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MOE FY2023 Committee of Supply Debate Response by Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman

Published Date: 01 March 2023 02:00 PM

News Speeches


Mr Chairman

1. MOE is committed to bringing out the best in every student and support them to their full potential. As our education system evolves to keep pace with global developments, we must pay special attention to students with greater needs and ensure that they have the opportunities and resilience to grow up well, regardless of their starting point in life or the challenges that they faced.

Uplifting every student

2. As Mr Shawn Huang and Ms He Ting Ru pointed out, some students from disadvantaged families find it harder to keep up in school due to their home circumstances. This may lead to long-term absenteeism issues, struggles with motivation and even lower self-esteem.

3. To safeguard social mobility and ensure that these students receive the support and develop resilience to overcome challenges in spite their difficult home circumstances, we established the "Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce", or UPLIFT, in 2018.

4. In 2020, we piloted the UPLIFT Community Network, or UCN, to strengthen the support ecosystem for students from disadvantaged families, and address school attendance issues early. As the pilot showed positive outcomes, I updated Members last year that the UCN will be rolled out nationwide progressively from 2022.

5. Let me provide an example of the support provided by the UCN. Daania was a Secondary Four student who skipped school frequently and felt disengaged from her teachers and peers. She has five other siblings, including a newborn. With her father being the sole breadwinner, and mother juggling child-minding responsibilities, Daania did not have a good relationship with her parents as they found it difficult to set aside the time and energy to engage and support her. Despite Daania's attendance issues, her teachers continued to reach out to her to encourage her to attend school more regularly. The school also offered financial and academic support to help her cope.

6. The UCN complements the school's efforts in two ways. First, the Town Level-Coordinators in the UCN ropes in community resources to provide supplementary support to students' educational and developmental needs. Daania was enrolled in MENDAKI's Tuition Scheme, where she received additional academic and mentoring support.

7. Second, the Town Level Coordinators support parents to improve and stabilise the home environment, including having volunteer family befrienders mentor these families. With the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, befrienders resumed in-person visits from last June, allowing them to better connect with the families. In Daania's case, the Coordinator worked with two befrienders to provide Daania's mother with emotional and financial support. The befrienders helped Daania's mother with the childcare application for her youngest child, freeing her to better support her other children. With their support and advice, the relationship between Daania and her mother improved tremendously.

8. Daania also regained motivation and confidence in her studies. Her school attendance improved, and she did well enough to progress to a course of her choice in ITE. The term has started for a few months now, and I am glad that she is coping well.

9. Stories like this illustrate how collaboration between schools, families, and the community can benefit our students, for those who need help. Parents share that they felt more supported by the UCN, appreciate the increased community support and have seen positive developments in their children. Schools similarly appreciate the closer collaboration with social service agencies (SSAs) from the UCN support. This gives us the confidence to continue with our plans to roll out the UCN nationwide to 12 more towns in 2023. We expect to support about 1,300 students and their families this year.

10. Beyond UCN, many community partners have stepped forward to support and befriend students from disadvantaged backgrounds under UPLIFT. For example, we partnered the Singapore Management University (SMU)'s Centre for Social Responsibilities to pilot befriending programmes for primary school students in need. SMU students and schools co-created activities that served to build students' motivation and resilience. We are grateful for the help of our community partners and will strengthen our partnerships with the community.

11. To strengthen the support provided to disadvantaged and at-risk students within the school environment, we have provided additional manpower resourcing to schools through the UPLIFT Enhanced School Resourcing initiative. These additional resourcing support schools in establishing more targeted programmes for students with higher needs. For example, some teachers have been deployed to provide mentoring and additional academic support for students with absenteeism issues. The number of schools supported under this initiative has grown from 23 schools in 2019 to 47 schools in 2022. We plan to further expand this to 100 schools in the next few years, to support about 13,000 students. This is in addition to existing programmes like the Learning Support Programme for English (LSP) and Learning Support for Mathematics (LSM) for lower primary students who need additional support in these subjects.

