Minister Heng Swee Keat to attend the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Council Conference
Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, will attend the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Council Conference in Pattaya, Chonburi Province, Thailand, from 6 to 7 May 2015. This year, SEAMEO celebrates the 50th year of its founding.
Minister Heng will also have bilateral meetings with his counterparts on the sidelines of the Conference. He will be accompanied by senior officials from the Ministry of Education.
The SEAMEO Council Conference is a biennial meeting of the Education Ministers from the 11 SEAMEO Member Countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam, to discuss educational cooperation in the South-eastern Asia region.
Education in Singapore is already heavily subsidised. To provide further support with education costs, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will waive national examination fees and enhance financial assistance for Singapore Citizen students in Government-funded schools.Waiver of National Examination Fees
From 2015, MOE will waive the fees for national examinations administered by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board1 for Singapore Citizen students in Government-funded schools. Students can save up to $900 for their national examinations from primary school through to pre-university.
For Singapore Citizen students taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) examination in Government-funded schools, MOE will provide subsidies comparable2 to the amount of examination fees waived for the GCE ‘A’ levels. For those taking examinations leading to national vocational certification, i.e., the ITE Skills Certificate (ISC), the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WPLN) and the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ), full subsidies for the examination fees will be provided.
The measures set out above will also apply to Singapore Citizen students in the Government-funded Special Education (SPED) schools.
In addition, from Academic Year 2015, examination fees for Singapore Citizen students enrolled full-time in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics will be waived.Enhanced Financial Assistance Scheme to Include Transport Subsidy
The MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) will be enhanced to include a transport subsidy, which will take effect from 1 April 2015. Currently, the FAS provides for waiver of school and standard miscellaneous fees as well as free textbooks and uniforms.
For students on FAS who travel to and from school via public transport, they will be provided with $120 in transport credits per annum. For students in primary school who take the school bus, the FAS will cover 50 per cent of the regular school bus fare.
The FAS for students in Government-funded SPED schools will be similarly enhanced to provide $120 in transport credits per annum for those taking public transport. For SPED FAS students who take the school bus, they are already eligible for subsidies of up to 80 per cent of their school bus fares under the MSF Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) Transport Subsidy Scheme.Increase in Annual Grants for School-Based Financial Assistance
To give the School Advisory and Management Committees more resources to provide further targeted assistance to students from less advantaged backgrounds, MOE will increase the annual grants provided for school-based financial assistance to $11 million, up from the $5 million currently, for three years (2015 to 2017).
Primary schools with more children from less advantaged backgrounds will receive up to $40,000 per year, while secondary school and pre-universities will receive up to $60,000 per year, up from $30,000 currently. SPED schools, which are significantly smaller in enrolment on average than mainstream schools, will receive an average of $25,000 per school, up from $15,000 currently.More Generous Income Criteria for Edusave Merit Bursary
The Edusave Merit Bursary (EMB) is given to students in the top 25 per cent of academic performance for their level and course, and whose household income does not exceed the prescribed income criteria. The income criterion for EMB will be raised to a gross household income of not more than $6,000 per month, up from the current $5,000 per month. Similarly, the per capita household income criterion, meant to recognise that larger families often have larger financial needs, will be raised to not more than $1,500 per month, up from the current $1,250 per month.Top-ups to Edusave and Post-Secondary Education Account
MOE will also provide a top-up of $150 to the Edusave Accounts of each Singapore Citizen student aged 7 to 16, on top of the annual contribution of up to $240. Students above the age of 16 who are still in secondary school will also receive the top-up. This will benefit 400,000 students.
MOE will also provide a top-up of up to $500 to the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) of each Singapore Citizen aged 17 to 20. This top-up will benefit 160,000 Singaporeans and the majority will receive $500.
