Sustained efforts to ensure teacher quality

Published Date: 20 November 2017 12:00 AM

News Forum Letter Replies

We thank Mr Ngiam Heng Kee for his letter “How does MOE define ‘teacher quality’?” (Nov 14) on the importance of teacher quality in our schools.

Indeed, teacher quality is key to developing our students to become confident and self-directed lifelong learners, who can overcome future challenges and actively contribute to Singapore.

To achieve these desired outcomes, our teachers do more than teach in the classrooms. They also deliver diverse and authentic learning experiences, such as through applied learning programmes and co-curricular activities, to inculcate values, build character, and nurture crucial life skills in our students.

Therefore, the Ministry of Education (MOE) recruits and deploys teachers who have the disposition and passion to mentor and teach, who display good values and possess the content mastery and pedagogical skills to deliver the curriculum effectively.

In doing so, our teachers are assessed based on their professional competencies in delivering holistic education, and not merely on their students’ academic achievements.

Very importantly, MOE encourages and supports our teachers to continually upgrade their professional skills and knowledge so that they become even more effective teachers.

Over the years, several international studies have reaffirmed Singapore’s efforts in ensuring teacher quality. For instance, the Teaching and Learning International Survey 2013 findings showed that we have a quality teaching force that is well-trained, well supported, and committed to the profession.

A study led by Stanford University’s Linda Darling-Hammond published earlier this year also lauded the strong teacher-led professional learning culture in Singapore, saying that “opportunities for teachers to collaborate and engage in professional learning are embedded systematically in Singapore’s education policy”.

Going forward, we clearly need to uphold this level of teacher quality.

It is neither possible nor meaningful for us to significantly increase the size of our teaching force just to reduce class sizes across the board.

Instead, we will continue to vary class sizes to best meet the specific learning needs of different groups of students, plus invest heavily in teacher quality so that we can bring out the best in every student.

Wong Siew Hoong
Director-General of Education
Ministry of Education

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