Impact of school mergers on students

Published Date: 11 May 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Leon Perera, Aljunied GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry has conducted any studies on the impact of school mergers announced in 2017 on the academic performance and development of students; (b) what are the learnings from the school mergers announced in 2017 to be taken into account in this new round of school mergers; and (c) whether the Ministry is considering research into the impact of smaller form class sizes as an alternative to school closures as a response to declining enrolment.

Response

1. We have been merging schools for a number of years, and have learnt useful lessons to better manage school mergers. These include enhanced support for the affected students and staff, as well as to strengthen stakeholder engagement. We have observed that school mergers have resulted in a better range of school programmes and co-curricular activities, and this contributes to the vibrant and holistic educational experience for students.

2. Implementing smaller class sizes is not an alternative to school mergers. While our overall enrolment rate is declining, there are differences across towns. In some new estates with many young families, the enrolment continues to go up. It is not practical for students in these estates to have to travel long distances to a school in another town, especially at the primary level. So the mergers allow us to re-deploy teachers to the schools with rising enrolment and greater needs.

3. Moreover, the merged schools, with their resultant larger student enrolments, will be able to provide a better range of school programmes and to offer a wider suite of CCAs to meet the range of talents and interests of students.

4. The issue of smaller class sizes is really a separate issue. As explained before, MOE will continue to maintain a healthy pupil-teacher ratio in our education system, and we will continue to study how best to deploy our teachers to maximise learning outcomes for all students.

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