askST: Why are primary schools going into home-based learning?

All primary school pupils will start full home-based learning from Sept 27.
All primary school pupils will start full home-based learning from Sept 27.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Education announced on Saturday (Sept 18) that all primary school pupils will start full home-based learning (HBL) from Sept 27 until the end of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) on Oct 6.

The ministry said this will also be the case at Special Education (SPED) schools offering the national curriculum. The Straits Times helps answer some key questions about the HBL arrangement.

Q: Is the 3-day pre-PSLE study break for Primary 6 pupils new?

A: No, it started last year.

Q: Why is MOE arranging HBL for Primary 1 to Primary 5 pupils before the PSLE this year?

A: There are multiple reasons.

The ministry wants to avoid exposing pupils to the risk of getting Covid-19 at school just before the PSLE to ensure P6 pupils are healthy to take the exam.

In addition, with fewer pupils around, any required deep cleaning or contact tracing at schools would be easier.

Lastly, the PSLE is conducted mostly in classrooms this year, unlike in previous years when the hall was used for the entire cohort. Hence, more classrooms are needed.

The arrangement is not entirely new for some P1 to P5 pupils in schools with more pupils. Some schools chose HBL last year as they wanted to reduce noise and activity level.

Q: What about the parents who are unable to look after their children during school hours?

A: Higher-needs pupils and those who need care arrangements can still return to school. It would be good if they can inform teachers beforehand to facilitate planning.