Heng Swee Keat, Education

Six per cent of Integrated Programme students in 2008 cohort dropped out

Of students who entered the "through-train" six-year Integrated Programme in 2008, 6 per cent have dropped out, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat today in Parliament.

Their reasons for doing so included switching to the O-level track, pursuing post-secondary education via other pathways, or going abroad, he said, in response to a question from SengKang West MP Lam Pin Min.

Dr Lam had asked for an update on the scheme and how schools monitor the suitability of students on the programme. Since it started in 2004, the IP has become the most sought-after track for top-performing students.

Mr Heng said that the majority of IP students "have no difficulty," and for the small number that do, schools provide support and counselling.

Those students for whom the IP programme is judged to be "educationally not appropriate" will be counselled to switch to a different track. Their parents are involved in the discussions, said Mr Heng.

He added that the O-level track remains the most effective one for the majority of Singapore students, as "it helps them build a strong academic foundation for post-secondary education through a more structured programme".

The IP injects diversity into the education system and caters to students who are academically-strong and can benefit from spending the time freed up from having to prepare for their O-levels to pursue "broader learning experiences," said Mr Heng.


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