Press Releases

February 11, 2008

Enhanced Programmes by Special Assistance Plan Schools to Enrich Students' Learning of Chinese Language and Values

Students of the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools can look forward to more opportunities to deepen their learning of the Chinese Language (CL) and culture as the SAP schools will be introducing enhancements to their programmes.

SAP schools were first established in 1979 to preserve the ethos of the Chinese medium schools and to promote the learning of Chinese Language and culture. They have done well and have remained relevant over the years. However, given the shifts in the home-language background of students1 the changing profile of educators and the rising importance of China, SAP schools need to evolve with the times to better fulfil their mission of nurturing bilingual and bicultural students who are steeped in Chinese Language and culture. The enhancements are timely and MOE will continue to support such initiatives.

The initiatives from the SAP schools involve a diverse range of models and approaches but they are centred on enhancing the learning of Chinese language, culture and values as well as strengthening the SAP school ethos.

Enriching Learning of Chinese Language and Traditional Values

  1. Enrich Chinese Language Learning in SAP Primary Schools

    Some of the SAP primary schools will teach non-examination subjects such as Art, Music, Physical Education and Social Studies in Chinese, while others will integrate part of the Chinese Language (CL) curriculum with non-examination subjects. Three schools are starting their enriched CL programme in 2008, and another two schools plan to start in 2009 (see details in Annex A ).

  2. Offer New ‘O’ Level Subject and Enrichment Modules in Chinese

    Chung Cheng High (Main) and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ will be introducing a new ‘O’ level subject, Media Studies in Chinese, from 2010.

    SAP secondary schools also plan to introduce more Enrichment Modules in Chinese, such as Translation, Chinese Drama and Introduction to Contemporary China, to expose students to different aspects of Chinese language and culture.

  3. Provide More Opportunities for Overseas and Local Immersion

    To enhance their students’ understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture and contemporary China, SAP schools will provide their students with more opportunities for immersion in China, including extended programmes of up to six months in key Chinese cities. Hwa Chong Institution, for example, has started a satellite campus in Beijing since September 2007, and will be offering places for other SAP school students.

    Nanyang Primary School, Nanyang Girls’ High School, Nan Hua Primary School and Nan Hua High School will be piloting local CL residential immersion programmes for some of their students, lasting between two to four weeks, to immerse them in a Chinese-speaking environment.

  4. Develop Flagship Programmes

    MOE will support and encourage SAP schools to each develop a CL-related flagship programme that adds to each school’s educational identity, and exposes students to enriched learning in Chinese language and culture. Some of the SAP schools that have already started doing so include Tao Nan School with its Bi-Cultural Elective Programme and Chung Cheng High (Main) with its Chinese Special Programme. (See details in Annex B)

  5. Enhance Values Education through Civics and Moral Education and Inter-Ethnic Interaction

    To deepen values education in SAP schools, traditional Chinese values will be incorporated into the teaching of the Civics and Moral Education curriculum where appropriate. This will be piloted in 8 primary2 and 7 secondary3 schools in 2009. If successful, this approach could be adopted by more SAP schools subsequently.

    SAP schools will also give their students more opportunities to interact with other ethnic groups to help them develop a better understanding of other races, and a strong sense of responsibility to the nation. For example, SAP schools could partner non-SAP schools to develop Co-Curricular Activities and community service programmes that facilitate sustained interaction and friendship between their students.

Strengthening SAP School Ethos

  1. Identify and Nurture SAP School Leaders

    As school leaders are key to shaping and maintaining the school ethos, MOE will continue to ensure that SAP schools are led by suitable leaders. As part of their professional development and training, current and potential SAP school leaders will be exposed to a range of structured development opportunities, including Masters or executive programmes in Chinese and longer overseas attachments to Chinese schools abroad.

  2. Create a Strong Community of SAP Schools

    SAP schools will establish stronger networks among themselves to nurture the SAP school ethos and create opportunities for professional development and resource sharing. SAP schools will work together on issues of common interest and provide effective platforms for their students and teachers to share their experiences.

