Parliamentary Replies

February 17, 2014

'O' and 'A' level Drama syllabus

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Janice Koh, Nominated Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) how many schools are offering and how many students are pursuing Drama as ‘O’ and ‘A’ level subjects today compared to five years ago; (b) whether the Ministry will consider introducing more Singapore content into the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level Drama syllabus; and (c) whether the Ministry has plans to encourage more schools to offer Drama as ‘O’ and ‘A’ level subjects and, if so, what preparations are being made to train our teachers to teach Drama as part of the core curriculum.

Response

Students who are interested in Drama can offer the subject as an O-level School Initiated Elective subject at the ‘O’ level, the Theatre Studies and Drama (TSD) at the ‘A’ level or the Theatre programme at the IB Diploma level offered by the School of The Arts (SOTA).

Currently, three junior colleges offer TSD. The number of TSD students including SOTA Theatre Year 6 students is 53. In 2010, TSD was offered in four junior colleges and the number of students was 55. The number is stable and averages around 56 students per year.

Currently, four secondary schools offer Drama, and the number of Drama students including SOTA Year 4 Theatre students is 93. In 2010, eight secondary schools offered the subject. The number of Drama students including SOTA Year 4 Theatre students then was 77. The number fluctuates over the years and averages around 81 students per year.

MOE is currently developing our own syllabus for the ‘O’ level Drama to be offered by schools in 2017. This will better cater to the interests and needs of our students and develop a stronger appreciation of our Singapore culture. MOE has recently established a dedicated drama unit to better focus on supporting schools. Resources and training will be provided to support schools to offer the subject in tandem with the implementation of the new syllabus.

With regard to infusing more Singapore content in the ‘O’ level Drama and ‘A’ level TSD syllabuses, both syllabuses have a coursework component whereby students are encouraged to draw inspirations from their lives to devise performances which are meaningful to them. As such, students’ practical work tends to be of Singaporean content as they engage with issues close to their hearts. For ‘O’ Level Drama, students may use local plays for their text-based performances, for example those by local playwrights such as Kuo Pao Kun and Haresh Sharma. In addition, Asian theatre and drama has been a feature in the ‘A’ Level TSD since 2006.