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Learn for Life: Forging Our Collective Future

Published Date: 01 March 2023 12:30 PM

News Press Releases

1. The Ministry of Education has announced plans and updates to support the "Learn for Life" movement at this year's Committee of Supply debates. These efforts focus on nurturing diverse talents and expanding pathways, strengthening support for lifelong learning and building strong partnerships in education.

Nurturing Diverse Talents & Expanding Pathways

Greater Customisation and Flexibility under Full Subject-Based Banding (Full SBB)

2. Starting from the 2024 Secondary 1 cohort, Full SBB will be implemented in our secondary education system. Secondary 1 students in 120 secondary schools will benefit from the Full SBB experience, which provides greater customisation and flexibility for each student's learning1.

3. To provide students with access to a wide range of schools, MOE will post students to secondary school through three Posting Groups – Posting Group 1, 2, and 32. This ensures diversity in student profile and enables schools to provide more subject choices and a rich school experience. Posting Groups will only be used for the purpose of facilitating entry into secondary school and to guide the subject levels students can offer at the start of Secondary 1. Once students enter secondary school, they will have opportunities to interact and learn with peers of different backgrounds, strengths, and interests, in mixed form classes comprising students from different Posting Groups.

4. Under Full SBB, students will also have greater flexibility to customise their learning suited to their strengths, interests and learning needs. As they progress through secondary school, they will have opportunities to take their respective subjects at a more demanding or less demanding level. Currently, students are able to offer some subjects at a more demanding level. From 2024, this will be expanded to more subjects, including Humanities subjects. Students may also offer some subjects at a less demanding level, including elective subjects at the upper secondary level.

5. As part of the shift to Full SBB, MOE will also provide more opportunities for students to take up subjects and programmes that are stream-based today. For example, Computer Applications (CPA) is a standalone subject for N(T) students at lower secondary today which will be discontinued, and Computing will be offered as an elective subject for upper secondary students of all learner profiles from the 2026 Secondary 3 cohort. From the 2027 graduating cohort, students will sit for the new Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) examination. The SEC will reflect the subjects and subject levels that students offer. Please refer to infosheet for more details on Full SBB-related announcements.

Admissions to Post-Secondary Pathways

6. Currently, the post-secondary pathways of students are largely determined by their stream-based subject combinations3. As students will offer a more diverse combination of subjects at different subject levels arising from Full SBB, MOE has reviewed the admissions criteria for post-secondary pathways to provide more options for different learner profiles, while ensuring that students continue to have the fundamentals to thrive in their chosen pathway.

7. More students will have access to the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) from the Academic Year (AY) 2028 intake. Up to 2,600 students taking G3 subjects or a mix of G3 and G2 subjects will be eligible for the PFP per AY, up from about 1,700 students per AY today. We are also reviewing the polytechnic Year 1 admission criteria to better recognise the different subject levels taken by students.

8. The existing JC admission criteria remains relevant and will be retained. The option of a fifth year in secondary school will also continue to be available for eligible students to pace their learning and to access more post-secondary pathways.

9. Please refer to infosheet for more details on the changes to post-secondary pathways.

Changes to A-Level Curriculum and Autonomous University Admissions

10. MOE has also reviewed the GCE A-Level curriculum and Autonomous University admissions, as part of our efforts under the 'Learn for Life' movement to enhance holistic education and strengthen the development of 21st Century Competencies (21CC) in students.

11. Today, JC/MI students generally offer four content-based subjects, as well as subjects like General Paper and Project Work. Students may also offer Mother Tongue. Students' performance across these subjects at the GCE A-Level examinations are considered for admission into the Autonomous Universities.

