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.
From 2016, students will have more opportunities to enrol in art and music talent development programmes at the secondary level. To grow the potential and talent of students across a wider range of domains, MOE will:
Extend the Enhanced Art Programme (EAP) and Enhanced Music Programme (EMP) to seven more schools, and
Appoint three schools that are hosting the Art Elective Programme (AEP) or Music Elective Programme (MEP) as AEP or MEP centres. These AEP or MEP centres will accept students from other schools into their respective AEP or MEP.
Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education said: “The Enhanced Art and Music Programmes, as well as the Art and Music Elective Programmes, will enable more students to further develop their passion and talent in art and music. They have more opportunities to learn from artists and musicians, and contribute to the cultural life of the community too. We have recently announced that talented students from any school can enrol in the Junior Sports Academy programme that will be sited in accessible facilities distributed around Singapore. Similarly, with more schools offering the art and music programmes, talented students do not have to travel as far to enrol in these programmes. Through our programmes and efforts, we hope to nurture students to lead purposeful lives and use their talents to benefit their community.”Seven More Schools to Offer EAP and EMP
The two-year EAP and EMP provide an enriched learning environment for Secondary 3 and 4 students inclined towards art and music respectively. All EAP and EMP students will take the GCE ‘O’ Level Art and Music examinations respectively. Beyond the O-level syllabus for Art/Music, students will benefit from exposure to the arts and creative industries in the form of master-classes with artists/musicians, and studio sessions and visits by practitioners for authentic and relevant learning. They will also have opportunities to hold exhibitions and perform at concerts.
Starting from 2016, the EAP will be extended from four to nine schools and EMP will be extended from two to four schools. With that, the EAP and EMP will have a better geographical spread across the island. Talented students interested in these programmes can enrol in one of these schools nearer to their homes. All the seven schools that will start the EAP or EMP by 2017 have good art/music programmes, and are offering the Applied Learning Programme (ALP) and Learning for Life Programme (LLP) with an arts focus. The new schools will receive support from MOE in terms of additional facilities, equipment and teaching personnel. The full list of new and existing schools that host the EAP and EMP are in Annex A.
This initiative to extend the EAP and EMP to more schools will further enhance our students’ access to art and music-related developmental opportunities, and allow students who have talent and interest in art and music to develop stronger mastery and pursue a lifelong interest and learning in these areas.
The EAP and EMP are available to students from Secondary 3 onwards. Interested students must first enrol in a school hosting the EAP or EMP and sign up for these programmes at the end of Secondary 2.Three AEP and MEP Centres to Enrol Students from Other Schools
With the diversity of talents among our students, there may be students with passion and talent for art or music, who are not enrolled in the schools that host the AEP/MEP today. To support these students, National Junior College will operate as an AEP centre, and Dunman High School and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) will operate as MEP centres for students with passion and talent for art or music from other schools, starting from 2016.
Secondary 1 students in the Express course, who demonstrate passion and talent in art or music, can apply to be an external AEP or MEP students at these AEP/MEP centres by submitting their application through their secondary schools in January 2016.
Shortlisted students will be required to attend a selection test, and selected students will commence their AEP/MEP lessons at their AEP/MEP centres from Term 2 of 2016. Details of the three centres, and the list of existing schools offering the AEP/MEP, are in Annex B.Promoting Holistic Development of Our Students through Art and Music
To promote the holistic development of our students, all primary and secondary students have access to quality art and music programmes. Schools also provide a good range of art and music CCAs, with about 1 in 5 students involved in either an art or music CCA group. The EAP/EMP and AEP/AMP further develop students who have strong passion and talent in art and music. These programmes aim to encourage these students to cultivate a life-long interest in the arts and be equipped with useful lifelong competencies associated with an appreciation of the arts.Footnote
- More details about the AEP can be found at MOE website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/secondary/other/art-elective-programme/ ↩
- More details about the MEP can be found at MOE website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/secondary/other/music-elective-programme/ ↩
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