12. We will also continue to work closely with other government agencies to explore how best to strengthen whole-of-government social service delivery for higher needs students and those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. This will include further integrating our processes with other social service initiatives, like ComLink and KidSTART, so that students and their families receive more coordinated and seamless support from the Government.

13. In addition to our UPLIFT efforts, MOE provides education subsidies and financial support to ensure that our national schools and institutes of higher learning (IHLs) remain accessible and affordable. For example, we recently enhanced financial assistance and bursary provisions for Singapore Citizen (SC) students from lower income households in our schools and IHLs respectively. This ensures that no Singaporean student is unable to access schools and IHLs because of financial reasons.

14. Mr Faisal Manap asked if we could extend financial assistance to non-citizen students studying in national schools with at least one SC parent. Financial subsidies are differentiated by students' citizenship status to reflect the benefits of citizenship, in line with the broader Government policy of differentiating benefits by citizenship status. Non-citizen students with financial difficulties can approach their schools for assistance. MOE will assess their situation and exercise flexibility on a case-by-case basis, with special consideration given to those from lower income households.

15. Mr Faisal Manap also asked if MOE's financial assistance scheme and Edusave Awards, currently only available to SCs in national schools, can be extended to madrasah students. This is not the first time he has given this proposal and this will not be the first time we will be giving a considered response. All SCs, aged 7 to 16, receive yearly Edusave contributions for their educational uses.

16. However, students in private schools, including those in madrasahs, are not eligible for MOE's financial assistance scheme and Edusave awards. This reflects our preference for all SCs to enrol in national schools, to go through a common educational experience so as to build a national identity and social cohesion. Parents are aware and thus make informed choices when they decide to enrol their children in private schools instead of our national schools.

17. Notwithstanding, the Government recognises the role of madrasahs in the community. MUIS provides financial assistance and alternative awards for madrasah students. For example, MUIS assists madrasah students from low-income families through the Progress Fund Madrasah Assistance Scheme (PROMAS), and administers the Madrasah Student Awards to recognise academic excellence and progress.

Strengthening Support for Students with Special Educational Needs

18. Let me move to another group of students – those with special educational needs (SEN). We will continue to enable them to lead meaningful lives and fulfil their aspirations despite their learning difficulties.

19. The challenges faced by families and students with SEN are multifaceted and require whole-of-community support across their life stages. MOE works closely with various government agencies and SSAs to meet the children's and families' needs at different stages of their journey. I will focus on the schooling years today, and my MSF colleagues will share more on the additional support that will be provided beyond the school setting.

20. I thank Mr Shawn Huang, Ms Rahayu Mahzam and Ms Denise Phua for their suggestions and passionate call to MOE to provide more support for students with SEN. We hear you. We feel you and we are with you. Indeed over the years, we have enhanced SEN support in the education landscape significantly. And we will continue to explore what more we can do with our partners to support our students with SEN.

21. We are committed to strengthening structures and teacher capacity for consistent enactment of inclusive practices across all our mainstream schools, in order to lower barriers to learning and help our students with SEN build key life skills. Today, our schools are supported with teachers trained in special needs and SEN officers. These educators are guided by a dedicated case management team that monitors students' progress and overall well-being. They work closely with parents to develop holistic intervention plans, and support students' transition at different stages of their educational journey. Schools have also worked hard to grow an inclusive culture where peers actively appreciate and support each other. These friendships bring joy and teach students with SEN how to build meaningful relationships and thrive in school and life.

22. For students with moderate-to-severe SEN, we have enhanced accessibility to quality Special Education (SPED) schools by strengthening curriculum efforts and ensuring sufficient capacity to cater to different disability profiles. We recently announced a fifth SPED school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder who can access the national curriculum.

23. The IHLs similarly provide targeted support for students with SEN, from pre-enrolment to graduation. This includes course advisement for prospective students, helping students identify courses that better suit their interests and learning needs, and partnering educators to support students' learning needs. The IHLs also work with SSAs to prepare and ease students' transition to internship and employment.

