Significant improvements to education system anticipated in Budget 2019

Less focus on academic achievement and more emphasis on learning would be the way forward said Ong

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Photo: YouTube screngrab

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Sunday (Feb 17) that there would be major improvements in the education system going forward.

On December 27 last year Ong disclosed some of these plans, the first initiative was lessening the student’s exam load and decreasing the focus on academic results in order to enhance the “balance between the joy of learning and the rigour of education,” he said.

The second initiative involved the launching of UPLIFT (Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce) which is an inter-agency group dedicated to boosting student’ motivation levels and addressing absenteeism and drop-out rates of those coming from disadvantaged households to give them better leverage.

This and the lowering of school fees for independent schools starting April 2019 was also  released by the Ministry of Education.

More information on Mr. Ong’s initial statement below:

School fees for independent schools to be lowered up to 50% for students from low- and middle-income families starting April 2019

Although the details of the third thrust in the educational revamp, which will also be a multi-year effort, was not fully disclosed, he said that “it will significantly improve the education system.”

The full announcement will be released during the upcoming Committee of Supply debate which will occur after the Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s Budget 2019 statement in Parliament this afternoon.

When he was asked about the engagement of the 4th generation younger leaders in Budget 2019, Ong said, “It’s not just the budget debate but any announcement now coming from any of the younger ministers, there is a good chance that we have gone through a debate and careful deliberation before coming up with new policies.”

He added that the younger ministers have already finished 30 of the 90 ministerial community visits to the constituencies in Singapore. They plan to complete the remaining 60 visits in a year and three months.

With the upcoming elections, the members of the public are extra cautious regarding the initiatives and actions of government officials.

When the same was mentioned to Ong concerning their community visits, he shared that they have been doing this for three years and “if it were a shifting of gears [into election mode], it would have started three years ago.

“So, I suppose the day we finish elections; we change gears to prepare for the next.”

He said that “Every week we are out here in the open. Residents sometimes are surprised to see us, but I think we get the conversation going, have a good sense of ground worries, concerns and what they are happy about, what they are not so happy about.”