As we welcome 2020 and head into a brand new year, let us take a moment to recap and look back at some of the biggest education news of 2019.
Language Elective Program (LEP)
First announced by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in May 2019, the current Language Elective Program (LEP) will be further expanded and introduced to secondary schools, starting with 15 schools this year (2020). The LEP was initially only offered at the Junior College-level and it aims to engage students and help them develop a stronger interest in their mother tongues and literature, such that students can become effective and skilled bilinguals.
Removal of Examinations
The removal of all examinations and weighted assessments for Primary 1 and 2 students was successfully carried out in 2019. In addition, some schools have started the scrapping of mid-year examinations for Primary 3/5 and Secondary 1/3 students ahead of time, with the complete implementation of this adjustment expected in 2021. These changes are made in a bid to reduce the over-emphasis on examination results, which has been a cause for concern for placing undue academic stress and pressure on students.
PSLE Scoring System
An important announcement made in July last year was the imminent change to the PSLE scoring system. Primary 6 students sitting for the PSLE next year (2021) will be under a completely new scoring system that does not involve the calculation of t-score. As we know, the calculation of t-scores involves the comparison of students’ scores against their median score across the cohort. Less emphasis will be placed on concrete scores as raw scores will be categorised into bands called Achievement Levels (ALs). You can read more about the new PSLE scoring system here.
Making Higher Education More Affordable
According to press release by MOE in August 2019, financial aid in the form of enhanced bursaries will increase for students pursuing higher education from this year (2020) onwards. This means that students from lower to mid-income families can have their tuition fees further subsidised. In addition, tuition fees for courses at SIT and SUSS will undergo reductions. Such initiatives essentially help to make education even more accessible and affordable to all students, regardless of their family or financial backgrounds.
Subject-based Banding for Secondary Schools
The replacement of the current streaming system for secondary schools was recently announced in September 2019. Instead of being allocated to a particular stream (Normal/Express), students will be taking on the same subjects, albeit at different levels, and their secondary education will culminate in a common national examination. Starting from this year, 28 secondary schools will be piloting the Subject-Based Banding (SBB) system, with the complete implementation to be rolled out in all schools by 2024. You can read more about the SBB system here.
Sources: [1, 2, 3, 4]
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