Strengthening SAP School Teams

MOE will recruit suitable teachers to teach non-examination subjects such as Music, Arts and Physical Education in Chinese. Immersion and other development programmes for serving CL teachers in SAP schools will also be organised.

MOE Support

MOE will provide SAP schools with the necessary support to implement these initiatives. This includes providing curricular consultancy support to SAP schools.


The SAP scheme was introduced in 1979 to preserve the best traditions and ethos of the old Chinese medium schools, and to nurture a core group of students who are proficient in both English and Chinese. Currently, there are 10 SAP secondary schools and 15 SAP primary schools (see list in Annex C).

Annex A

Enriched CL Learning in SAP Primary Schools

Depending on their student profile, SAP primary schools will adopt different models to enhance CL learning, especially for their lower primary students:

  1. Teaching non-examination subjects such as Art, Music, Physical Education and/or Social Studies in CL. From 2008, Nanyang Primary and Tao Nan School will implement an enriched CL curriculum for their lower primary students by teaching non-examination subjects in Chinese. This will increase the CL exposure time from the existing 30% of curriculum time to 40% for Nanyang Primary; and up to 46% for Tao Nan.
  2. Integrating appropriate parts of the CL curriculum with that of non-examination subjects. Nan Hua Primary will integrate Civics and Moral Education, Social Studies and CL for all P1 and P2 classes from 2008. Ai Tong School will integrate Art, Music and CL for all P1 and P2 classes while Pei Chun Public plans to integrate Social Studies and CL for all P1 and P2 classes from 2009.

Annex B

Developing CL Flagship Programmes

Tao Nan School implemented its flagship programme known as the Bi-Cultural Elective Programme (BiCEP) as a school-based initiative from 2007 for selected Primary 4 students. The teaching of non-examination subjects in Chinese at the lower primary levels and the structured CL-related enrichment modules for all students provide a broad-based foundation. Students in the BiCEP are further enriched through modules of Chinese Culture and History, Children’s Literature Appreciation and Creative Writing.

Chung Cheng High School (Main) provides broad-based CL-related enrichment programmes such as Chinese Calligraphy, Chinese Internet Broadcasting and Speech and Drama Training to all its lower secondary students. Its four-year Chinese Studies Programme (CSP) provides students with in-depth CL modules including Contemporary China, Confucian Ethics, Chinese-English translation and Chinese film-making. In addition, students are also involved in thematic projects4 customised work attachments and overseas immersion programmes.

Annex C

List of SAP Schools
Secondary Schools

From 1979:

  1. Anglican High School
  2. Catholic High School
  3. CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School
  4. Chung Cheng High School (Main)
  5. Dunman High School
  6. Hwa Chong Institution (High School Section)
  7. Maris Stella High School
  8. Nanyang Girls’ High School
  9. River Valley High School

From 2000:

  1. Nan Hua High School
Primary Schools

From 1990:

  1. Ai Tong School
  2. Catholic High School (Primary)5
  3. CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School (Primary)5
  4. Maha Bodhi School
  5. Maris Stella High School (Primary)5
  6. Nan Hua Primary School
  7. Nanyang Primary School5
  8. Pei Chun Public School
  9. Red Swastika School
  10. Tao Nan School

From 1992:

  1. Holy Innocents’ Primary School
  2. Hong Wen School
  3. Kong Hwa School
  4. Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School
  5. Poi Ching School


  1. Among P1 Chinese students, the proportion that came from English-speaking homes doubled from 20% in 1988 to 40% in 1998. In 2007, 54% of P1 Chinese students came from English-speaking homes.
  2. The primary schools are CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, Hong Wen School, Holy Innocents’ Primary, Nan Hua Primary, Nanyang Primary, Pei Chun Public, Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary and Poi Ching School.
  3. The secondary schools are Anglican High, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, Chung Cheng High (Main), Dunman High, Hwa Chong Institution, Nan Hua High and River Valley High.
  4. Projects will be done in CL.
  5. These four schools offered CL1 from 1984 and were called “Seed” schools.