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Three secondary schools to take in wider range of students from 2024 as full subject-based banding kicks in

Crescent Girls’ School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School and Tanjong Katong Secondary School will start taking in students taking mainly G2 subjects, which are broadly mapped from today’s Normal (Academic) standards, says Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.

Three secondary schools to take in wider range of students from 2024 as full subject-based banding kicks in

Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing speaking during his ministry's Committee of Supply debates on Mar 7, 2022.

SINGAPORE: Three secondary schools will take in a wider range of students from 2024 as full subject-based banding kicks in, announced Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing on Monday (Mar 7). 

Crescent Girls’ School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School and Tanjong Katong Secondary School, which currently only admit students in the Express course, will admit a wider range of students from its 2024 Secondary 1 batch, including students taking mainly G2 subjects, he said. 

With full subject-based banding, students can choose to take different subjects at different subject levels, known as G1, 2 and 3. G stands for General. 

“They are broadly mapped from today’s Express, Normal (Academic), Normal (Technical) standards,” said Mr Chan in Parliament during the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Committee of Supply debate. 

“There will be greater subject-level flexibility. Those who are strong in a subject may take it at a more demanding level, while those who find it difficult to cope with a subject may offer it at a less demanding level, based on their school’s guidance.” 

Students will also be grouped in mixed form classes from 2024, when streaming is removed in schools completely, said Mr Chan. 

By 2023, about 90 schools, or more than two-thirds of secondary schools, would have implemented full subject-based banding.

This includes 31 secondary schools that started implementing it this year, said MOE in a separate factsheet. 

The experience from the full subject-based banding pilot that started in 2020 gives MOE “confidence that we are on the right track”, said the Education Minister. 

“Students have made more friends across courses, learned new perspectives and learnt how to relate to peers of different backgrounds, and they have become more confident in themselves and their abilities,” he added. 

Schools will also shift away from course-based subject offerings under full subject-based banding, said Mr Chan. 

Mother Tongue Language (B) will be discontinued from the 2024 Secondary 1 cohort. 

Currently, students in the Express and N(A) courses who face “exceptional difficulties” with Mother Tongue Language (MTL) can take MTL B. 

With full subject-based banding, students can now study MTL at a level that “better meets their learning needs”, like at G1 or G2, said the Education Minister. 

G1 MTL focuses more on developing oral communication skills, while G2 MTL places more emphasis on the students’ “all-round development” of language skills, said MOE. 

Even if students opt to study MTL at G1 or G2 at the start of secondary school, they can later take it at a more demanding level if they “gain greater competence and confidence” in the subject, the ministry added. 

POLYTECHNIC FOUNDATION PROGRAMME TO BE EXPANDED

Changes to the Polytechnic Foundation Programme will also be made with the roll-out of full subject-based banding. 

The programme will be expanded and selected grade requirements for entry will be relaxed from 2024, said Mr Chan. 

“A wider group of learner profiles can benefit from a practice-based preparatory pathway to the polytechnics, while still ensuring that students can cope with the rigour,” the minister said.

About 200 more students will benefit from this every year, on top of the 1,500 who enter the programme now, he added. 

“We will continue to review admissions for other pathways to better recognise the different subject levels under full SBB (subject-based banding).”

The Education Ministry wants to “customise education as much as possible” to bring out the best in every student, and give students more agency in their learning, said Mr Chan, noting that regular home-based learning will be implemented for all secondary and pre-university students by the end of 2022.

“Full SBB represents a major shift to customise learning for each student according to their strengths,” he added. 

"However, I must say that full SBB does require more resources. It entails more complex coordination of time-tables and requires our teachers to adapt their teaching methods for a wider range of students.”

Source: CNA/hw(cy/gs)

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