In total, the above measures introduced for students from the primary to post-secondary level will cost about $250 million over the next three years and will provide further support for Singaporean families with their education costs.Footnote
- These examinations include the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE ‘O’ Level) Examination, Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Normal Level (GCE ‘N’ Level) Examination, and Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE ‘A’ Level) Examination. ↩
- Subsidies will be pegged to 50% of the actual examination fees paid by the Singapore Citizen candidate. ↩
Infosheet on Levelling up Programmes in Schools:
- Learning Support Programmes (LSP)
- Learning Support for Mathematics (LSM)
- Stronger Support for English Language Literacy and Numeracy in Schools from primary to secondary schools
The LSP is a specialised early intervention programme aimed at providing learning support to students who enter Primary 1 with weak English language and literacy skills. Students are identified for LSP through a systematic screening process carried out at the beginning of Primary 1. The objective of the LSP is to equip Students with basic literacy skills so that they could access learning in the regular classroom.
The LSP is implemented by Learning Support Co-ordinators (LSCs) who are teachers. LSCs are given additional training by MOE HQ that equips them with specialised knowledge and skills to implement the programme. Students are supported daily for half an hour a day in groups of 8 to 10 Students. Support continues in Primary 2 for Students who need it.
The LSP was first introduced in 1992. It is now implemented in all primary schools.Learning Support for Maths (LSM)
Learning Support for Mathematics (LSM) is an early intervention effort aimed at providing additional support to students who do not have foundational numeracy skills and knowledge to access the Primary 1 Maths curriculum. Students were identified for the intervention through a screening process carried out at the beginning of Primary 1. They were supported by a LSM Teacher for 4-8 periods a week.
LSM started as a pilot project in 45 schools in 2001. It is now implemented in all primary schools. Starting in 2006, all schools were provided with additional teacher posts, which are allocated according to the needs of each school. Training and teaching resources were provided for LSM teachers in supporting their LSM Students. LSM has also been extended to P2 from this year.Stronger Support for English Language Literacy in Schools
In addition to LSP, MOE announced in 2013 that it will roll out additional learning programmes to all the primary and secondary schools to provide stronger support for English language literacy in schools. Students who have fallen behind will be supported not just up to Primary 2 in LSP, but all the way till the end of their secondary school education. These programmes together with the LSP for Primary 1 and 2 pupils with limited literacy will help all our students level up.Stronger Support for Numeracy in Schools
MOE also announced in 2013 that it was developing additional resources and stepping up the training of primary and secondary teachers to equip them with the teaching strategies to help students acquire numeracy skills. These teaching strategies could be used in class or in small group instruction, both within and outside curriculum hours. They allow students to learn at their own pace and strengthen their numeracy skills.
Over the last two years, MOE has rolled out these resources and training to primary and secondary schools. Students who lack the necessary numeracy skills are given support at all levels in the primary and secondary schools. This goes beyond the current Learning Support Programme for Mathematics which is extended only to Primary 1 and 2 students, to providing stronger support to lower progress learners all the way to S4.
As part of the national SkillsFuture movement, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will introduce a new Early Childhood Capability Grant to support child care centres and kindergartens that host enhanced internships for students from the full-time Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) courses at the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). The enhancements in these internship programmes will better support structured learning at the workplace. This is critical in supporting ECDA’s strategies to attract and retain passionate early childhood professionals by providing them with realistic and meaningful exposure to working in the sector.
Enhanced internships for the early childhood sector. From September 2015, enhancements to internships will be progressively introduced in the full-time ECCE courses in the polytechnics and ITE (Annex A). The enhanced internship aims to provide students with meaningful on-the-job experiences to develop work-ready skills, and to ease students’ transition into the sector as trained early childhood teachers after they graduate.
Key enhancements include: * Standardised internship duration of 22 weeks across full-time ECCE polytechnic and ITE courses to provide more time for on-the-job learning; this is almost double the length of some existing internship programmes. * More comprehensive learning outcomes covering key knowledge and skills, with an emphasis on translating theory into practice. * Structured mentoring throughout the programme by experienced early childhood teachers equipped with mentoring skills.
Early Childhood Capability Grant. ECDA will introduce this in tandem with the launch of the enhanced internships to help operators build capabilities to deliver consistent and quality internship experiences (Annex B). The grant will be provided to operators selected by the polytechnics and ITE to host interns under the enhanced internship programme. It will support the cost of training and deployment of mentors, as well as costs in providing stipends, and teaching and learning resources for interns.
Operators keen to host students under the enhanced internships may contact Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and ITE for more information.
