes that the key ingredient behind the success of our education system lies with our outstanding team of leaders, educators and allied educators".

He noted that some teachers and staff were involved in various reviews, and in coming up with specific recommendations for change.

"These changes are still work in progress, and I look forward to working with all of you to see them through," he added.

Some reforms include revamping the Primary School Leaving Examination scoring system, phasing out streaming, reducing exam loads, and uplifting students from vulnerable backgrounds.

Mr Wong said: "At the heart of these changes is the recognition that our children are not defined by their grades; that education is much more than doing well in exams or being filled with knowledge.

"It is about lighting that fire of curiosity in our young people, and helping them discover their unique talents to do great things."

The minister noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for teachers, who have had to adapt to home-based learning as well as safe distancing measures in school.

Thanking them for their efforts in keeping students safe during this period, Mr Wong said: "At the end of the day, we are all here as one MOE family because we believe in the importance of education and the intrinsic worth of every child.

"Education is the most precious gift for our children. It's also the most critical investment for our people and society in a rapidly changing world."

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