24. We will continue to work with schools and IHLs to strengthen support for our students with SEN across their educational journey.

25. Let me focus on two key enhancements in the SPED sector.

26. First, with growing emphasis in education to recognise diverse strengths among our students and the vision for an inclusive Singapore, a key focus is to help peers from diverse profiles integrate and learn from each other.

27. Since 2007, under Satellite Partnerships, SPED schools have been partnering General Education (Gen Ed) schools to conduct joint learning activities, such as learning journeys and camps. These activities promote inclusion between students with and without SEN, build capabilities for peer support and inculcate positive values.

28. From 2023, Satellite Partnerships will be replaced by School Partnerships (Gen Ed – SPED) to broaden and deepen existing partnerships while cultivating stronger and more collaboration between SPED schools and Gen Ed schools.

29. Besides providing students with opportunities to develop deeper relationships through sustained and meaningful interactions, School Partnerships (Gen Ed – SPED), i.e. between Gen Ed and SPED schools, will also focus on professional exchange between teachers to build capabilities, something suggested by Ms Denise Phua in her speech yesterday. Such mutual professional learning can enhance pedagogical practices in the classroom, and strengthen how teachers facilitate integration between students from partner schools to nurture them into empathetic, confident and independent learners.

30. An example of a successful partnership is between Bukit Merah Secondary School and Tanglin School.

31. Partners since 2018, students from both schools share their passion for sports and co-curricular activities (CCAs) together through training sessions jointly organised by their teachers. Sudip from Bukit Merah Secondary School shared in his reflections that he learnt how to better work in a team and tap on one another's strengths through floorball practices with peers from Tanglin School. Likewise, James from Tanglin School shared that having the opportunity to train with peers from Bukit Merah Secondary School for the Play Inclusive Badminton matches brought them closer and taught him how to work alongside peers new to him. I am heartened by the inclusivity shown by these students, and the friendships formed over the years.

32. We will work closely with Gen Ed and SPED schools to develop more meaningful partnerships by finding synergy through shared strategic directions, niche offerings and location proximity.

33. Second, MOE will continue to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in SPED schools to prepare students to be active in the community as contributing citizens.

34. Since 2020, we have embarked on developing SPED Teaching and Learning Syllabus across seven SPED learning domains to raise the quality of curriculum in SPED schools and provide them with greater resources to achieve the desired SPED outcomes, including lifelong learning for our students.

35. Three SPED syllabuses were launched in the past two years for the learning domains which include (i) Visual Arts, (ii) Daily Living Skills, and (iii) Vocational Education. These syllabuses have strengthened curriculum design and lesson delivery, and promoted stronger collaboration between educators and allied professionals, and partnerships with families and the community.

36. Two additional SPED syllabuses in (i) Communication and Language, and (ii) Social-Emotional Learning will be launched this year:

  1. The Communication and Language syllabus will place stronger emphasis on communication and strengthen the partnership between teachers and Speech and Language Therapists to equip students with skills to connect meaningfully with others.
  2. The Social-Emotional Learning syllabus will introduce skills of self-determination to give students' agency in pursuing their aspirations, and nurture confidence and resilience to cope with challenges and changes in their lives.
  3. These are important life skills to better support students with SEN in their transition to post-school as they integrate with the larger community, helping them live independently, learn continuously and work productively.

37. Alongside these curriculum enhancements, we recognise the need to continue working with schools to build capacity and develop the skills of educators to support the implementation of these syllabuses. We will also continue to deepen our partnerships with SSAs to attract talents and study the suggestions by Members to keep SPED schools forward looking.

38. Ms Denise Phua asked whether the formal SPED school exit age can be extended from 18 to 21 years old. While the exit age remains at 18 years old, MOE has extended funding for SPED students who can offer vocational certification. These students can access open and paid employment, and so a longer runway of up to 21 years old is given to them to attain these national certifications.

39. For majority of SPED students, we have pegged the exit age at 18 years old taking into consideration that a post school option would be more meaningful in supporting their transition from school to community. For all SPED graduates, MOE is committed to working with SG Enable and the SSAs to facilitate their post-school transition, and to co-create avenues of continual supports for them.

