What has happened?
Recently, Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, announced new measures that secondary schools in Singapore will be implementing. For the current batch of Primary 2 students, they will enter secondary school education in 2024. By then, all secondary schools are expected to abolish streaming – Normal (Technical), Normal (Academic) and Express. Instead, schools will welcome subject-based banding.
In such a scenario, students can take a combination of subjects at three different levels namely General 1, General 2, and General 3. The criteria to take each level will be dependent on their Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) scores.
In addition to the removal of streaming in schools, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is set to introduce a common national examination which will replace GCE O-levels and GCE N-levels. The pioneer batch of students who will be affected are also the current Primary 2 students.
Will we see a change?
Some have voiced their concerns over the effectiveness of such a strategy taken by MOE. Certainly, we are well aware that this new implementation will not remove all the stigma surrounding less academically inclined students. There could be even more pressure on them to perform as well as their peers by taking more subjects at a higher level.
On the other hand, this new flexibility of choosing to take subjects at various levels could allow students to have the room to develop at their own pace. Even with this well-intended change in mind, it remains true that Singaporeans are competitive in everything. They will not give up in their pursuit to attend the best schools and take the highest number of subjects at G3 level.
Only time will tell whether this policy is a success, but it should be welcomed as a first step that MOE is taking to discourage elitism and promote diversity.