Infusing technology subjects in current school education system

Published Date: 03 July 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, Tanjong Pagar GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how can technology subjects be incorporated into the current syllabus of our education system so as to have a future-ready education system; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider making basic coding skills compulsory for secondary school students.

Response

1. In our secondary school curriculum, students have the opportunities to offer technology-related subjects such as Design and Technology, Computer Applications, Computing and Electronics. Design and Technology is a compulsory subject in the lower secondary curriculum whereas Computer Applications is compulsory for all Normal (Technical) students from Secondary 1 to Secondary 4. Over the past few years, we have introduced more technology-related subjects such as Electronics, Computing, Smart Electrical Technology and Mobile Robotics, which are offered as elective subjects in selected schools.

2. In these subjects, students learn a range of application software, hardware, programming languages and electronics systems to create prototypes and practical solutions with real-world uses. These emphasize experimentation, encourage innovation and require students to apply their knowledge and skills and select an optimal solution under certain constraints. Students are given opportunities to tinker and investigate the systems to gain better conceptual understanding of the working of the components in electronics systems. The syllabus of these subjects are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they keep in tandem with technological developments.

3. However, our secondary school curriculum is still about fundamental concepts and skills (such as problem solving, design thinking, computational thinking and troubleshooting skills).

4. At the lower secondary, there is limited curriculum time to offer a new subject such as Computing. Hence, our main approach is to enthuse a broad base of students in computing and expose them to possibilities of technology through enrichment programmes and co-curricular activities. Learning to code is part of the Applied Learning Programme (ALP) in 41 secondary schools. In addition, MOE also partners IMDA to provide enrichment programmes like the ‘Code for Fun’ and ‘Lab on Wheels’, which have been well received by schools. As of March 2016, 117 primary and secondary schools have embarked on the Code for Fun programme, benefiting 34,000 students. There are also a number of secondary schools (33 schools in 2016) with info-comm clubs which tap on the support of IMDA to provide learning in areas involving coding such as app development and robotics.

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