Lighter load for national and year-end school exams to help ease stress: Chan Chun Sing

Students taking the O, N and A levels this year will not be tested on some topics covered towards the end of the syllabus.
Students taking the O, N and A levels this year will not be tested on some topics covered towards the end of the syllabus.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Students taking the O, N and A levels this year will not be tested on some topics covered towards the end of their syllabus, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Tuesday (July 27).

All other students will also have the scope of their year-end exams reduced - to relieve some pressure.

Mr Chan said his ministry is especially concerned for the graduating cohorts due to the greater-than-expected disruption to schooling caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The more infectious variant has led to a jump in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent months.

"While these topics - common last topics - would have already been taught in schools, removing them from the national examinations would help to relieve the revision load and exam stress for our students," he said in a ministerial statement in Parliament on last week's death of a student at River Valley High School.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) had announced last month that common last topics would be removed from this year's Primary School Leaving Examination. Last year, common last topics were also removed from the national exam due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, co-curricular activities (CCAs) for secondary school and pre-university students will be resumed within the next few weeks as more complete their Covid-19 vaccination. 

"We are currently putting our plans together on how CCAs can be conducted safely within national safe management measures," said Mr Chan, noting that activities like CCAs, the National School Games, cohort camps and learning journeys that have had to be suspended due to Covid-19 are avenues for young people to build bonds and grow emotionally.

MOE also intends to increase the number of teacher counsellors deployed in schools from over 700 to more than 1,000 in the next few years.

Teacher counsellors are teachers who have been given counselling training.

Mr Chan added that while all schools now have at least one counsellor, MOE plans to recruit more or "re-role" suitable educators to be counsellors.

All teachers will also receive more training on mental health literacy to help them identify and support students in need, he said.

With immediate effect, there will also be dedicated time at the start of every school term to check on the well-being of students.