Gifted Education Programme (GEP): What do you think?
Most Singaporeans would have heard of the GEP, but many possess piecemeal knowledge about this MOE initiative.
Many Primary 3 students from schools across Singapore have gone home today with a leaflet about the Gifted Education Programme (GEP).
Most Singaporeans would have heard of the GEP, but many possess only piecemeal knowledge about this MOE initiative.
theAsianparent seeks to advise Singaporean parents with up-to-date information on the Gifted Education Programme in this article.
History of GEP
The programme was launched by MOE in 1984, with the aim of nurturing students who are intellectually gifted. According to the government website, MOE is “committed to nurturing gifted individuals to their full potential for the fulfillment of self and the betterment of society”.
As of 2008, there are nine primary schools which have been implementing the Gifted Education Programme. These schools are: Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), Catholic High School (Primary), Henry Park Primary School, Nan Hua Primary School, Nanyang Primary School, Raffles Girls’ Primary School, Rosyth School, St. Hilda’s Primary School and Tao Nan School.
GEP Selection Process
So how are gifted students identified? At Primary 3, students are given the opportunity to take the GEP Screening Test, which is the first selection test for the Gifted Education Programme and consists of two papers: English and Mathematics. This will be conducted on 23 August in primary schools all over the country.
The second round of selection will be the GEP Selection Test, which will be held on 16 and 17 October later this year. Only 4000 shortlisted Primary 3 students across the island will be given the opportunity to take the second test, out of which about 500 will be chosen. These students will then be notified by invitation that they have been selected for the Gifted Education Programme. Upon acceptance, pupils will be placed in GEP from Primary 4 to 6.
Is there any way to prepare my child for the GEP selection tests?
Unfortunately, no. In fact, MOE advises parents not to prepare their children for the tests and states that no educational materials, such as textbooks or assessment books, have been published to prepare students for the GEP selection tests. If you think about it, if such materials existed, the selection process would not be reflective of whether students are actually academically gifted.
There are, however, preparation courses offered by private agencies which claim can help children get ready for the selection tests. Such courses do not come cheap, of course. Some parents have paid up to $1,500 for an 8-hour long preparation course.
Difference between GEP and the normal MOE syllabus
You might ask, “So what are gifted students learning? Do they learn different things from the main cohort?” To this, MOE states in its website that, “GEP pupils are given an enriched curriculum that is pitched to challenge and stretch them.
This enriched curriculum is built on the regular curriculum. The main advantage of the GEP is the differentiated curriculum that offers individualised enrichment and attention to the gifted pupil.”
To put it simply, if chosen for GEP, your child’s education will be customised to expand his or her academic potential to the fullest. His or her workload would be heavier as compared to the main cohort.
What happens after primary school for GEP pupils?
When GEP primary school students graduate after PSLE, they can choose to pursue their studies in IP (Integrated Programme) schools which offer the School-based Gifted Education (SBGE) programmes. These schools include ACSI, Dunman High School, Hwa Chong Institution (JC and High School Section), RGS, RI and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science.
What Singaporeans think of the GEP!
Views on the Gifted Education Programme
So what do Singaporeans really think about GEP? There are parents who believe children should not be pressurised with high and unrealistic expectations from their own parents about their academic abilities. On the flip side of the coin, there are “kiasu” parents who would pay exorbitant prices to push their children for GEP preparation courses.
A parent blogger who goes by the name of Valentine Cawley, felt that the GEP was “a great disappointment” to her child. According to her, her son told her that during the first two weeks of the programme which he attended at NUS High, he didn’t learn anything new except for “ONLY ONE fact that he didn’t already know”.
As Singaporean parents become more educated, we are now aware that giftedness can come in many forms, besides academic intelligence. Should we then continue to support and believe in such a MOE initiative, which is largely based on academic giftedness? Let us know what you think in the comments box below!