New education measures announced in Singapore
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has called for a return to basics when it comes to redefining the education system in Singapore and have announced new measures that will level the education playing field across the board.
Education has always been a hot topic in Singapore and as the government and Singaporeans try to assimilate and adapt to the challenges of the new world, education takes centre stage again.
Back to basics
In a Today report, the Education Minister has announced several measures that will shape the future education landscape. The clarion call seems to be a looking back at the basic goals of education that has made Singapore the fine and competitive education hub it is today.
Mr Heng said in Parliament that, “We must get back to fundamentals. [And]re-affirm the basic goals of education, and second, in the light of the changing circumstances ... and the differences in views, the fundamental strategy of how we will achieve these goals.”
Emphasis on lifelong learning
Some of those basic goals include ‘developing a love for learning, building a strong foundation in self-confidence and literacy and numeracy.’ And acknowledging that the world is going to continually change, the aim is “To enable Singaporeans to continually learn, unlearn and relearn, every child needs a strong foundation for lifelong learning”.
A national pre-school project
That strong foundation starts at the preschool level and in an effort to raise the quality of pre-school education across the board the Ministry of Education (MOE) set up and run 15 pilot kindergartens over the next three years. This move comes in the light of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech where he stated that the government were going to play a more active role in the sector.
According to Mr Heng, five of the MOE-run kindergartens will enrol K1 children in January 2014. And they will all be located in the HDB heartlands.
He says of these pilot kindergartens, "[They] will, first and foremost, provide a quality education that will be affordable to Singaporeans. Our specialists will develop teaching and learning resources, and best practices to enhance children's learning." Additionally, MOE will tap institutes of higher learning to provide further training for current and future preschool educators.
A strong foundation
There are also moves to level the educational playing field across the school landscape and MOE will be implementing programmes to help weaker students from Primary 1 to Secondary 4 to build a strong foundation in English literacy and numeracy.
Acknowledging how important the teacher is in such programmes, more guidance and mentoring will be provided for teachers working with low-progress students.
Plans for special needs
Special needs students are not forgotten as MOE plans to extend the school-based dyslexia remediation to 22 more primary schools this year. To provide guidance for parents with special needs children on their children’s future education options, all primary schools will have the post-diagnosis educational guidance pilot by the end of 2013.
Character and values still important
Mr Heng reiterated the importance of character and values education in schools and remains the key in schools. One of the main things MOE will focus on is developing a core group of character and citizenship educators to spearhead efforts in this area along with incorporating it into every aspect of school life.
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