Debate on ministries’ budgets

PM Lee's Facebook post on education

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that education is taken very seriously, and that all ideas will be taken into account to make it better.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that education is taken very seriously, and that all ideas will be taken into account to make it better. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Our education system is widely admired. However, that doesn't mean we will stop trying to improve it!

During the Committee of Supply (debate) in Parliament today, Ong Ye Kung announced that secondary school streaming will be phased out by 2024. In its place, Ministry of Education, Singapore is implementing subject-based banding.

Secondary students will be able to study subjects at the appropriate band, depending on whether they are strong or weak in that subject. The N-and O-Level exams will be replaced by a new common national exam. Students will take individual papers at different levels, matching the bands.

MOE introduced streaming 40 years ago. The system has enabled students of different abilities to learn at their own pace. It has helped nearly every student to complete secondary school, and most to go on to post-secondary education.

But streaming has some drawbacks - it lacks flexibility, and students in the slower streams may become demotivated. Banding overcomes these difficulties, while enabling each student to learn at the pace which suits their aptitude and level, depending on the subject.

Glad to see the lively exchange of views in Parliament about streaming yesterday.

We take education very seriously, and will listen to all ideas to make it better. We must acknowledge that children differ enormously in their abilities and interests.

Schools should tailor the education they offer to the students' varying needs and talents.

At the same time, they should create opportunities for students to interact with one another across different races and social backgrounds so that they grow up at ease with one another and share a sense of identity, mutual responsibility and nationhood.

PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'PM Lee's Facebook post on education'. Print Edition | Subscribe