Developing our students’ strengths
We help every student discover and develop their own strengths, and emerge from school confident of their abilities. We encourage them to follow and pursue their diverse passions – in academic fields, and in sports and the arts.
To support students’ different strengths and interests, we are making our education system more flexible and diverse. This gives students more choices in pursing their interests along pathways that better fit their learning styles. In doing so, students can take greater ownership of their learning, build their confidence and gain a stronger sense of purpose.
This is done through introducing:
We are bringing greater choice and flexibility into education by:
- Introducing more diverse and variegated pathways to encourage children with different talents and learning styles to develop their potential and pursue their aspirations.
- Providing schools with greater autonomy and resources to develop their own distinct strengths and areas of excellence, which could be in a particular area of study or in co-curricular activities and character development.
- More schools are offering new O-Level subjects, such as Computing and advanced elective modules, which provide more hands-on learning. Some offer different curricula and examination, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB).
- Selected secondary schools and junior colleges offer the Integrated Programme (IP) for academically-strong students who can benefit from a broader learning experience.
- More schools are offering Language Elective Programmes for Chinese, Malay and Tamil to cater to students who are strong in the languages.
- Specialised independent schools, such as the Singapore Sports School, NUS High School for Maths and Science, School of Science and Technology, and the School of the Arts (SOTA), allow students to develop and grow their diverse talents and abilities.
In the mid-2000s, MOE introduced Subject-Based Banding (SBB) in our primary schools, and shifted to customising learning at the subject level. We put in place varying levels of difficulty for the subjects – Standard and Foundation for English, Maths and Science; and Higher, Standard and Foundation for Mother Tongue Language, and also phased out streaming (EM1, EM2, EM3).
Learning from this positive experience, MOE implemented SBB throughout the secondary education system in 2018. This allows students in the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses more flexibility to take certain subjects at a more demanding level, based on their current performance and aptitude in the subject.
In 2020, we started piloting Full Subject-based Banding (Full SBB) in 28 secondary schools. Some pilot schools have re-organised form classes based on their CCA or house system. Students in some pilot schools will also have the option to offer Humanities subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 2.
By 2024, Full SBB will be implemented across the secondary education system, with the introduction of a common national examination and certification framework. The current Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses will be merged into a single course, and these course labels will also be phased out. The Full SBB changes will allow students to customise their education to their strengths and interests, enabling them to learn at their own pace and access opportunities to grow and develop, throughout their education journey.
Nurturing our students’ character and values
We also nurture young students into thoughtful individuals who ask questions, think critically, solve new problems and create innovative opportunities for the future. Equally important, we help our students to build up a set of sound values so that they have the strength of character and resilience to embrace the risks and challenges that come with life, develop themselves personally and professionally, and pursue their aspirations.
Through meaningful educational experiences in and out of the classroom, we provide our students with a broad-based, well-rounded education for their holistic development.
One way this is achieved is through refreshing and supporting the teaching and learning of Mother Tongue Languages (MTL). Our Mother Tongue Languages play a crucial role in the transmission of values and culture. With this natural synergy, the mother tongue curriculum will emphasise the teaching of moral values during MTL lessons in primary schools, through stories, songs, fables and proverbs.
Students may also choose to study a non-native MTL as a third language or at the conversational level through our Conversational Chinese and Malay (CCM) programme.
Preparing our students for the future
The future will bring many changes that we cannot foresee today. But we can embrace these challenges, and make the most of new opportunities.
We have an internationally-recognised education system. We have good schools with opportunities and platforms to develop our students’ strengths, character and values. We have capable, dedicated and inspiring school leaders and teachers, and facilities that are amongst the best in the world.
We are building on these strengths as we prepare the next generation of Singaporeans for the future. We support our students to explore new opportunities, pick up new skills, learn and grow professionally and personally throughout their lives.
With these, they can achieve their fullest potential and shape a better future for us all.
Our students’ education journey is characterised by the following principles:
Our schools provide a holistic education, covering both academic and non-academic areas.
We give our students a broad range of experiences and opportunities to develop the skills and values that they can use to shape a better future for all. Within school, they will also interact with fellow students and form strong friendships for life.
Besides assessing their academic aptitude, we are also looking at broader ways of evaluating their abilities. These include:
- Giving schools and tertiary institutions greater flexibility to set their own criteria that recognise different merits in the students that they admit.
- Introducing School Graduation Certificates to reflect students’ academic as well as non-academic achievements.
- Broadening co-curricular activities (CCAs) to recognise and give credit to student-initiated activities and community-based activities.
Learning for life is a value, an attitude and a skill that is fundamental in ensuring that education remains an uplifting force in society.
We encourage our students to learn more actively and independently. We strive to nurture a curiosity that goes beyond the formal curriculum, and a love for learning that stays with them through life.
Syllabuses will be trimmed without diluting students’ preparedness for higher education. This will free up time for our students to focus on growing core knowledge and skills, and to provide greater space in the curriculum for school activities and experiences. These include greater opportunities for the character development of their students and platforms for students to develop skills in innovation.
Learning experiences will be focused on developing understanding, critical thinking and the ability to ask questions and seek answers and solutions.
To avoid an excessive focus on academic results and help children discover the joy of learning, we have reduced the assessment load for students. Currently, students in Primary 1 and 2 no longer have to take examinations. The mid-year examinations for students in Primary 3, Primary 5, Secondary 1, and Secondary 3 will also be progressively removed across all schools.