SINGAPORE - Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has strongly urged tuition centres not to "prey on the apprehension and anxieties of parents" over changes to cut back on examinations by simulating exam-like conditions for students.
He said these centres should try to understand why the changes are important to better prepare Singapore's young for the future, and help explain these reasons to parents.
Mr Ong was speaking on Wednesday (Oct 3) at the triennial Singapore International Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Conference at Raffles City Convention Centre.
Last week, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced a slew of changes to be introduced over the next three years, including fewer mid-year exams, no more class rankings, and two test-free years for children when they start primary school.
They are meant to help students become lifelong learners by allowing each of them to focus on their own learning progress.
Mr Ong urged tuition centres not to simulate exam-like conditions for students to make up for the reduction, saying: "Doing so would just be preying on the apprehension and anxieties of parents and students.
"Try to understand why these changes are important to better prepare our young for the future, and help explain this to parents."
Adding that schools have supported the changes, he said: "This change is a concerted shift by the education system... The principals and vice-principals are very glad that time has been returned to the schools, for better teaching and learning."
Mr Ong added that the changes also do not mean that there is less or no need for students to study, and stressed that the education system is not slackening.
He said: "Here is my advice to all our students... We will use this time to teach you better, so you can learn better.
"Teachers don't have to rush through the curriculum in order to prepare for examinations. So take this opportunity to study well and enjoy school and learning more."
The two-day TVET conference, organised by the Institute of Technical Education, ends on Thursday and will cover topics such as adapting to industry transformation and innovation in teaching and learning.