Appointment of 17 Sector Coordinators Among Post-Secondary Education Institutions and Launch of Skills-Based Modular Courses in 2015
SkillsFuture is a national movement that seeks to develop skills for the future and help Singaporeans build a future based on skills mastery. In Budget 2015, DPM Tharman outlined a slate of SkillsFuture initiatives to help every Singaporean to advance based on skills. In the education sector, SkillsFuture efforts include strengthening education and career guidance in schools, enhancing internships to better students’ learning at the workplace, and launching the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme to provide fresh graduates from the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) a head-start in their careers.
To support SkillsFuture, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has appointed, among the post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs), sector coordinators to strengthen linkages between study and work.
The PSEIs will also launch new skills-based modular courses in the second half of 2015 to provide Singaporeans with more opportunities to acquire relevant skills.Sector Coordinators Appointed to Strengthen Industry Engagement
Sector coordinators have been appointed for each of the following 17 sectors:
The sector coordinators will play a central role in driving industry engagement and coordinating the implementation of SkillsFuture initiatives for their respective sectors, particularly among the polytechnics and ITE.
Students will benefit from strengthened linkages between the PSEIs and employers, through internships, curriculum development, and industry projects. The sector coordinators will also facilitate the spread of best practices across the education institutions. Employers will benefit from having a convenient point-of-contact within each sector to coordinate their outreach to and engagement with the PSEIs, particularly for new projects and collaborations.
Many of the 17 sectors are aligned with the future growth and priority sectors identified by DPM Tharman in his Budget 2015 speech. Over time, more sector coordinators will be appointed for other industry sectors.Launch of Skills-Based Modular Courses in Second Half of 2015
In support of lifelong learning and skills mastery, especially for those in their mid-careers, the universities will launch about 200 skills-based modular courses, and the polytechnics will also launch more than 100 modular courses at the diploma and post-diploma levels, in the second half of 2015. Singapore Citizens (SCs) enrolled in modular courses offered by the PSEIs can expect to receive the same level of subsidies as that for the equivalent part-time qualification. Individuals can also tap on the new SkillsFuture Credit, which will be given to all SCs aged 25 and above from 2016, to defray course fees.
These modular courses, covering key growth and priority sectors in Singapore, such as Advanced Manufacturing, Information and Communications Technology, Aviation, and Logistics, will offer more flexibility for working adults to develop new skills and deepen their skills in focused areas as their career progresses. More modular courses will be offered by ITE, the polytechnics, autonomous universities and SIM University (UniSIM) over the next few years.
Nine students from across five Chinese Language Elective Programme (CLEP) centres will receive the inaugural Best Improvement Award. The award will be presented by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Communications and Information, at the CLEP 25th Anniversary Luncheon on Saturday, 23 May 2015. The list of award recipients can be found in Annex A.
The “Best Improvement Award”, introduced by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning and sponsored by the Chinese Language and Culture Fund, will be presented to students who are Singapore Citizens and show remarkable improvement in Chinese Language subjects, contribute actively to the CLEP and exemplify good character. Each year, the award will be presented to students from the Pre-U 1 and Pre-U 2 levels in all CLEP centres. Awardees will each receive a cash award of $500.The Chinese Language Elective Programme (CLEP)
The Chinese Language Elective Programme was introduced by the Ministry of Education in 1990 to nurture students who have an aptitude for the Chinese Language so that they can attain a high level of proficiency and enhance their understanding of Chinese Literature. The programme also aims to allow academically able students to become effectively bilingual so as to better serve the needs of our nation. There are currently 5 CLEP centres - Dunman High School, Hwa Chong Institution (College), Jurong Junior College, Nanyang Junior College and Temasek Junior College.The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL)
The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL), formed in January 2005, aims to garner the support of the community to support the learning of Chinese Language (CL) and to facilitate a continuing process of collaboration between schools, community organisations and the media to create an environment for promoting the use of CL beyond schools. Since its formation, CPCLL has actively organised engaging and interactive activities to enthuse students and develop in them an abiding interest in CL and Chinese culture.
More than 200 students received recognition for their creativity in animation and video production at the Schools Digital Media Awards (SDMA) 2015 presentation ceremony on 5 March 2015.
