Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on students’ learning

Published Date: 05 October 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Murali Pillai, Bukit Batok SMC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education whether his Ministry will conduct a study on the impact of lost conventional in-person schooling on the future career prospects of school children because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and identify steps that may be taken to address these problems so that they do not run the danger of becoming a "lost generation".

Response

1. MOE is closely monitoring the disruptions to schooling caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and has taken steps to ensure that students' learning and development is not unduly compromised. We do so by keeping schools open as far as possible, and by ensuring that learning can still take place as effectively as possible even under Home-Based Learning conditions. When students return to school, teachers ensure that students can make up for the in-person learning that they could not conduct online. While the Common Last Topics were removed from our national examinations, recovery is in place as these topics will be taught post-examination and also via the Student Learning Space. This will ensure preparedness for the next level of learning.

2. Therefore, we do not see a significant negative impact on students' learning as a result of the pandemic. We have surveyed our students on their Full Home-Based Learning experiences and majority of them have indicated that their learning has not been severely affected. The overall performance of our students in the 2020 national examinations was also comparable to that of previous years, affirming that there were no major learning losses.

3. Amidst these challenges, the crisis has presented us an opportunity to emerge stronger. Both teachers and students have become more skilful in harnessing the strengths of Blended Learning to develop future-ready skills. Many of our students have also become more self-directed and independent in their learning, and more resilient to disruptions. These growths will stand them in good stead when confronted with future challenges in life and careers. We are confident that this generation of students remain as well prepared, if not more so, as past generations for the challenges ahead of them.

4. To answer Mr Murali's question directly, there will be some impact on learning with the lost of conventional in-person schooling, especially the loss of CCAs and other informal interpersonal interactions. That is why we try to resume those activities where we can. But our assessment is that the impact is not major thus far, but we cannot take for granted that the negative impact will not cumulate. We will continue to take steps to ameliorate these issues with the help of technology, the commitment of our teachers and the support of our parents.

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