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Nurturing Confident, Resilient Learners & Supporting Students with Different Needs

Published Date: 07 March 2022 04:00 PM

News Press Releases

Strengthening Social and Emotional Competencies

We want our students to be confident and resilient in a rapidly changing and complex world, and be self-motivated in fulfilling their potential.

(Update) Revision of Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Framework

  • The pre-school years are key to providing a good start to our children's journey of lifelong learning. The NEL Framework1 provides guidelines for the quality teaching and learning of children aged 4 to 6 years, and sets learning goals that establish what children should know and be able to do at the end of their kindergarten education.
  • To continue to give every child a good start in a rapidly evolving and complex world, MOE has worked with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), pre-school practitioners, key stakeholders and experts in early childhood education to update the NEL Framework.
  • The updated NEL Framework continues to emphasise the importance of holistic development of children and engaging children in learning through purposeful play and quality interactions. At the same time, the framework gives more prominence to the importance of inculcating values, developing social and emotional skills and nurturing positive behaviours towards learning, by encouraging pre-school teachers to incorporate these key aspects across children's daily learning experiences. The updated NEL Framework will be launched at the end of 2022. Digital copies will be available on the NEL Portal (www.nel.moe.edu.sg) by end 2022, and hard copies distributed in 2023.
  • To help pre-school educators translate the updated NEL Framework into quality learning experiences, hard copies of the Educators' Guides will be disseminated to the pre-school sector and digital copies available on the NEL Portal in 2023. The Educators' Guide will include strategies and activity ideas to build specific social and emotional skills, foster learning dispositions and nurture values in children.
  • MOE, ECDA and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC) will also roll out training for the pre-school sector from 2023 to support the implementation of the updated NEL Framework.

(Update) Implementation of Refreshed CCE Curriculum

  • It is vital to anchor our students through a strong foundation of sound values, social-emotional competencies and citizenship dispositions which will help them in their lifelong pursuit of excellence, as individuals and members of society. To this end, the refreshed Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum has been progressively implemented in all secondary schools since 2021. It will also be progressively implemented in primary schools and JCs/MI from 2022.
  • Through the enhanced CCE lessons and Student Development Experiences such as CCAs and camps, we also aim to help every student develop the resilient mindset of "I am, I can and I have". "I am" is about helping students harness positive beliefs about themselves, and to discover their strengths. "I can" is about developing skills to empower them to overcome their challenges and thrive. "I have" is about building strong support networks that they know they can tap on when needed.
  • Currently, all secondary schools have trained Specialised CCE teachers to role model and mentor other teachers in the effective facilitation of discussions of more complex issues in CCE lessons. Additionally, by end 2022, all JCs/MI will have trained Specialised CCE Teachers.
  • In addition, all schools have trained key personnel overseeing student well-being to implement measures to create a caring and enabling environment for students in their learning, social, and cyber spaces, through a strong peer support culture and other proactive measures.

Building Future-Ready Competencies

We will build on MOE's efforts under the Learn for Life movement for students to further develop 21st century competencies (21CC) by giving more time and space for them to cultivate greater curiosity to learn and explore, and provide more opportunities for them to pursue their diverse passions.

(New) Removal of Mid-Year Examinations for all primary and secondary levels by 2023

  • Mid-year examinations will be removed for all primary and secondary levels by 2023. It signals our effort to reduce the excessive focus on testing and academic results and to place greater emphasis on learning. Schools can choose to remove mid-year examinations for some or all levels (i.e., the remaining Primary 4, Primary 6, Secondary 2 and Secondary 4/5 levels) in 2022, if they are ready to do so. This will free up about three weeks of curriculum time per level for teachers to use more varied and engaging pedagogies, to promote student-initiated learning and develop 21CC such as inventive thinking, adaptability, and cross-cultural skills.
  • Currently, more than one-third of secondary schools and about one in 14 primary schools have already taken the initiative to remove their Secondary 2 and Primary 4 mid-year examinations respectively.
  • These schools shared that the removal of mid-year examinations has allowed for better-paced teaching and learning, and has given students more time for all-round development. Schools are also able to report students' learning and growth by drawing on multiple sources of assessment and learning activities that students undertake.
  • Schools will continue to conduct a range of assessments, which may include termly weighted assessments, to assess students' learning progress and balance the weighting for the end-of-year examinations. Schools will also continue to provide students with feedback and guidance on their learning through their regular assignments.
  • To create more space for further 21CC development in our curriculum, we are also reviewing curriculum content and assessment demands across the General Education system (i.e., for primary and secondary schools, and junior colleges and Millennia Institute).

Expanding Opportunities to Learn About Our Mother Tongue Languages and Cultures, Embracing Diverse Connections and Experiences

MOE will continue to help our students remain anchored to their heritage and culture through Mother Tongue Languages. We will also develop our students' confidence in fostering diverse connections and engaging the region and the world.

