Subject banding overcomes drawbacks of streaming: PM Lee

Subject banding overcomes drawbacks of streaming: PM Lee

SINGAPORE: Schools should tailor the education they offer to students' varying needs and talents, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday (Mar 5) in response to changes to be made to the secondary school streaming system.

Mr Lee highlighted in his Facebook post that Education Minister Ong Ye Kung had announced that "secondary school streaming will be phased out by 2024",  In its place, the Ministry of Education is implementing subject-based banding, he wrote.

"Secondary students will be able to study subjects at the appropriate band, depending on whether they are strong or weak in that subject. The N and O Level exams will be replaced by a new common national exam. Students will take individual papers at different levels, matching the bands," Mr Lee said.

READ: Current approach to streaming in secondary schools to be phased out by 2024 

While the current form of streaming has helped students complete their secondary school education, it has some drawbacks, Mr Lee said: "It lacks flexibility, and students in the slower streams may become demotivated. Banding overcomes these difficulties, while enabling each student to learn at the pace which suits their aptitude and level, depending on the subject."

Mr Ong had said that in its current form, streaming assumes that students learn at a certain pace in all their subjects while many students have uneven strengths in different subjects. Certain streams also carry a "stigma" and are "self-limiting", he said in his Committee of Supply speech.

"We must acknowledge that children differ enormously in their abilities and interests. Schools should tailor the education they offer to the students’ varying needs and talents," Mr Lee said.

He added that schools also need to "create opportunities for students to interact with one another across different races and social backgrounds, so that they grow up at ease with one another and share a sense of identity, mutual responsibility, and nationhood".

Source: CNA/hm