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HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Education Ministry to introduce new reforms

Policy changes to include expanding the DSA scheme and promoting healthy lunch.

Speaking at the recent budget debates, Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng and Minister for State Education Dr Janil Puthucheary have outlined new changes in Singapore’s education system.

Ng and Putchueary said the policy changes aim to “prepare children for the future” and further improve access and widen opportunities for Singaporean students.
First among the reforms is expanding subject-based banding (SBB) for Secondary 1 students across all secondary schools that offer Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses. This will allow students with uneven strengths across their subjects to leverage on their areas of strength.

Starting from 2018, the number of Direct School Admission (DSA) places will also be expanded to allow secondary schools to admit up to 20% of their Secondary 1, non-Integrated Programme intake via DSA. Using general academic ability tests in DSA will be now be discontinued, allowing schools to identify students with specific talents rather than those with strong general academic abilities.

From the 2019 DSA Exercise, students will also now be able to submit their applications through a centralised online application portal.

Beginning from the 2019 Secondary 1 Posting Exercise, 20% of places for each course will also now be reserved for students who do not benefit from affiliation priority. Most affiliated secondary schools have admitted more than 20% of non-affiliates today.

All primary and secondary schools, as well as Junior Colleges and Milennia Institute, will be further mandated to implement the “Healthy Meals in Schools Programme” by the end of 2017. To further promote healthy and active lifestyles among students, lessons on good sleep habits will be incorporated in the secondary school PE curriculum, while sports equipment and school facilities will be made available to students during break or after school.

The Ministry will also train a core group of students in each school to “establish a caring environment” in every class, identify signs of distress in their peers, and offer basic social and emotional support.

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