(New) 4th Elective Programme in Malay Language for Secondary Schools (EMAS) Centre

  • MOE will designate Raffles Institution (RI) as the fourth centre2 for the Elective Programme in Malay Language for Secondary Schools (EMAS) from 2023.
  • EMAS runs from Secondary 1 to 4 and aims to nurture students with talent and interest in Malay Language to attain a high level of proficiency in the language and a deep appreciation of Malay culture. Students enrolled in EMAS will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of language and cultural activities such as local camps, immersion programmes, learning journeys and talks to develop their passion in Malay Language and culture.
  • EMAS is open to all students offering Higher Malay Language. Students who are not enrolled in the EMAS host school can enrol in the programme as visiting students.
  • The expansion of EMAS to RI will increase the accessibility of the programme and provide more students with the opportunity to engage in deeper learning of the Malay Language and culture.

(New) Pilot Modular Third Language Programme

  • Over the next few years, MOE will collaborate with partners to explore making third language offerings available to secondary school students in more stackable forms, through the piloting of a Modular Third Language Programme. This approach will provide greater flexibility and accessibility for students to learn a third language. The pilot programme will allow us to assess the feasibility of this approach and the level of interest among the students.
  • Under this pilot, students who have the interest and aptitude to take up one of our existing third languages in the form of stackable modules. Students can choose to take up a learning module at the start of each school semester and deepen their mastery in that third language across their secondary school years.

(Update) Strengthening overseas partnerships in schools

  • As the global economic centre of gravity shifts towards Asia, MOE recognises the importance of equipping our students with the knowledge, cross-cultural skills and interest to seize emerging opportunities in the region. MOE's Knowing Asia thrust, as announced at COS 2020, supports this objective. More details can be found in the Annex.
  • To keep our students connected to the region and the world, we will support and encourage all schools to establish at least one overseas partnership with an overseas partner school to facilitate virtual or in-person student exchanges. Some schools already have existing relationships with schools in other countries, and they can establish new ones through their networks or with support from MOE. This will ensure that our students continue to have opportunities to learn about and interact with their peers overseas despite COVID-19.

Supporting Students with Different Needs

In enabling our students to chart their own paths, MOE is committed to ensure that students with mental well-being concerns are identified early and provided with stronger coordinated care and support in schools, at home and in the community. Through UPLIFT, we will safeguard social mobility by strengthening upstream and community wrap-around support for disadvantaged students. In addition, we will enhance support for students with special educational needs (SEN).

(Update) Strengthening schools' capacity to support students' mental well-being

  • To strengthen our schools' capacity and capability to better support students' mental well-being, all schools have further dedicated time and space at the start of every term for teachers to check in on students' well-being. Teachers have been provided with practical pedagogical resources and tools to look out for, monitor, and support students' well-being proactively. Lesson activities have also been designed to help teachers kick-start conversations with students to share and discuss well-being issues, and reinforce class commitment to look out for one another.
  • Teachers are key figures in our students' educational journey, and it is crucial that they are well-equipped with the necessary skillsets and knowledge in mental health literacy to better support our students in schools. As such, MOE is enhancing the professional development of teachers in mental health literacy. This includes helping teachers to understand and recognise symptoms related to common mental health issues and suicide, and equipping them with strategies to de-escalate strong emotions and impulsive behaviour, and facilitating classroom conversations on mental health with sensitivity.
  • We will also continue to augment the counselling support system, including recruiting more school counsellors and deploy them where necessary.

(Update) Working with partners to strengthen outreach and support

  • MOE will continue to synergise efforts with key stakeholders to strengthen outreach and support for our students' mental well-being.
  • As part of the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being led by SMS Janil, MOE and MSF are working together to provide greater support for families, children and youths to enhance mental well-being. This includes areas such as partnering and empowering parents to strengthen and support their child's mental well-being, and harnessing the potential of digital technology and social media while addressing its negative impact on the mental well-being of our youths.
  • MOE will continue our whole-of-society efforts to engage stakeholders to improve youth mental well-being. For example, MOE is supporting ground-up projects, such as Project It'll Be Alright and Makan Already? under the Youth Mental Well-being Network to co-create solutions to improve youths' mental well-being.

(Update) Nationwide expansion of UPLIFT Community Network

  • As announced in November 2021, MOE, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social and Family Development, will expand the UPLIFT Community Pilot3 to a nationwide UPLIFT Community Network.
  • From 2022, the Network will be expanded in stages, starting with eight more towns – Bedok, Chua Chu Kang, Geylang Serai, Jalan Besar, Punggol, Sengkang, Toa Payoh and Yishun – bringing the number of supported Social Service Office (SSO) towns to 12.
  • About 900 students are expected to benefit from the UPLIFT Community Network this year. When rolled out nationwide in the next few years, the UPLIFT Community Network will benefit about 1,800 students nationwide each year.
  • The support for these students and their families is coordinated at the town level under the UPLIFT Community Network, where they are referred to appropriate agencies and community-based resources such as the UPLIFT Family Befrienders, based on their needs.
  • To date, about 120 volunteer UPLIFT Family Befrienders have been recruited and trained. These volunteer befrienders help to strengthen protective factors at home, by checking in with the families and rendering timely social-emotional support and practical help to students and their families.

