Addendum To The President’s Address 2016

Published Date: 19 January 2016 12:00 AM

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1. We mould the future of Singapore, and aim to bring out the best in every child. We seek to nurture them into upright, confident, knowledgeable and skilful young adults, equipped with a strong, lifelong curiosity and passion for learning.

Passion for Learning

2. Together with parents and our partners in the community, we will build on our efforts to bring out the best in every child, regardless of his or her starting point. We will guide, inspire and support every child to nurture a love for learning and pursue a meaningful and purposeful life through a student-centric, values-driven education.

A Holistic Education to Develop the Strengths and Interests of Every Child

3. We will provide wider exposure and opportunities for students to discover and build on their interests and talents in a range of areas, and develop important life skills from a young age. At the same time, we will continue various efforts to reduce excessive focus on academic results, so that learning is more enjoyable, examinations are not overly perceived to be high-stake endeavours, and students have more time and space to pursue a broader range of interests, sustain their curiosity, cultivate an innovative spirit, and pursue a well-rounded education.

4. In the pre-school sector, we will continue to develop, refine and share with the wider sector quality kindergarten curriculum and age-appropriate teaching and learning resources.

5. We will strengthen programmes in primary schools to help students discover their strengths and interests in areas such as arts, music and sports. A stronger emphasis will be placed on outdoor education, to build up ruggedness and resilience in our students.

6. We will create a diverse landscape of secondary schools with distinctive programmes in various domains and applied learning opportunities, to provide more options for students to develop their interests in their chosen field.

7. The delivery of 21st Century Competencies will be strengthened in the Junior College (JC) curriculum to better prepare JC graduates for further learning and to develop individuals with sound character, resilience and humility to serve and lead the community.

An Inclusive System that Provides Opportunities for All

8. Beyond imbuing values and imparting knowledge and skills, education is a critical leveller of societal gaps, so that no child gets left behind. We will continue to strengthen our school-based levelling-up programmes to support academically weaker students, and provide financial support for students from financially challenged families to cope with the costs of education. We will also expand Student Care Centres to provide an after-school environment conducive to learning for more students from a less advantaged background.

9. We will step up efforts to support children with special educational needs through school-based programmes, specialised services, special education schools, and programmes in collaboration with employers to smoothen transition from school to work.

10. The use of Information and Communications Technology resources will be deepened to better achieve our desired education outcomes. Through providing access to quality MOE-developed or curated online resources, students can learn anytime, anywhere, at their own pace and in collaboration with their peers.

11. Our educators are instrumental in educating our next generation. We will enrich pedagogical skills and content mastery of teachers by strengthening teacher training and ongoing professional development, so that they can better impart 21st Century Competencies and sound values like respect, responsibility, integrity, care, resilience, and harmony, which remain core to our desired outcomes of education.

Diverse Aspirations, Multiple Pathways

12. Young people have diverse aspirations and desire to contribute to society, nation, and mankind in a variety of ways. We have established Education Career Guidance (ECG) Centres, with a structured ECG curriculum, and deployed ECG counsellors in secondary schools, JCs, ITE, and polytechnics. They interact with studentsand help them better understand their strengths and uncover their passions and aspirations for the future.

13. We will support students by developing multiple pathways, spanning diverse fields from science and technology to social services, creative arts and hospitality, at the post-secondary and tertiary levels to develop their knowledge and skills in their areas of interest. Whatever the pathway chosen, our students will learn the latest knowledge and skills, and build a strong foundation for continual learning throughout their lives. This is the best way to prepare them for the future.

14. ITE, through its three comprehensive campuses, will continue to develop useful hands-on and industry-relevant skills for our young. Polytechnics will continue to provide high quality, practice-based education in a dynamic and progressive education environment. We will focus on learning not just in school, but also in the workplace. Accordingly, we will place greater emphasis on industry attachments, as well as other learning formats such as the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme - a modern apprenticeship programme.

15. We will increase cohort participation rates for publicly-funded university places from 32% today to 40% by 2020. Our university offerings are expanding. Aside from quality offerings in traditional fields, there are many more possibilities in the universities to cater to individuals of varying strengths and interests. NUS has the NUS Overseas Colleges to nurture entrepreneurs; Yale-NUS’ Liberal Arts Programmes cater to students with broad thirst for knowledge; NTU and SUTD are developing new generations of engineers through their Renaissance Engineering and innovation and design-centric programmes respectively; SMU offers many double major programmes and is strengthening its emphasis on inter-disciplinary learning; and SIT and UniSIM will launch more applied degree programmes, with a strong nexus with industry, to develop talent with specialised skills and an ability to innovate.

16. We will continue to ensure strong regulation for the private education space, to ensure that students are protected and both institutions and courses meet or exceed minimum quality standards.

17. Very importantly, our young must leave the education system with the desire and curiosity to continue to learn and hone their skills throughout their lifetimes. The objective is to not to chase for more and higher qualifications, but to achieve mastery in everything we do. As a society, economy and nation, we need to recognise and celebrate different forms of successes, and embrace a culture of lifelong learning.

18. To achieve this, enabling a better matching of interest and course of study will be key to achieving higher levels of engagement and a passion to deepen one’s learning and skills. Institutes of higher learning will increasingly expand the use of holistic selection practices to assess students based on attributes beyond academic scores.

19. Whatever highest qualification a student leaves the education system with, we want him or her to continue the journey of education through his or her lifetime - learn the latest technology and thinking, practise his or her trade to perfection, plug into and acquire auxiliary know-how. We will increase the number of part-time programmes and skills-based modular courses at the post-secondary education institutions to facilitate this lifelong learning process. The enhanced ECG, individual learning portfolios, and enablers such as the SkillsFuture Credit will better empower individuals to take charge of their own skills improvement journey.

20. To make the learning experience seamless, lifelong learning will be overseen by MOE. This entire effort - to discover passions, provide possibilities for a range of pursuits, nurture curiosity, and learn for a lifetime to achieve mastery - is SkillsFuture. With a strong foundation of skills, expertise, and an ability to learn and re-learn, we can innovate and adapt to changes much better, both as individuals and as a social and economic collective.

Strengthen Partnerships

21. Education is a partnership, between teachers, lecturers, students, parents, counsellors, schools, institutions, employers, and communities. We will continue to strengthen these partnerships, so that this is a lifelong journey we share to nurture our young and mould the future of Singapore.

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