Co-organised by the Ministry of Education and Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film and Media Studies, SDMA, in its 15th year, continues to inspire and discover young talents, attracting a total of 393 entries from more than 1700 students across 177 schools. A total of 54 awards (2 Platinum Awards, 10 Gold Awards, 16 Silver Awards and 26 Merit Awards) were given out at the award presentation ceremony graced by Mr Deakarajen V Sanmugan, Assistant Vice-President, Productions [Drama, Comedy and Factual], Mediacorp TV Pte Ltd.
In celebration of SG50, special themes such as “My Special Singapore/A Place in Our Heart” and “Hear Me Out - My Wish for Singapore” were introduced this year, attracting more than 170 entries from students who shared interesting stories and their personal aspirations for Singapore. This was especially so in the animation category where students fully leveraged on the richness of the medium to produce animations filled with anecdotes celebrating the history, rich cultural heritage and unique traits of Singaporeans.
Students impressed judges with their creative and original interpretations of the different themes such as “50”, “Do You Know?” and “Big Hearts, Helping Hands (Values in Action)”. The Platinum Award winning entries were of a particular high calibre, showing a sense of maturity in the usage of various cinematography and animation techniques by the students. The refreshing take and creative presentations of the theme “50” was another highlight of the Platinum Award entries.
The entries were judged on their content, creativity, engagement and technical quality.
The Schools Digital Media Awards is an annual competition for teachers and students of MOE-registered schools in genre categories such as animation, documentary, drama and advertisements. The competition aims to achieve the following:
- provide students with a platform to express themselves creatively through different media - video and animation
- provide teachers with a platform to engage in media production for educational purposes
- promote the values of teamwork and collaboration among students and teachers
- enhance the development of media literacy among students and teachers
Singapore's Young Research Talents go Global at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2015
The Ministry of Education (MOE), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Science Centre Singapore congratulate the Singapore Team on their performance at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2015 held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America (USA) from 10 to 15 May 2015. The Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science fair held annually to provide a platform for top science and engineering talents of different nationalities to showcase their projects. The Singapore team submitted four individual projects and two team projects this year and achieved commendable results at the fair (Refer to Annex A for details of the projects).
Benjamin Tan Kye Jyn, Lim Zheng Theng and Tan Yi Zhao from Hwa Chong Institution found a novel way of embedding silver nanoparticles into membranes used in water purification processes and won the Second Award in the category of Environmental Engineering. Additionally, for their innovation in membrane technology, they were also awarded the Second Life Science Award in the Special Awards Segment. One of the team members, Lim Zheng Theng, shared, “By participating in the ISEF, I’m able to see how I can apply this knowledge in a manner that benefits people and processes. I’m inspired to consider science and engineering research as my future career option.”
Lee Shi Ya Claudia from Raffles Institution studied how the use of peptide-derived hydrogels could be injected into the body for the consistent release of drugs over a specific period of time. For her new method of producing hydrogels, she was awarded the Fourth Award in the Chemistry category. On her thoughts about participating in Intel ISEF, Claudia said, “I feel that science and engineering is very much dependent on the effective exchange of ideas and meaningful collaboration. I value the experience of having the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas with the judges.”
In their team project, Madhumitha Shridharan and Ren Yuhua from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science developed a method to significantly reduce energy consumption and improve patient comfort to administer a patch test for patients with skin problems. For their innovation, they were awarded the Special Award by the China Association for Science and Technology.
Other individual projects submitted to Intel ISEF were by Tommy Ong Zhi Xian from Raffles Institution, Joel Tan Shi Quan from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science and Ching Yi Jie Preston from National Junior College, whose research projects explored the scientific areas of Microbiology, Physics and Astronomy as well as Biomedical and Health Sciences respectively.
The Singapore Team was chosen from the top awardees in the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) held in March this year. SSEF is a national competition jointly organised by MOE, A*STAR and Science Centre Singapore. The Singapore Team was jointly led by Mr Gary Neo Wei Chung (Curriculum Planning, MOE), Mrs Sow Yoke Keow (Hwa Chong Institution) and Dr Tan Guoxian (Raffles Institution).