40. We fully appreciate the effort of all our SPED schools in equipping our students with skills to prepare them to lead independent and fruitful lives. It has not been an easy journey but we have made significant progress. MOE will continually enhance our support for SPED schools, and more details will be shared at upcoming platforms this year.

Building Resilience in Our Students

41. Aside from targeted support and programmes, we want to develop resilience in all students, for them to persevere in the challenges that will inevitably come.

42. It is not easy being a youth in today's complex and fast-paced environment. Our youths face pressure on multiple fronts, including on social media. Many youths have spoken up and expressed concerns on mental health issues. In fact, for many of us, when we meet young people at our engagement sessions, mental health issues are key on their minds. Dr Wan Rizal also spoke on the importance of supporting our students' mental well-being. We would like to assure our students and parents that mental well-being will always be a key priority for MOE.

43. Over the past few years, aside from systemic changes to reduce overemphasis on academic grades and to nurture a joy for learning, we have strengthened measures to help students stay resilient amidst challenges, and enhanced the overall system of support.

44. First, the refreshed Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum provides greater emphasis on Mental Health Education. The curriculum aims to help students tap on their natural strengths and develop a wider repertoire of skills and habits so that they can overcome the hurdles they face, whether at home, in school or in the community. The roll out for the refreshed CCE curriculum started in 2021 and will be completed by this year.

45. These resilience and social-emotional skills are further practised and reinforced beyond the classroom, such as through CCAs and camps. I encourage all students to make good use of these platforms and develop deeper bonds with your friends who will walk with you through good and bad times.

46. These educative efforts also extend to the IHLs where there already are a good range of programmes in place to raise awareness on mental health issues.

47. Second, we have strengthened the support eco-system for our students. All schools have peer support structures, and students are taught how to look out for, offer support to their peers, and refer them to trusted adults where necessary.

48. Struggling students manifest their distress in different ways, such as social withdrawal or acting out behaviours. Teachers are equipped to look out for signs of distress and understand underlying needs so that they can provide the right support and guidance. We are also enhancing mental health literacy to enable teachers to better identify and support students of all ages with mental health struggles. Schools have also set aside dedicated time and space at the start of each term for teachers to engage students on issues affecting their well-being.

49. We have also stepped up efforts in the recruitment of school counsellors and will continue to grow our pool of teacher-counsellors. Students who need professional support will also be referred to community resources.

50. These efforts ensure the early identification of students with mental health issues and that support will be provided in a timely manner.

51. Beyond these school-based initiatives, we need strong partnerships with all stakeholders, including parents, community partners and agencies. I encourage parents to actively journey together with their children and schools to facilitate a more holistic development for their children.

52. MOE is involved in inter-agency collaborative efforts, such as the Interagency Taskforce for Mental Health and Well-Being, to better support the mental health needs of families, children and youths. One area that the Taskforce is looking into is identifying ways to help youths and parents better access coordinated mental health services. MOH will share more details on these efforts.

Expanding Opportunities to Support Students' Strengths and Aspirations

Updates on recent moves in the polytechnic and ITE sector

53. Let me now speak on the progress we have made in the polytechnics and ITE. We agree with Ms Maariam Jaafar and Dr Wan Rizal on the need for our applied education pathways to support the growing interests and learner profiles among our youth.

54. In January 2022, I announced the recommendations from the Review on Opportunities and Applied Education, which studied how to better support the diverse needs and aspirations of students and graduates from the polytechnics and ITE while ensuring that they have the relevant skills to thrive in the future economy. Good progress has been made in two key areas.

55. First, to enhance students' career readiness and aspirations, ITE introduced the enhanced three-year ITE curricular structure leading directly to a Higher Nitec from the 2022 intake. Interim indicators from the first phase of implementation have been positive. More students indicated interest for courses under the enhanced curricular structure compared to similar past Nitec courses. Lecturers also observed that students enrolled in three-year courses are more motivated and attrition rates in the first six months have improved.

