Nurturing Students

Flexibility and Diversity

A student paintsWe are bringing greater choice and flexibility into education. New types of schools are being introduced to encourage those with special talents to go as far as they can. Existing schools have been provided with further autonomy and resources to develop their own distinct strengths and specific areas or niches of excellence. These could be either in a particular area of study or in co-curricular activities and character development. The different needs of students will thus be met through a wide range of school types and educational programmes.

They include:

  • Wider range of curricula and schools:

    • Schools will be allowed to offer new ‘O’ Level subjects and elective modules. Some will also offer different curricula and examinations, e.g. the International Baccalaureate.

    • New programmes in schools – e.g. the Programme for School-based Excellence in primary schools and the Integrated Programme (IP) and Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) in selected secondary schools and junior colleges.

    • Specialised independent schools – Singapore Sports School, NUS High School for Maths and Science, School of Science and Technology, and the proposed Arts School.

    • Two privately-funded secondary schools have been set up.
  • Greater flexibility in streaming. In secondary schools, Normal (Academic) and Normal ( Technical) students have more flexibility to take a few subjects at a higher level or faster pace. Schools also have greater flexibility to transfer these students to another course when they show that they have the ability to benefit from them. Schools may also allow their top Normal (Academic) students to progress to Secondary 5 without taking the ‘N’ Level examinations. In primary schools, the EM1 and EM2 streams have been merged, and primary schools have the autonomy to decide on putting their EM3 students with other classes for lessons in various subjects.

  • Greater flexibility in teaching and learning of the Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) to help students with different abilities to go as far as they can. Students may choose to study a non-native MTL as a third language.

A Broad-based, Holistic Education

A student dancing

Our schools are striving to provide students with a holistic education, focused on both academic and non-academic areas. We want to give our students a broad range of experiences and help them make the most of their years together in school where they will interact with one another and form strong friendships for life. As they grow up, we want to provide them with the full opportunity to develop the skills and values that they will need for life. Besides judging our students’ performance through examinations, we are also looking at other and broader measures of how well they do in education.

Schools and tertiary institutions are being given greater flexibility to set their own criteria that recognise different merits in the students that they admit.

School Graduation Certificates has been introduced from 2008 to reflect students’ academic as well as non-academic achievements.

Co-curricular activities have been broadened to recognise and give credit to student-initiated activities and community-based activities.

The school ranking system has been revised to encourage schools in their efforts to provide a broad-based education.

Teach Less, Learn More

Students participating in activities

We will encourage our students to learn more actively and independently. We want to nurture a curiosity that goes beyond the formal curriculum, and a love for learning that stays with the student through life.

Syllabuses will be trimmed without diluting students’ preparedness for higher education. This will free up time for our students to focus on core knowledge and skills, and to provide greater space for flexibility in carrying out school-based activities in the curriculum.

Schools are providing more opportunities for the character development of their students and for students to develop skills in innovation.

Teaching will be focused on developing understanding, critical thinking and the ability to ask questions and seek answers and solutions.

Examinations and assessment methods will be reviewed, to reduce reliance on rote learning and encourage independent learning and experimentation.