We agree with Mr Kwan Jin Yao’s sentiment that it is important for education to prepare our students for their future (“S’pore can embrace risk in education with small changes”, April 16).
The Ministry of Education (MOE) is thus committed to developing our students holistically, with a clear emphasis on strong values and competencies that will become increasingly important in our society and economy.
Both technical and soft skills such as creativity, teamwork, communication and critical thinking will be crucial to assuring a strong future for Singapore and Singaporeans. These, along with a desire to achieve mastery in all that we do and learn throughout our lives will ensure that we will thrive in the future.
To achieve this, we have shifted to a student-centric, values-driven education, with a renewed focus on values and character.
We infused elements that develop these competencies into our curriculum and pedagogical approaches. These are not taught in a single subject or activity, but throughout the educational experience of our students — not only in the classroom, but also in areas such as Co-Curricular Activities and learning journeys.
We have removed school banding and stopped naming top scorers in the national examinations, so we can broaden our recognition of excellence and merit beyond academic performance.
Our society must look beyond grades and qualifications, as it is deep skills and personal qualities that ultimately matter.
In this vein, we have embarked on SkillsFuture, a long-term collective effort involving parents, students, educators, schools and employers to support lifelong learning and to empower all Singaporeans to develop mastery in skills.
Changing mindsets will take time, and we agree with Mr Kwan that we must look towards the future to understand what education must deliver today.
We have been making changes to our education system and institutions at all levels. Specialised schools in mathematics, science, technology, arts and sports, and initiatives such as the Applied Learning Programme and Learning for Life Programme have created a more colourful landscape of distinctive secondary schools. At the post-secondary level, a range of options cater to different needs and interests.
The MOE has never been averse to change that can improve our education system.
But we must change with purpose — to bring out the best in every Singaporean child and always provide opportunities for learning regardless of one’s starting point.