August 25, 2020
Addendum To The President's Address
Mr Lawrence Wong
Minister for Education
1. The Ministry of Education (MOE) strives to provide every Singaporean with opportunities to achieve their fullest potential. We will ensure education remains an effective social leveller, by giving every child access to quality education, and multiple pathways throughout life to pursue their aspirations.
Education as an Uplifting Force
2. Education remains the best way for us to sustain and strengthen social mobility. With COVID-19's disproportionate impact on the disadvantaged, we are redoubling our efforts to make sure no child is left behind.
3. We will give every child a good start in life, regardless of their backgrounds. By 2025, we will operate at least 60 MOE Kindergartens. We will also deepen support for students with special needs – by strengthening educators' professional competencies in both mainstream and Special Education (SPED) schools, as well as opening new SPED schools and upgrading current ones.
4. Through the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT), we will deepen school-community partnerships to support vulnerable students and engage their families. More Singaporeans will be able to benefit from the recently-enhanced MOE Financial Assistance Scheme and Government bursaries for students in Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).
5. At the same time, we will continue to support all students holistically. We strive to foster the joy of learning in our students, so that Singaporeans are equipped not just with knowledge and skills, but also with the spark to pursue their passion and fulfil their potential. To achieve this, we will strengthen our team of Teachers, Allied Educators, and Education and Career Guidance Counsellors, and extend more resources for students with greater needs.
6. We will create fresh opportunities for students of different backgrounds to interact and build bonds with one another. Students from different schools will also come together for inter-school activities like combined team co-curricular activities, the MOE-Outward Bound Singapore Challenge Programme, and Values-in-Action programmes.
Preparing Our Students for the Future
7. Disruptions due to COVID-19 have opened up new opportunities to reimagine teaching and learning. Building on our experience with home-based learning, MOE will make blended learning an integral feature of the curriculum from next year. As part of our National Digital Literacy Programme, we will accelerate the roll out of personal digital learning devices to all secondary school students by end-2021.
8. A key part of education has always been to inculcate social responsibility and resilience in our students. A refreshed Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum will be progressively rolled out in all schools, to give added focus to mental health and cyber wellness education. In secondary schools, teachers will engage students in regular discussions on contemporary issues and equip them with critical thinking skills to navigate such issues.
9. To prepare students for the future workplace, our IHLs will expand efforts in inter-disciplinary learning. Students can look forward to more broad-based common core curricula and access to electives, as well as new industry-relevant degree programmes that integrate knowledge from different disciplines. We also aim to give students more room to decide on their academic specialisations by introducing more common entry programmes in the Polytechnics and giving university students more time to declare their major.
Multiple Pathways Throughout Life
10. Through multiple pathways in our education system, we will cater to the diverse strengths and aptitudes of students. We want to embrace a wider spectrum of skills and talents, and not just focus narrowly on academic achievements.
11. From 2021, the Primary School Leaving Examination will have wider scoring bands to reduce the overly fine differentiation of students. By 2024, streaming will be phased out and Full Subject-Based Banding will be implemented across secondary schools. This will offer students more opportunities to pursue subjects at a level suited to their strengths and interests.
12. We will also expand our post-secondary progression pathways for students with different aptitudes and skills. By 2030, all Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates will have a range of opportunities to upgrade beyond a Nitec over the course of their careers, according to their interests and learning needs. To cater to their different interests and learning needs, we will continue to increase the number of places in ITE's Work-Study Diplomas and full-time Higher Nitec programmes, as well as the number of places for working adults in full-time Polytechnic diploma programmes. We will also further expand the adoption of Aptitude-Based Admissions across our six Autonomous Universities.
13. As part of SkillsFuture, our immediate priority is to support the efforts of the National Jobs Council in creating jobs, traineeships, and training opportunities. Our IHLs will continue to ramp up their capacity for continuing education and training, and in particular, increase their range of industry-relevant modular courses to support lifelong learning. We will also grow SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes into a mainstream pathway by 2025 so that more students can benefit from learning opportunities both in the workplace and the classroom. For mid-career workers in their 40s and 50s, we will provide them with additional help to refresh their skillsets, so that they can seize new job opportunities amidst economic restructuring.
14. Our educators too must embrace this mindset of continuous learning. We will support them in their professional development through SkillsFuture for Educators (SFEd). SFEd provides a roadmap for all teachers to strengthen their practice in six areas: assessment literacy, differentiated instruction, inquiry-based learning, e-pedagogy, CCE, and support for students with special educational needs.
A Society of Opportunities for All
15. In the midst of crisis, we are seizing opportunities to reshape our education system for the longer term, and to accelerate improvements in the way we teach and learn. In partnership with parents, employers, and community, we will help Singaporeans to learn for life and learn from life. We will continue to uplift our people and expand opportunities for progression, as part of our overall efforts to build a more fair and just society.