56. ITE will continue to monitor the outcomes from the first phase of implementation closely. They are on track in transitioning the remaining courses to the enhanced curricular structure by 2026. Students can look forward to courses such as the 3-year Higher Nitec in Nursing, and International Logistics, which will be launched next year.

57. Second, in recognition of the growing diversity in students' interests and learner profiles, the polytechnics are piloting flexible modular loads. Under this pilot, students can spread their learning beyond three years by taking fewer modules per semester. Such flexibility allows students to pursue other interests and take more time to build their academic foundation. The preliminary take-up rates have been encouraging.

58. In addition to this pilot, students are given the flexibility to take up electives, where feasible. With limited curriculum hours, institutions have to balance between allocating time for electives and that for equipping students with the necessary specialised skillsets and knowledge to meet industry needs.

59. MOE will work closely with the polytechnics and ITE to monitor the progress of these enhancements and make necessary adjustments to ensure they fulfil its intent.

Expanding Opportunities and Porosity in Admissions Pathways

60. As mentioned by Minister Chan, Full Subject-Based Banding (Full SBB) will be fully implemented in secondary schools for the Secondary 1 cohort from next year onwards. This means that streaming will be removed. This is a significant move in our overall General Education landscape. With this move, students can customise their learning by taking a combination of subjects at different levels, suited to their strengths and pace of learning.

61. In line with this shift, MOE will adjust the admissions criteria for post-secondary pathways to recognise more diverse profiles of learners and provide them with more options. The range of post-secondary pathways that students could be eligible for will no longer be limited by streams but by their performance at different subject levels. Let me elaborate on these changes.

62. First, more students will be able to access the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP). Today, the PFP is only open to eligible students from the Normal (Academic) stream.

63. To allow a wider learner profile to benefit from the PFP, access to PFP will be expanded to include students taking G3 subjects or a mix of G3 and G2 subjects. This change will take place from the 2028 PFP intake and the number of students accepted every year could increase up to 2,600 from about 1,700 today. The PFP admissions criteria will be maintained to ensure students continue to have the fundamentals to cope with the rigour of the PFP.

64. We will also adopt a cluster-based admissions approach for the PFP from the 2026 intake. Today, students are admitted directly to specific diplomas in their PFP year. In 2026, students will be admitted to broad clusters, such as Sciences and Humanities, Art, Media & Business, before choosing a specific diploma in the cluster after their PFP. Students will have more time to make informed choices. Polytechnics can also better match students' interest and abilities with specific diplomas. This builds on our efforts to expose students to multiple courses in a cluster before deciding on a specific diploma that they want to pursue, an approach currently adopted by Common Entry Programmes in the Polytechnics.

65. Second, MOE will review admissions to Polytechnic Year 1 to better recognise the different subject levels taken by students. For example, today students have to take five G3 subjects to be eligible for Polytechnic Year 1. With Full SBB, some may take subjects at the G2 level, and we are exploring allowing one G2 subject to be considered for admission.

66. In addition to these enhancements, ITE students will have more opportunities and flexibility to deepen their skills and competencies through the expansion of ITE diploma offerings. These offerings will enable students to better attain work-ready skills in line with changing industry needs.

67. ITE's Work-Study Diplomas (WSDips) and Technical Diploma (TDs) are apprenticeship-based, which cater to students who prefer a more hands-on learning style. WSDips also place students in jobs related to their discipline of study, allowing them to deepen their skills through a structured training programme. Thus far, about 1,600 students have graduated from ITE diploma programmes with positive employment outcomes and salaries comparable to that of polytechnic graduates.

68. In 2023, ITE will expand its WSDip offering by launching four new programmes, bringing the total to 40 programmes. ITE will also double its TD offerings to six TDs, up from three today. A total of 1,400 places will be offered across ITE diploma programmes, enabling more than 10% of ITE Nitec and Higher Nitec graduates to progress through these pathways.

