What Singapore expects after easing obsession with student grades

What Singapore expects after easing obsession with student grades

Two years ago, Singapore eased obsession with grades and started to focus on teaching students to be entrepreneurs.

Despite the country’s long standing as leaders in maths and science, experts noted that exams alone could not produce one ingredient needed for economic success: new ideas.

“The overemphasis on exam results detracts students from the broader purpose of learning: discovery and exploration,” Cindy Khoo, a director with the Ministry of Education’s Planning Division, told Reuters in a previous interview.

Parents in Singapore were said to be paying as much as $491 (Ksh. 49,738) for four-session courses with tutors who had reportedly even become millionaires from their trade.

According to the ministry official, society’s mindset needs to shift over time to celebrate a multitude of talent and the successes achieved via varied paths.

“Experts say lack of play time chokes creativity. Many students attend after-school activities in the afternoon and tuition in the evening. By the time they finish homework, it’s past midnight. This pressure has created an education arms race with the private tuition industry one of the main beneficiaries,” the Reuters report said.

In 2017, new changes were announced in the Singapore curriculum: courses with no grades, at least a tenth of admissions to universities based on aptitudes rather than results and scrapping of classifying officers by educational qualifications.

The changes in schools were reported to be part of a broader government effort to boost innovation and technology

Today, Singapore has what they call Desired Outcomes of Education (DOE) that guide teachers on what to prioritize in class.

Each educational level; Primary, Secondary, and Post-Secondary, lays the foundation for DOEs in the subsequent one.

Below are the key stage outcomes for education in Singapore as per the stage of education:

Primary School

1.Be able to distinguish right from wrong.

2.Know their strengths and areas for growth.

3.Be able to cooperate, share and care for others.

4. Have a lively curiosity about things.

5. Be able to think for and express themselves confidently.

6. Take pride in their work.

7. Have healthy habits and an awareness of the arts.

8. Know and love Singapore.

Secondary School

1. Have moral integrity.

2. Believe in their abilities and be able to adapt to change.

3. Be able to work in teams and show empathy for others.

4. Be creative and have an inquiring mind.

5. Be able to appreciate diverse views and communicate effectively.

6. Take responsibility for their own learning.

7. Enjoy physical activities and appreciate the arts.

8. Believe in Singapore and understand what matters to Singapore.

Post-Secondary 2 Education

1.Have moral courage to stand up for what is right.

2. Be resilient in the face of adversity.

3. Be able to collaborate across cultures and be socially responsible.

4. Be innovative and enterprising.

5. Be able to think critically and communicate persuasively.

6. Be purposeful in pursuit of excellence.

7. Pursue a healthy lifestyle and have an appreciation for aesthetics.

8. Be proud to be Singaporeans and understand Singapore in relation to the world.