Following the announcement by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung to abolish secondary school streaming in 2024, there was much approval from the public.
Many were in fact, in favour of the move that looked to even scrap the GCE O-Level or N-Level examinations, and replace it with a common national examination and certification. The Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan took to Facebook claiming credit for the idea behind the entire change.
Dr Chee issued a statement on the very day Minister Ong made the announcement titled, “ONG YE KUNG ADOPTS SDP’S PROPOSAL TO ABOLISH STREAMING”.
The opposition party member also said that the People’s Action Party (PAP) also “has a habit of criticising the SDP’s proposals first especially during elections, only to copy and adopt our ideas later”.
While Minister Ong’s statement on streaming was met with public support, Dr Chee’s was not.
Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng took to social media to criticize Dr Chee and said, “So the SDP is trying to claim credit by saying the PAP copied their proposal to scrap streaming.
Actually, our education system is based on the Brits and they scrapped streaming in 1958. Does Chee Soon Juan want to claim credit for that too?”
When talking about the new system without streaming, Cheng corrected Minister Ong: “TWO STREAMS. NOT NONE”.
He explained, “there will be TWO streams. The elite students who enter Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong Institution and other IP schools, who don’t have to take the new national certificate. (They don’t take the O-levels now) And the rest of the country”.
Currently, for the Integrated Programme (IP), students need not sit for the GCE O-Level examination in Secondary 4. However, at the end of year 6 (JC2), they will sit for the GCE A-Level examination.
On the matter, Cheng also opined, “For me at least, it’s better than having NO streaming.
In reality, since the introduction of IP schools, there have already been two tiers of secondary education. This makes the second tier less differentiated”.