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PM Lee on streaming: We take education very seriously & will listen to all ideas to make it better

He sounds pretty happy about the new changes.

Martino Tan | March 6, 01:33 pm

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The Ministry of Education (MOE) has taken a significant step in secondary school education reforms by removing the three streams of Normal (Technical), Normal (Academic) and Express and replacing it with subject-based banding.

Old secondary school streaming system to be replaced by 2024, N- & O-Level exams to go as well

And Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was excited to announce the changes on Facebook post, if his punctuation is anything to go by:

In his post, PM Lee said MOE introduced streaming 40 years ago, and the system has helped nearly every student complete secondary school as well as post-secondary education for many.

He also noted its drawbacks, acknowledging the lack of flexibility, and the increased likelihood of students in slower streams becoming demotivated.

He then explained that banding could overcome these difficulties, while enabling each student to study each subject at the pace best suited to their aptitude and level.

In the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Tuesday (March 5), Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said all secondary schools here will be on subject-based banding by 2024.

And from next year, 25 pilot secondary schools will implement Full Subject-Based Banding.

Ong Ye Kung on subject-based banding for sec schools: “Major move” to “shift our current culture”

PM Lee: We take education very seriously, and will listen to all ideas to make it better

Amid the euphoria over the positive news and momentous change, PM Lee also urged educators not to rest on their laurels.

He wrote that while Singapore’s education system is widely admired, it did not mean we will stop trying to improve it.

PM Lee concluded that the government takes education very seriously, and will listen to all ideas to make it better.

He said schools should tailor the education they offer to students’ varying needs and talents, but still create opportunities for students to interact with one another.

“At the same time, they should create opportunities for students to interact with one another across different races and social backgrounds, so that they grow up at ease with one another and share a sense of identity, mutual responsibility, and nationhood”

Here’s the text of his post below:

“Our education system is widely admired. However, that doesn’t mean we will stop trying to improve it!

During the Committee of Supply in Parliament today, Ong Ye Kung announced that secondary school streaming will be phased out by 2024. In its place, Ministry of Education, Singapore is implementing subject-based banding.

Secondary students will be able to study subjects at the appropriate band, depending on whether they are strong or weak in that subject. The ‘N’ and ‘O’ Level exams will be replaced by a new common national exam. Students will take individual papers at different levels, matching the bands.

MOE introduced streaming 40 years ago. The system has enabled students of different abilities to learn at their own pace. It has helped nearly every student to complete secondary school, and most to go on to post-secondary education.

But streaming has some drawbacks – it lacks flexibility, and students in the slower streams may become demotivated. Banding overcomes these difficulties, while enabling each student to learn at the pace which suits their aptitude and level, depending on the subject.

Glad to see the lively exchange of views in Parliament about streaming yesterday. We take education very seriously, and will listen to all ideas to make it better. We must acknowledge that children differ enormously in their abilities and interests. Schools should tailor the education they offer to the students’ varying needs and talents. At the same time, they should create opportunities for students to interact with one another across different races and social backgrounds, so that they grow up at ease with one another and share a sense of identity, mutual responsibility, and nationhood. – LHL”

Top photo from Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page.

About Martino Tan

Martino’s parents named him after an Italian priest, Vatican's 1st ambassador to S’pore. He's inspired by the lives of Robert Kennedy & Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the words of George Orwell & William F. Buckley Jr., & the music of the Beatles.

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