What will happen to the education scene in the next five years? The Ministry of Education outlined its plans in an to the President's address at the opening of Parliament on Jan 15, 2016.
The good news: There will be less focus on academic results. Students who move into post-secondary institutions like junior colleges and ITE will be assessed using more holistic factors, and not just grades.
Here are the details. Read the full addendum here.
DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CHILD
1. Continue to reduce excessive focus on academic results, so that learning is more enjoyable and examinations are not overly perceived to be high-stake endeavours.
2. Allow students more time and space to pursue a broader range of interests.
3. Strengthen programmes in primary schools to help students discover strengths and interests in areas such as arts, music and sports.
4. Stronger emphasis on outdoor education to build ruggedness and resilience.
5. Develop and share with the preschool sector quality kindergarten curriculum and age-appropriate teaching and learning resources.
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
6. Strengthen school-based levelling-up programmes for academically weaker students.
7. Financial support for students who need help.
8. More student care centres to provide after-school learning environment for more students from a less advantaged background.
9. Support children with special educational needs in different ways, such as school-based programmes and working with employers to smoothen transition from school to work.
10. Deepen use of information and communications technology resources.
11. Strengthen teacher training and professional development.
MANY PATHS TO SUCCESS
12. Better matching of interest and course of study so that students leave the education system wanting to continue to learn.
13. Institutes of higher learning will expand the use of holistic selection practices to assess students based on attributes beyond academic scores.
14. Help students better understand their strengths. Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Centres have been set up, and ECG counsellors are working with secondary schools, junior colleges, ITE, and polytechnics.
15. Greater emphasis on industry attachments and apprenticeship programmes.
16. More diverse offerings at the universities, as cohort participation rates for publicly-funded university places is expected to go up to 40 per cent by 2020 from the current 32 per cent.
17. Strong regulation for private education sector to ensure quality.
18. More part-time programmes at post-secondary education institutions to encourage lifelong learning.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.