Impact of home-based learning on the holistic development of students

Published Date: 02 November 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Christopher de Souza, Holland–Bukit Timah GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education in view of Singapore dealing with COVID-19 as an endemic and considering the significant disruption home-based learning (HBL) can cause, whether HBL can be minimised to facilitate interaction between students, CCA groups and other student groupings.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Christopher de Souza, Holland–Bukit Timah GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education in view of the greater risk of depression and anxiety among students during this period, whether home-based learning can be minimised so as to provide students with holistic development beyond purely academic excellence.

Response

1. MOE's approach has always been to keep schools safe so that they can remain open as far as possible. We recognise that Home-Based Learning (HBL) cannot be a full substitute for the school-based learning experience. During HBL, students are also less able to tap on their peers for support or take part in other activities such as in-person Co-curricular Activities (CCAs) which are important for their holistic development.

2. Schools mitigate the impact of HBL by leveraging technology to maintain social connections and minimise disruption to curriculum coverage. Teachers used online platforms and resources to conduct regular check-ins with students to monitor their well-being and to ensure continuity in their learning. Schools also remained open for high needs students and those without alternative care-giving arrangements during HBL.

3. As we transit to living with COVID-19, our aim is to minimise HBL while safely resuming as many aspects of normal school life as we can. We will do so for students from secondary schools and above first, given their high vaccination rates. Throughout the Stabilisation Phase, school-based learning continued for these older students under strict safe management measures (SMMs). After the national situation stabilises, a gradual return to normalcy may include resuming CCAs and larger school events first, with a view to allowing students to participate in important inter-school events next year such as the National School Games.

4. Since most of our Primary school students are not age-eligible for vaccination, we had placed all Primary schools on HBL from 27 September to 7 Oct 2021 as an additional precautionary measure. Nonetheless, physical schooling for Primary school students resumed in phases from 11 October (Monday) to better support their socio-emotional well-being.

5. In addition, to further support the well-being of younger students who may not learn as effectively during HBL, and allow more time for curriculum recovery due to disruptions brought about by COVID-19, the 2021 year-end examinations for Primary 3 and 4 students were cancelled.

6. We will continue to calibrate the pace we resume activities in schools based on the prevailing COVID-19 situation and national posture.

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