Following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s address to the public on Tuesday (21 April) announcing the extension of the circuit breaker period to 1 June, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the June school holidays will be brought forward to 5 May.
“While HBL has been going well, it has been an intense period of hard work and adjustment for parents, students and teachers. An early June holiday will give everyone a respite. It also buys us time for a less restrictive school opening in June,” MOE said in a press release.
June School Holidays Brought Forward
The adjustment will apply to all MOE kindergartens, primary, secondary and pre-university students, including students from special education schools.
The revised academic calendar is as follows:
- 5 May to 1 June: School holidays
- 2 June: Start of Term 3
- 20 to 26 July: Mid-term break
- 6 September: End of Term 3
Lessons will resume on 2 June. According to MOE, more details on the format of these lessons – physical classes, partial HBL or full HBL – will be released at a later date depending on the national posture at that time.
These changes also mean that Term 3 will be longer, but a one-week mid-term break will be instituted between 2o to 26 Jul. Term 3 will end on 6 September.
According to MOE, parents working in essential services like healthcare and who are also unable to secure alternative care arrangements may continue to approach their children’s primary school, MOE Kindergarten or SPED school for assistance during the school holidays.
“These support services have been ongoing throughout the HBL period, and will continue to be offered,” it added.
Meanwhile, private education institutions should either continue with their HBL arrangements or suspend classes otherwise.
Home-based Learning Should Not Be Extended: Ong Ye Kung
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung took to Facebook on Tuesday evening (21 April) to explain the ministry’s decision to adjust the academic calendar instead of extending home-based learning (HBL).
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung the June school holidays being brought forward means adjustments to curriculum teaching time. | Image source: Ong Ye Kung/Facebook
“It is better not to extend the HBL,” Mr Ong said. “HBL is a fall back when schools are suspended; it cannot be a prolonged substitute for school.”
He added that it is better to “let everyone have a break from this intense period.”
Some Topics To Be Non-Examinable
In view of the adjustment of the academic calendar, Mr Ong said adjustments will also be made on exams, citing that the additional break and the slower pace in teaching brought by HBL.
“We will therefore also make certain topics commonly taught by all schools at the end of the academic year be non-examinable. Some of these topics are pie charts and volume for PSLE Maths, Organic chemistry and vectors for O level Chemistry and Maths respectively,” Mr Ong said.
The education minister added that the move will reduce the curriculum load and ease the pressure off teachers and students in catching up with the curriculum.
However, Mr Ong clarified that ” as far as possible, these topics will still be taught. But they will not appear as questions in the national examinations.”
Here’s Mr Ong full statement on Facebook:
GCE Mother Tongue Exam Rescheduled As June School Holidays Brought Forward
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) announced that the GCE-Level mid-year Mother Tongue Language written examinations will also be rescheduled from 1 – 2 June to 18 – 19 June.
With the mid-term break in taking place in July, the listening comprehension examinations for O- and A-Level Mother Tongue Language and Mother Tongue Language B will be rescheduled from 21, 22 – 27 July.
“SEAB will work with schools to put in place precautionary measures to protect the safety and well-being of students and examination personnel,” it said in the media release.
Circuit Breaker Period Extended Til 1 June
On Tuesday afternoon, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the circuit breaker measures implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus infection will be extended by another month until 1 June, with the existing measures to be tightened further.
Mr Lee said more workplaces will be closed and that they will reduce further the number of workers keeping essential services going to minimise the risks of transmission among the workers.
Singapore is 15 days into its one-month circuit breaker period implemented on 7 April, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Since then, all preschools and childcare services were suspended and have been ordered to offer limited services to a limited group of parents who are unable to find alternative care arrangements, such as those working in essential services like healthcare.
All schools have also shifted to full home-based learning.
Singapore reported 1,111 new cases of COVID-19 infection bringing the total number of cases here to 9,125 as of 21 April at 12 noon.
While the vast majority of the new cases announced are those involving foreign workers in dormitories, there are still some cases involving Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR). Of the new cases reported today, 20 are Singaporeans or PRs.
In addition, several coronavirus cases involving children have been reported in the past week. At least nine children, aged 1 to 13, were reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 since 16 April.
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