SINGAPORE: Higher Malay Language and Higher Tamil Language will be introduced into the school curriculum from next year, following feedback on a pilot programme.
Higher Malay Language and Higher Tamil Language will be offered to Primary 3 students in 2022 and then offered to Primary 4 students in 2023.
This was announced by Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman on Friday (Apr 9) during a visit to Westwood Primary School, one of the pilot schools for the new curriculum.
The new curriculum will expose students to ethnic literature, help them develop higher-order thinking skills, and learn grammar and syntax through activities and games, said the Ministry of Education (MOE).
“This will allow more students to deepen their knowledge and appreciation for these languages and their cultures from an early age,” it said.
Thirty-five primary schools took part in the pilot programme last year and 54 this year.
The ministry said students in the pilot programme enjoyed the lessons and found them interesting. “Teachers also observed that the lessons were able to pique students’ interest in the languages,” it said.
The new classes will complement the Higher Chinese Language classes currently offered to Primary 3 and Primary 4 students, as well as the higher language classes offered to Primary 5 and Primary 6 students, the ministry added.
“Together, these offerings encourage students with strong interest and aptitude in mother tongue languages to learn to as high a level as they can.”
During his visit, Dr Maliki also launched the Nabil Nabilah reader series for Primary 5 and Primary 6 students, which was distributed to all primary schools in the first week of term 2 this year.
The reader series, written by primary school Malay language teachers, aims to promote a love for reading among students during and beyond their Malay language lessons.
It consists of two books containing a total of 20 short stories, each with a “relatable storyline that is set in local context”, MOE said.
There is currently a reader series for Primary 1 and Primary 2 students and another for Primary 3 and Primary 4 students, introduced in 2015 and 2018 respectively.
The three series comprise 42 books in total and can be accessed online by students, teachers and parents.
Editor's note: The timeline for the rollout of the two new language programmes has been amended in the latest version of this story, following clarification from MOE.