Parliamentary Replies

February 06, 2018

MOE emphasis on broad-based learning

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling, Fengshan Single Member Constituency

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) to what extent are the textbooks and curriculums in primary and secondary schools adjusted to align with our goal of de-emphasising the outcome focus on academic scores and emphasising more broad-based learning.

Response

1. The national curriculum is designed to prepare our students for life and work.

2. To achieve this, the national curriculum is broad-based and based on four important principles: holistic education, strong fundamentals, engaged learning and future readiness.

  1. Our holistic education equips our students with a broad range of competencies needed for life and work – besides the cognitive aspect, we also focus on the aesthetic, moral, physical and social domains.

  2. We ensure our students gain strong fundamentals in literacy and numeracy, are inculcated with strong values, and develop well in their social and emotional learning. These essential areas form the bedrock our students are able to draw from, for their continual and lifelong learning beyond school.

  3. To bring about engaged learners, teachers design lessons that use different pedagogies to help students develop a strong mastery of the discipline, appreciate the relevance of their learning, and apply it in real life.

  4. Our curriculum is forward looking. It is regularly reviewed to ensure that the learning outcomes remain appropriate for our students and responsive to future needs.

3. MOE textbooks are closely aligned to the objectives of our curriculum and are therefore designed to support our students’ holistic development, and not just for them to pass exams. Our teachers use a wide range of teaching resources to ensure that students learn through different modalities and immerse them in varied experiences. They participate in outdoor learning and are given the chance to apply their knowledge in authentic situations. At times, they need to draw on technology to synthesise concepts in new contexts. For example, in our Science textbooks, students learn about the lives of scientists, and the passion and perseverance they demonstrate in pushing the frontiers of scientific knowledge. The youngsters also get to appreciate and discuss the impact of science and technology on the environment. In Geography, students go on field trips to experience how theoretical concepts come to life.

4. Even though these learning outcomes may not be tested in examinations, they are equally important aspects of development that are given due emphasis in our curriculum.