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has further expanded the School-based Dyslexia Remediation (SDR) Programme to 60 more primary schools in 2015, to now cover 121 primary schools, or two-thirds of all primary schools. Another 290 students are expected to benefit from the programme in the additional 60 schools. This is on top of the 1,510 students who have benefited from the SDR since 2012. The programme will be made available to all primary schools in 2016.
First piloted in 2012, the SDR programme is a two-year intervention programme for Primary 3 and 4 students. Students with weak language and literacy skills at Primary 1 will receive early intervention through the Learning Support Programme (LSP). For students whose literacy difficulties persist, they would be systematically referred for further assessment and diagnosis by the end of Primary 2. Students confirmed to have dyslexia would receive specialised remediation through the School-based Dyslexia Remediation (SDR) programme in Primary 3 and 4.
A unique feature of this remediation is the specially designed curriculum by MOE Reading Specialists catering to the dyslexic profile of students. The remediation programme adopts a systematic approach to teaching reading and spelling which is based on methods tested and proven internationally. The approach addresses key difficulties faced by children with dyslexia, such as phonological deficits, difficulty in making connections between letter sounds and letter names and weak memory. Students are taught letter names and letter sounds, as well as how to read and spell words, and read connected text explicitly with methods that involve multiple senses - of sight, sound, movement and touch. Repeated practice is built into each lesson to help students better internalise the knowledge and skills. The programme is conducted by Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support) and English Language teachers who have received specialised training to conduct the programme.
Findings from the two-year pilot in 2012 showed that students who had participated in the remediation programme had improved in their reading and spelling skills. A majority of them made more than two and a half years gain in reading age. Their motivation and attitude towards learning had also improved.
Please refer to Annex A for the list of schools offering the SDR programme in 2015.
As part of the national SkillsFuture movement to provide individuals with opportunities to develop to their fullest potential regardless of their starting points, polytechnic graduates can look forward to refreshing and deepening their skills and knowledge through compressed and enhanced Post-Diploma Certificate (PDC) courses.
From October 2015, polytechnic graduates from the five polytechnics in Singapore who have graduated from a relevant course of study for at least two years will be able to enrol in such Enhanced PDC courses. These Enhanced PDC courses will help refresh and deepen individuals’ industry-relevant skills and knowledge, given that some time would have passed since these individuals graduated from their diploma programmes.
These Enhanced PDC courses will typically be run more intensively to allow individuals to complete them in a shorter duration. The typical duration of the Enhanced PDC courses will be around one to two months. For individuals who did not join related fields immediately after graduation from the polytechnics, they will therefore be able to join the industry that they have trained for faster, and with a set of refreshed skills. The Enhanced PDC courses will be conducted twice a year, with classes starting in July and October of each year. The first run will commence in October 2015.
Students who successfully complete an Enhanced PDC course will receive the same certificate that is issued to students who complete equivalent PDCs that make up part-time Advanced Diploma or Specialised Diploma courses. Enhanced PDCs can be recognised for credit exemption and can count towards attainment of corresponding Advanced Diplomas or Specialised Diplomas should the individual subsequently decide to enrol into the relevant courses (subject to existing course requirements).Course fees for Singapore Citizens undertaking their first Enhanced PDC course to be waived, to encourage first steps toward continual education and training
To encourage individuals to take their first steps towards continual upgrading and lifelong learning, course fees for Singapore Citizens (SCs) undertaking their first Enhanced PDC course will be waived if they have not taken any PDC course previously. These individuals will only need to pay a nominal sign-up fee of $50 to defray administrative costs. SCs who take subsequent Enhanced PDC courses and other post-diploma courses will continue to enjoy the 85 per cent course subsidy provided by MOE.Ten Enhanced PDC courses to be launched as a start
As a start, the polytechnics will be launching 10 of such courses in the areas of applied sciences, maritime, engineering, and information and communications technology. The courses in the pilot phase were chosen carefully to ensure a wide coverage of sectors. Over time, under the joint leadership of polytechnics and the industry, more Enhanced PDCs will be made available for other key growth and priority sectors. Details on the feeder diploma programmes for these Enhanced PDC courses can be found in the Annex.