12. The following changes will be introduced to rebalance the overall A-Level curriculum load, lower the assessment stakes, and provide more time and space for students to develop 21CC and pursue their interests:

  1. From 2026, the fourth content-based subject will only be counted for university admissions if it improves a candidate's score. This will allow JC/MI students room to choose their fourth content-based subject by interest without being overly concerned by examination grades.
  2. Project Work will be graded as a "pass/fail" subject from the 2024 JC1/Pre-U2 intake. By lowering the assessment stake, students will have more scope to explore their ideas and interest in issues with real-world applications. Students will need to obtain a "Pass" in Project Work for university applications.
  3. General Paper allows JC/MI students to develop 21CC like critical and inventive thinking through the study of current affairs and contemporary issues of local, regional and global significance. To enable every JC/MI student to develop such competencies, all JC/MI students will offer General Paper as a compulsory subject from 2024. Knowledge & Inquiry, which focuses on the nature and construction of knowledge, will no longer be offered in lieu of General Paper4, but will continue to be a contrasting subject for all JC/MI students.
  4. In a continuation of school-based assessment changes implemented in primary and secondary schools to shift away from an over-emphasis on testing and academic results, mid-year examinations will be progressively removed for consecutive cohorts of JC/MI students from 2024. The removal of mid-year examinations will not be replaced by more school-based assessments, and JCs/MI must not administer more than one weighted assessment per subject per term.

13. Please refer to infosheet for details on the changes to A-Level curriculum.

Strengthening Support for Lifelong Learning

Review of Lifetime Cohort Participation Rate

14. MOE will increase the "Lifetime Cohort Participation Rate" for publicly funded university degrees from the current 50% to 60% by 2025, for fresh school leavers and adult learners. This means up to 2,300 more publicly funded university places in 2025 from 2022 levels, and weighted towards enabling adult learners from the workforce to access a university upgrading pathway. This takes into account Singapore's additional manpower demand across the economy in the medium term, while ensuring good employment prospects for our university graduates.

15. The move to a "Lifetime Cohort Participation Rate" marks a shift away from the prevailing practice where education is frontloaded. With this increase in subsidised university places, more individuals will be able to pursue a degree or upgrade their skills at later junctures in their lifelong learning journey, especially in disciplines relevant to the key growth areas in our economy.

16. To support this move, the Autonomous Universities (AUs) are developing new degree pathways and innovating the design and delivery of CET programmes. For example:

  1. SIT is piloting a new competency-based model in applied computing that allows in-employment learners to acquire job-related skills in a bite-sized manner through micro-credentials. Individuals can stack these micro-credentials up to a degree if they wish to.
  2. Beyond degrees and modular upgrading, the AUs are also expanding skills-based upgrading pathways to provide more options for adult learners. For example, SUTD is partnering Ecole 42 to offer a new skills-based pathway, for adult learners to acquire skills needed to pursue a new career or enhance their employability in the digital economy.

Strengthening of Training and Placement Ecosystem: Pilot of Jobs-Skills Integrator and the Workplace Skills Recognition Programme

17. To better address job-skills mismatches and pair jobseekers with job vacancies in sectors that face more acute training and placement challenges, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), together with Workforce Singapore (WSG), Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and Economic Development Board (EDB), will pilot the Jobs-Skills Integrator (JSIT) which brings key players (e.g. companies, training providers and employment facilitation agencies) together to aggregate manpower and skills demand, activate supply of training, and help match skilled workers to jobs. With the JSIT, companies and workers can expect more coordinated support and greater ease in navigating the landscape of training and placement offerings.

18. The JSIT will first be piloted in the Precision Engineering (PE), Retail, and Wholesale Trade (WST) sectors. Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) has been identified as the JSIT pilot partner for PE. The pilot partners for the Retail and WST sectors will be announced later.

19. SSG, the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning (NACE), and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will also jointly launch the Workplace Skills Recognition (WPSR) Programme. Enterprises under this programme will have the opportunity to obtain the new Workplace Learning:READY (WPL:READY) mark, which ensures they have robust processes to enable effective on-the-job learning and help their workers gain formal recognition of the skills they have developed at the workplace. For example, workers will be able to attain Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) certifications via the Assessment-only-Pathway (AOP), without needing to spend additional time attending external training sessions. WPSR will help businesses in sectors supported under the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) fulfil the minimum training requirements that enable their workers to progress in their job roles, while minimising operational downtime and additional costs.

