Seven new subjects are set to become part of the O- and N- level track. Ranging from retail opertations to sports science, these subjects aim to give students a chance for more hands-on learning.
To be rolled out over the next two years, these subjects will be available in over 60 secondary schools.
Electronics and computing will start in the O-level syllabus next year, along with three Normal (Technical) subjects- smart electrical technology, mobile robotics and retail operations.
Drama as well as exercise and sports science will be added to the O-level curriculum in 2018.
Differing from traditional subjects such as math, these subjects aim to expose students to applied leaerning, which integrates classroom learning with real-world situations, a Education Ministry spokesman said. This also allows students to make better choices on courses to pursue after secondary school.
The spokesperson said the ministry is working together with not only industry partners, but polytechnics as well as the Institute of Technical Education and universities to ensure the new curriculum is made “relevant and engaging”.
Subjects focusing on applied learning such as design studies have been available since 2008, but these subjects are only offered to O-level students. On average, 310 students have taken these six subects in the past 5 years.
Polytechnic lecturers not only teach the students but help to develop the curriculum as well. With the exception of biotechnology and design studies offered at the Singapore School of Science and Technology, these subjects will be phased out by next year.
Taught by teachers at the secondary school themselves, this manes more students could take them up. Teachers are currently being trained to teach these new subjects.
Under the current curiculum, 20 students per cohort study fundamental electronics at Hong Kah secondary each year, with the school offering the subect in partnership with Ngee Ann polytechnic since 2008.
“It is a fixed number of the polytechnic’s capacity and how many other schools and students they can accommodate on campus, said physics teacher Wee Jin Yi, who will teach electronics.
Hong Kah has already refurbished a few classrooms to set up an electronics lab and several rooms for project work.
The new subjects are set to have a refreshed curriculum. For example, electronics will now cover digital circuits in devices such as computers and television sets.
Both parents and teachers hope the new subjects will give students a chance to go beyond traditional academics and discover where their interests lie. “We hope to catch the students’ attention in electronics at a younger age and hopefully, they will be more receptive to a career in this field, “ said Mr Wee.
Next page: More about the 7 new subjects