69. One student who has benefitted is Izz, who enrolled in the Nitec in Space Design (Architecture) before progressing to the Higher Nitec in Architectural Technology. Izz interned at an architectural firm as part of his Higher Nitec course. The firm was impressed by his hard work and dedication and decided to sponsor his WSDip in Architectural Building Information Modelling (BIM) & Design while concurrently employing him as an architectural assistant. This has allowed Izz to directly apply what he learnt in class and work to client projects, giving him a head start in his career.

70. With these enhancements, we hope to better support the needs of diverse student profiles, their aspirations, and strengthen their career readiness and resilience for jobs of the future economy.

71. We would also like to take the opportunity to assure Mr Leon Pereira that internship is an important feature of our polytechnic and ITE education. Internships allow students to apply what is taught in the classroom to the real world and equip them with deeper industry ready skills. All polytechnics and ITE have made internships a compulsory component of their courses. Institutions also work closely with industry to offer quality internships to their students, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.

72. Mr Chairman, allow me to continue in Malay.

73. MOE komited untuk memupuk serta menggilap potensi setiap pelajar dengan pelbagai keperluan dan kekuatan.

74. Bagi pelajar berkeperluan khas, kami akan mengukuhkan usaha untuk memupuk sikap inklusif di sekolah-sekolah dengan memperdalam kerjasama antara sekolah-sekolah pendidikan Khas (SPED) dan sekolah-sekolah pendidikan awam. Ini akan mewujudkan lebih banyak peluang berinteraksi dan bertujuan untuk membantu pelajar kita bersikap lebih inklusif dan bertimbang rasa terhadap orang lain. Kami akur bukan mudah untuk mengasuh pelajar berkeperluan khas. Justeru itu, kami akan meneruskan usaha kami untuk meningkatkan pengajaran dan pembelajaran di sekolah-sekolah SPED. Kami akan menyalurkan lebih banyak sumber kepada sekolah-sekolah SPED.

75. Selain dari sekolah SPED, kita juga telah membuat peningkatan di sektor politeknik dan ITE. Lanjutan daripada Perlaksanaan dasar Pengumpulan Berdasarkan Subjek Secara Penuh (FSBB), sistem aliran Ekpress, Normal Akademik dan Normal Teknikal akan digugurkan. Ini adalah satu perubahan besar dalam lanskap sistem pendidikan kita. Dengan FSBB, kriteria kemasukan untuk laluan posmenengah tidak lagi ditentukan menerusi aliran tetapi berdasarkan peringkat subjek dan kelakonan para pelajar. Perubahan kepada kriteria kemasukan politeknik akan mengenal pasti profil pelajar yang lebih luas dan menyediakan mereka dengan lebih banyak pilihan. Bermula dengan kohort yang akan memasuki Politeknik pada tahun 2028, Program Asas Politeknik (PFP), yang sebelum ini terbatas kepada pelajar-pelajar aliran Normal (Akademik), akan dibuka lebih luas lagi kepada lebih banyak profil pelajar. Kami akan menyemak kriteria Politeknik Tahun 1 untuk mengenal pasti dengan lebih baik lagi peringkat subjek yang berbeza yang diambil pelajar kita.

76. Kita akur keperluan industri akan terus berubah. Justeru untuk menyediakan pelajar kita , ITE akan memperluas tawaran Diploma Kerja sambil Belajar (WSDips) dan Diploma Teknikal (TDs) untuk membolehkan pelajar memperdalam kemahiran dan kecekapan mereka melalui pedagogi guna tangan atau hands on. Perluasan program-program WSDips dan TDs adalah untuk menyokong aspirasi para pelajar ITE untuk meningkatkan diri, kemahiran mereka dan mendapatkan kelulusan di peringkat Diploma. Sejauh ini seramai 1,600 pelajar ITE telah lulus kursus Diploma WSDips dan TDs dan berjaya mendapat pekerjaan baik dengan gaji yang setaraf dengan graduan politeknic kita.Saya menggalakkan para pelajar ITE untuk menggunakan peluang ini memandangkan peluang pekerjaan yang positif ini. Kita akan terus menggalak lebih ramai di antara mereka untuk menggunakan peluang ini.