20. The WPSR will be piloted in both the Food Services and Retail sectors from 2Q 2023 and will be progressively expanded to more sectors. More details on the launch and the application process will be made available in due course.

Strong Partnerships to Nurture Confident, Resilient Learners

Deepening school-industry partnerships

21. MOE will facilitate more partnerships between industry and schools to enable students to gain a deeper appreciation of the skills and competencies needed in the workplace. More details will be shared when ready.

22. MOE will also continue to partner Parent Support Groups, the COMmunity and Parents in Support of Schools (COMPASS) council, government agencies, community partners, experts and parents to strengthen our students' well-being and support their holistic development.

Enhancing School Partnerships Between General Education (Gen-Ed) and Special Education (SPED) Schools

23. Over the next few years, MOE will work with Gen-Ed and SPED schools to expand and deepen partnerships between these schools under the School Partnership (General Education-Special Education) model5. These partnerships foster more meaningful interactions between students who are differently abled and enhance teachers' capabilities through mutual professional learning. These partnerships also complement MOE's rollout in August 2023 of two more SPED Teaching and Learning Syllabuses on Communication and Language, and Social-Emotional Learning, to strengthen the teaching of life skills in SPED schools6.

Nationwide Expansion of Uplift Community Network (UCN)

24. To improve upstream wraparound support for more students from disadvantaged backgrounds, MOE, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) through its ComLink approach, will scale up the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT) Community Network (UCN)7 to cover all 24 Social Service Office (SSO) towns nationwide.

25. UCN has been operating in 12 SSO towns8 since 2022. In 2023, it will be expanded to the 12 remaining towns – Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Clementi, Hougang, Jurong East, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Taman Jurong and Tampines. With this expansion, the UCN aims to benefit around 1,300 students across some 110 schools this year, up from around 900 students in 89 schools in 2022.

  1. We have piloted Full SBB since 2020, and 38 schools came onboard the Full SBB this year. Schools that only admit students from one stream today, such as those that offer the Integrated Programme or Crest Secondary School and Spectra Secondary School, will not be able to implement Full SBB as they offer a whole-school approach to implementing specialised programmes, designed to cater to specific student profiles. Nonetheless, students in some of these schools may be able to benefit from aspects of Full SBB such as subject-level flexibility, where feasible.

  2. PSLE Score ranges for the three Posting Groups will be mapped from the existing N(T), N(A) and Express streams respectively. Students will be able to offer subjects at three 'General' levels, termed G1, G2 or G3, mapped to the different standards for the current N(T), N(A) and Express subjects respectively.

  3. Pre-University (i.e., Junior College (JC) and Millenia Institute (MI)) and Polytechnic Year 1 are only accessible to students who take the O-Level, while the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) and the Direct-Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP) are only open to Sec 4 students in the N(A) stream.

  4. In the 2022 GCE A-Level examinations, about 100 students offered Knowledge & Inquiry in lieu of General Paper.

  5. Previously known as Satellite Partnerships, there are currently 19 SPED schools in established partnerships with 22 mainstream schools. These partnerships provide social interaction opportunities for students through joint CCAs, recess, workshops and camps.

  6. These syllabuses follow three SPED Teaching and Learning Syllabuses released in 2021 and 2022 on Daily Living Skills, Visual Arts and Vocational Education.

  7. For more information on UPLIFT and UCN, please refer to: www.moe.gov.sg/news/press-releases/20211110-expansion-of-uplift-initiatives

  8. The 12 SSO towns are: Bedok, Boon Lay, Bukit Merah, Chua Chu Kang, Geylang Serai, Jalan Besar, Kreta Ayer, Punggol, Sengkang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands, and Yishun.