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Compulsory education in Singapore consists of six years of elementary school, four years of secondary school, and one to three years of post-secondary education. Kindergarten, often known as preschool, is a voluntary programmed offered by both the Ministry of Education and private providers. The educational system is managed from a central location, with each course having a well-developed curriculum and syllabus that is linked to an end-of-course test. Students complete school-based assessments at the conclusion of their fourth year of primary school to select which level (band) of English, math’s, mother tongue, and science they will study for the next two years. Students take the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in English, mathematics, mother tongue, and science at the conclusion of their sixth year of primary school, when they are around 12 years old. Students are placed in one of four secondary school routes based on their test scores.
Standards and curriculum
The national curriculum, which includes “Desired Outcomes of Education,” is overseen by the Singapore Ministry of Education. Character development, self-management skills, social and cooperative skills, literacy and numeracy, communication skills, information skills, thinking skills and creativity, and knowledge application skills are the desired outcomes, which are organized into eight core skills and values: character development, self-management skills, social and cooperative skills, literacy and numeracy, communication skills, information skills, thinking skills and creativity, and effective learning skills.
International Primary School Curriculum
The international primary curriculum emphasizes pupils’ mastery of English, their mother tongue language (mother tongue language education is given for Chinese, Malay, and Tamil speaking kids), and mathematics. Civics and moral education, pastoral care and career counselling, national education, physical education, and project work are among the extra curricular aspects. Science and social studies are taught in the later stages of primary school.
Although students are divided into bands as early as secondary school, there is a national curriculum for children aged 12 to 16 that is largely the same across all bands, with students in the more challenging tracks expected to perform at a higher level. English, mother tongue language, mathematics, science, literature, history, geography, arts, crafts, and design, and technology and home economics are all core topics at this level. Students must additionally continue their study in a variety of non-exam subjects: Civics and moral education, physical education, music, and assembly are some of the subjects covered in civics and moral education. Students spend a minimum of eight hours per week on their “A” level topics (which are chosen by each student) and an extra four hours per week on civics and moral education, assembly, and physical education in upper secondary school.Interdisciplinary project work is also required of university-bound students in order to build collaborative problem solving, literacy, communication, and creative thinking abilities.
Role of the Education Ministry
The Ministry of Education has extensive influence over the curriculum’s implementation. Ministry officials met regularly with school leaders and devised a comprehensive series of professional development opportunities for teachers as they carried out the new system, promoting a transition from teacher lectures and student memorization to one that encourages student involvement and creativity.
In recent years, however, the ministry has moved to relax its grip on the curriculum, urging schools to view it as a framework that they may adjust and work within to meet the needs of their students.Secondary schools are also encouraged to offer extra courses in order to give their schools a different flavour; students choose their secondary schools, and many of them prefer those with a distinctive approach that suits their interests.