Parliamentary Replies

February 14, 2011

School Hours and Activities

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Assoc Prof Paulin Tay Straughan (Nominated Member of Parliament)

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry has a set of guidelines for operation hours of primary and secondary schools; and (b) whether it stipulates the frequency of activities that can be held outside of official lessons and the times which these co-curricular activities and supplementary lessons must end.

Response

The Ministry does not stipulate operation hours for schools. However, there are guidelines on formal curriculum hours, which account for the biggest proportion of school hours.

For Primary 1 and 2, the guideline is for 48 periods of 30 minutes each per week and for Primary 3 to 6—49 periods of 30 minutes each per week. This works out to 5 hours a day including recess time. For secondary schools, the curriculum time guidelines stipulate 40 periods of 40 minutes each per week. This works out to 6 hours a day including recess time.

Schools have the autonomy to vary the hours of instruction time based on what is best in the educational interests of their pupils. In addition, as part of holistic education, schools carry out a range of activities outside curriculum hours. Schools exercise discretion on the types and frequency of activities, to meet the needs of their student populations.

In planning and implementing the different academic and non-academic activities, schools do bear in mind the well-being and workload of teachers and pupils.