77. Di peringkat sekolah rendah dan menengah pula, MOE maklum tentang pentingnya menyediakan asas Bahasa Melayu/Bahasa Ibunda yang kukuh kepada pelajar-pelajar kita. Hal ini akan membolehkan mereka menghargai warisan dan budaya dan berkomunikasi secara efektif dengan masyarakat Asia dan dunia.

78. Dalam usaha ini, kami telah menyediakan lebih banyak peluang kepada pelajar untuk menggunakan Bahasa Melayu di luar lingkungan bilik darjah. Contohnya, Jawatankuasa Pembelajaran dan Penggalakan Penggunaan Bahasa Melayu (MLLPC) telah bekerjasama dengan Kumpulan Hidupan Liar Mandai (Mandai Wildlife Group) untuk melancarkan program Kembara Nusantara. Program ini menggalakkan pengajaran dan pembelajaran Bahasa Melayu untuk kanak-kanak prasekolah, ibu bapa dan guru mereka melalui kegiatan-kegiatan yang menyeronokkan di Taman Haiwan Singapura. Mereka belajar Bahasa Melayu ketika mereka mengunjungi Taman Haiwan Singapura. Kami akan terus menyemak usaha-usaha kami untuk menjadikan pembelajaran bahasa Melayu lebih autentik dengan menggunakan kaedah-kaedah yang kreatif supaya Bahasa Melayu terus hidup dalam jiwa pelajar-pelajar kita.

[MOE is committed to nurture and develop the potential of students with different needs and strengths.

For students with special educational needs, we will strengthen efforts to nurture inclusivity in schools by deepening partnerships between SPED schools and Gen Ed schools. This will provide more sustained opportunities for interaction, which help students to become more inclusive and thoughtful towards others. We recognise it is not easy to nurture students with SEN. Therefore, we will continue our efforts to improve teaching and learning in SPED schools. We will also channel more support to SPED schools.

Aside from SPED schools, we will also make improvements in the polytechnic and ITE sector. With Full SBB, the Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams will be removed. This is the major change in our education system landscape. In line with Full SBB, the admission criteria for post-secondary pathways will no longer be determined by streams but by the subject levels and performance of our students. Changes to the polytechnic admissions criteria will recognise a wider profile of learners and provide them with more options. From the 2028 intake, the PFP, which is limited to students in the N(A) stream today, will be open to more learner profiles. We are also reviewing the Polytechnic Year 1 criteria to better recognise the different subject levels taken by students.

In response to changing industry needs, ITE will expand their WSDips and TDs offerings to allow students to deepen their skills and competencies through a more hands-on pedagogy that focuses on learning-by-doing. The expansion of these offerings will also support ITE students in their aspirations for upgrading their skills and to acquire Diploma qualification. So far, about 1,600 students have graduated from ITE's diploma programmes with good employment outcomes and salaries comparable to other polytechnic graduates. I encourage ITE students to make full use of opportunities, given the positive employment outcomes among ITE diploma graduates.

At the primary and secondary levels, MOE also recognises the importance of equipping students with a strong foundation in Malay/Mother Tongue Languages. This will enable our students to appreciate their heritage and culture, and communicate effectively with communities across Asia and in the world.

In this regard, we have provided more opportunities for students to experience the use of ML beyond the classroom. For example, the Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee (MLLPC) collaborated with the Mandai Wildlife Group to launch Kembara Nusantara. This programme promotes the teaching and learning of the Malay Language through fun-filled activities for pre-schoolers, their parents, and teachers at the Singapore Zoo. We will continually review our efforts to make language learning more authentic using creative approaches and bring MTL to life for our learners.]


79. Mr Chairman, in conclusion, as we enhance our education policies in response to changing needs, we will help every student make the best of these opportunities and nurture them into skilful and resilient Singaporeans. We must also work together to strengthen the inclusiveness of our education system, so that no one is denied a good education because of their circumstances. Thank you.