Press Releases

March 9, 2010

MOE to Enhance Learning of 21st Century Competencies and Strengthen Art, Music and Physical Education

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will implement a new framework to enhance the development of 21st century competencies in our students. This will underpin the holistic education that our schools provide to better prepare our students to thrive in a fast-changing and highly-connected world.

As part of this effort, MOE will strengthen the quality of Physical, Art and Music education. These subjects enable students to develop physical robustness, enhance their creative and expressive capacities, as well as shape their personal, cultural and social identity.

New Framework for 21st Century Competencies and Student Outcomes

To better position our students to take advantage of opportunities in a globalised world, our students need to possess life-ready competencies like creativity, innovation, cross-cultural understanding and resilience. Diagram 1 illustrates the Desired Student Outcomes and the 21st Century Competencies.

Diagram 1: 21st Century Competencies and Desired Student Outcomes
Diagram 1: 21st Century Competencies and Desired Student Outcomes
Desired Student Outcomes

The desired outcomes for every student are:

  • a confident person who has a strong sense of right and wrong, is adaptable and resilient, knows himself, is discerning in judgment, thinks independently and critically, and communicates effectively.
  • a self-directed learner who questions, reflects, perseveres and takes responsibility for his own learning.
  • an active contributor who is able to work effectively in teams, is innovative, exercises initiative, takes calculated risks and strives for excellence.
  • a concerned citizen who is rooted to Singapore, has a strong sense of civic responsibility, is informed about Singapore and the world, and takes an active part in bettering the lives of others around him.
21st Century Competencies

Knowledge and skills must be underpinned by values. Values define a person’s character. They shape the beliefs, attitudes and actions of a person, and therefore form the core of the framework of 21st century competencies.

The middle ring signifies the Social and Emotional Competencies—skills necessary for children to recognise and manage their emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, as well as to handle challenging situations effectively.

The outer ring of the framework represents the 21st century skills necessary for the globalised world we live in. These are:

  • Civic literacy, global awareness and cross-cultural skills
  • Critical and inventive thinking
  • Information and communication skills

Together, these competencies will enable our young to tap into the rich opportunities in the new digital age, while keeping a strong Singapore heartbeat. Annexes A to C elaborate on the competencies.

Many of these competencies and values are being taught in schools today. What schools will aim for is to strike a better balance between students’ learning of content knowledge and their acquisition of the necessary competencies and values to thrive in the future.

MOE will place greater emphasis on these competencies through the academic curriculum and Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs). Expectations and learning outcomes based on these competencies will be articulated across the entire curriculum in the next curriculum review cycle in 2012-2014. Values and competencies will also be explicitly taught during character and citizenship education lessons.

At the same time, MOE will build teacher capacity to deliver these 21st century competencies through the provision of pedagogical exemplars, training and professional sharing. MOE will also develop tools for holistic feedback and assessment. From 2012, all students will be provided with an individual Holistic Development Profile, which will record each student’s progress in developing these competencies.

Strengthening the Quality of PE, Art and Music (PAM) Education for Holistic Education

Over the years, MOE has invested in providing infrastructure and facilities to facilitate PAM education in our schools, such as Indoor Sports Halls and synthetic turf fields. MOE plans to equip schools with more of such facilities in the future. For example, in line with the recommendations of the Primary Education Review and Implementation (PERI) Committee, primary schools will be provided with two Programme for Active Learning (PAL) rooms, a performing arts studio, a dance studio, a band room and an outdoor running track. The establishment of the Physical Education and Sports Teacher Academy (PESTA) and the Singapore Teachers’ Academy for the aRts (STAR) also support the in-service training and professional development of our PAM teachers to strengthen PAM education. Move towards “Single-Subject” Specialisation for Art and Music

To enhance the delivery of the Art and Music curriculum, all new Art and Music teachers will be trained for single-subject specialisation, i.e. only in Art or Music. They will focus on teaching either Art or Music, and handle Art- or Music-related CCAs and programmes. Existing Art and Music teachers will also move towards single-subject specialisation.

Increase in PE Curriculum Time

PE develops students physically and equips them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle. Hence, MOE will increase PE curriculum time for all primary and secondary school students. Please refer to the table below for the details.

Level PE Curriculum Time
Primary 1 – Primary 2 1.5 hr → 2 hrs
(in addition to 2 hrs of PAL)
Primary 3 – Primary 6 1.5 hr → 2.5 hrs
Secondary 1 – Secondary 4 1 hr → 2 hrs

This will be implemented in phases, in step with the building of the Indoor Sports Halls, the implementation of single-session primary schools and the increased recruitment of PE teachers.