Changes to Primary Education

Bunch of Primary School Kids

Smaller Class Size for Primary 1 and 2

Key changes for government primary schools

30 students per class for Primary 1 classes from 2005 and Primary 2 classes from 2006.

Why are we doing this?

  • We recognise that students may have different starting points when they first enter school. This will enable the teacher to look after the wide range of student needs in each class.
  • To provide Primary 1 and 2 students with more individualised attention to give them a strong grounding in literacy and numeracy.
  • To ease the move from pre-school where class size is usually less than 30.
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Transition of Primary Schools to Single Session

Key changes

  • move all primary schools to a single-session model progressively over the next few years.
  • transition of all government primary schools to single-session by 2016

Why are we doing this?

To provide teachers with additional time and space to deliver a more holistic education as well as to allow pupils to benefit from a wider range of academic and non-academic activities.

Read about the transition of primary schools to single session.

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Subject-based Banding in Primary School

Key changes

Starting from the 2008 Primary 5 cohort, primary schools will introduce Subject-based Banding to replace the current EM3 stream.

Currently EM3 stream students offer the Foundation level for all subjects. With Subject-based Banding, students will be able to offer a mix of Standard or Foundation subjects depending on their aptitude in each subject.

For instance, if a student is weak in English and Mathematics, he can choose to take English and Mathematics at the Foundation level while taking Mother Tongue Language and Science at the Standard level.

Why are we doing this?

To provide students with customised and differentiated learning experiences, so as to realise their potential, while enhancing opportunities for interaction among students.

Read about what Subject-based Banding means for your child.

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Programme for School-based Excellence

Key changes

Primary schools can apply for up to $100,000 from MOE to develop their special areas.

Why are we doing this?

To enable schools to differentiate themselves through strong niche programmes that will benefit their students educationally.

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More Responsive and Engaging Mother Tongue Language Curriculum (Chinese Language)1

Key changes

Flexibility in Chinese Language (CL) curriculum which allows teaching according to students’ abilities and needs.

  • New modular CL curriculum will be implemented at Primary 1 and 2 in 2007, Primary 3 and 4 in 2008, followed by Primary 5 in 2009 and Primary 6 in 2010.
  • All students will take Core modules.
  • Bridging and Reinforcement modules will meet the needs of students who enter school with little exposure to CL or who require additional support for the Core modules.
  • Students with the ability and interest will be encouraged to study the language at a higher level through Enrichment modules.
  • The CL PSLE examination will be pitched at the standard of the Core modules.
Structure of CL Modules for Different Learner Profiles

Enhancement of teaching methods, assessment methods and instructional resources.

  • At Lower Primary, explicit lessons on strategies that students can use for the recognition and understanding of CL characters will be taught.
  • Greater emphasis on speaking, listening and reading. Strategies like songs, verse/choral reading and recitation will be used more widely.
  • Instructional and reading materials that will capture students’ interest.
  • Changes to the PSLE from 2006 to reduce emphasis on memorisation, increase testing in context and increase weighting for speaking/listening component.
  • Use of approved CL electronic handheld dictionaries in composition will be allowed in school-based assessments from 2006 and in the PSLE from 2007.

More opportunities to use CL in school.

  • SAP primary schools may provide greater exposure to CL by teaching more subjects in CL, particularly in the early primary years.

Why are we doing this?

  • To make the Mother Tongue languages “living” languages and develop in students a lifelong interest in their Mother Tongue language and culture.
  • To customise the curriculum to meet the needs of students of different language ability and interest.

For more information, download the following:

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More Responsive and Engaging Mother Tongue Language Curriculum (Malay Language)2

Key changes

Customisation and flexibility in ML curriculum.

  • Ability banding or differentiated instruction within a class for lower Primary to meet the needs of students from varied home language backgrounds and abilities.

Enhancement of syllabus, instructional materials and assessment methods.

  • Greater emphasis on developing speaking, listening and reading skills.
  • New ML curriculum to be implemented for Primary 1-4 in 2008, Primary 5 in 2009 and Primary 6 in 2010.
  • Clearly stated learning outcomes to reflect different levels of achievement or Tahap.
  • Instructional and reading materials that will capture students’ interest.
  • Changes to the PSLE from 2006 to reduce emphasis on memorisation, increase testing in context and increase weighting for speaking/listening component.
  • New ML curriculum to be implemented for Primary 1-4 in 2008, Primary 5 in 2009 and Primary 6 in 2010.

Why are we doing this?

  • To make the Mother Tongue languages “living” languages and develop in students a lifelong interest in their Mother Tongue language and culture.
  • To customise the curriculum to meet the needs of students of different language ability and interest.
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More Responsive and Engaging Mother Tongue Language Curriculum (Tamil Language)3

Key changes

Customisation and flexibility in TL curriculum.

  • Ability banding or differentiated instruction within a class for lower Primary to meet the needs of students from varied home language backgrounds and abilities.

Enhancement of syllabus, instructional materials and assessment methods.

  • Greater emphasis on developing speaking, listening and reading skills.
  • Instructional and reading materials that will capture students’ interest.
  • From 2006, the TL syllabus will teach spoken Tamil rather than formal Tamil.
  • Spoken Tamil instead of formal Tamil will be used in the PSLE oral examination from 2010.
  • Changes to the PSLE from 2006 to reduce emphasis on memorisation, increase testing in context and increase weighting for speaking/listening component.
  • New TL curriculum to be implemented for Primary 1-4 in 2008, Primary 5 in 2009 and Primary 6 in 2010.

Why are we doing this?

  • To make the Mother Tongue languages “living” languages and develop in students a lifelong interest in their Mother Tongue language and culture.
  • To customise the curriculum to meet the needs of students of different language ability and interest.
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Enriching Learning Experiences of High-ability Students

Key changes

Starting from 2007, Primary 4 students not in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) who have demonstrated high ability in English and Mathematics, can benefit from more enriching lessons and provisions beyond the curriculum in these 2 subject areas.

GEP centres will also create more opportunities for GEP students to interact with their non-GEP schoolmates, in both the non-academic and academic curriculum.

GEP centres will also create more opportunities for GEP students to interact with their non-GEP schoolmates, in both the non-academic and academic curriculum.

Why are we doing this?

  • To provide high-ability students, who are not in the GEP, the opportunity to achieve as high a level as possible in their areas of talent.
  • To maximise opportunities for GEP students to interact with others so that they grow up with friends of different abilities and backgrounds.

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Footnotes:

  1. Higher Chinese Language will still be offered in Primary Schools
  2. Higher Malay Language will still be offered in Primary Schools
  3. Higher Tamil Language will still be offered in Primary Schools