(Update) Enhanced resourcing to schools with higher proportion of students with greater needs

  • Since 2019, MOE has piloted the UPLIFT Enhanced School Resourcing in 23 schools by allocating additional resources to support whole-school approaches and targeted interventions for students with greater needs.
  • The pilot has thus far supported more than 2,000 students each year and seen encouraging interim outcomes, including improvements in students' attendance and behaviour, as well as a greater sense of belonging amongst the secondary school students.
  • From 2022, MOE has expanded the enhanced resourcing to an additional 24 primary and secondary schools, with plans to extend this to about 100 schools in the next few years. The enhanced resourcing, which sees the provision of an additional four to five teacher posts per school for the schools in the first phase, allows them to put in place dedicated teams, processes, and customised programmes to support disadvantaged and at-risk students. For instance, some teachers could be deployed to provide re-integration and academic support for students with absenteeism issues, while other teachers could be deployed to provide mentoring and conduct after-school programmes.
  • Other forms of support, such as the provision of consultancy, resources, professional development and networked learning, will guide and facilitate schools' implementation of support for identified students. The pilot schools will share valuable lessons and key insights to support the newly onboarded schools.
  • When fully rolled out, the UPLIFT Enhanced School Resourcing programme is expected to support around 13,000 students from about 100 schools.

(Update) Update on TRANsition Support for InTegration (TRANSIT)

  • In 2021, MOE announced that TRANSIT would be rolled out to all primary schools by 2026 to support Primary One (P1) students with social and behavioural difficulties in their transition into primary school.
  • Teachers and Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support) (AED(LBS)) work closely to support students in small groups and within their form classes in their P1 year. In these sessions, students develop independence through learning self-management skills using a curriculum which covers classroom work habits, social and communication skills and emotional regulation skills. Teachers work closely with parents to reinforce and practise self-management skills at home.
  • Since the introduction of TRANSIT in 2021, about 180 students from 37 schools have benefitted from TRANSIT. Students have been observed to make improvements in social and behavioural skills gained over the P1 year, which helps students get ready to learn independently. From P2 onwards, they are gradually able to seek support from their teachers and AEDs(LBS) when necessary in their schooling journey.
  • A total of 66 primary schools will roll out TRANSIT by the end of this year. MOE is also on track to implementing TRANSIT in all primary schools by 2026.

(Update) New school to serve students with moderate SEN who have Autism Spectrum Disorder and can access the national curriculum (ASD-NC)

  • MOE is committed to ensuring that all students can reach their full potential by having access to a school setting that best meets their needs. In 2020, MOE announced that a new school would be set up in 2022 to support students with ASD-NC.
  • St. Andrew's Mission School (SAMS) began operations in January 2022 at its interim site at the former Yusof Ishak Secondary School campus in Bukit Batok. Students with ASD-NC will now be served by SAMS and Pathlight School.
  • SAMS is projected to move to its permanent site next to Nan Hua High School in Clementi in 2027, where it will be able to provide 500 primary and 350 post-primary level school places.

(New) New school to be set up in the west of Singapore to serve students with Multiple Disabilities (MD)

  • Building on our ongoing efforts to enhance accessibility to quality Special Education, MOE will work with Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore to set up a new school in the West to serve students with Multiple Disabilities (MD) aged 7 to 18. Students with MD have at least two impairments across a range of sensory, cognitive and physical impairments, and may have accompanying medical issues.
  • The school will offer programmes catered to students with moderate to high support needs built on a curriculum that seeks to develop in students' skills to lead independent and meaningful lives. It will also offer programmes that enable students to pick up vocational skills that would prepare them to contribute productively to community and life.
  • This will be the second government-funded SPED school that is dedicated to serving students with MD, with Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore School in Pasir Ris being the first. There are three other schools that serve students with MD, and which also support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and intellectual impairment. They are: AWWA School @ Napiri, Rainbow Centre – Margaret Drive School, and Rainbow Centre – Yishun Park School.
  • More details will be shared at a later juncture.

  1. The NEL Framework was first disseminated in 2003 by MOE.

  2. There are currently three EMAS Centres: Bukit Panjang Government High School, Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Anderson Secondary School.

  3. Since Jan 2020, the Pilot has supported more than 300 primary and secondary students in four towns, namely Boon Lay, Bukit Merah, Kreta Ayer and Woodlands.