Singapore — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong underlined the importance of education for everyone, as well as for the country’s future, at an award ceremony in Townsville Primary School in Ang Mo Kio over the weekend (Jan 4-5).
According to Mr Lee, Singapore’s educational system is meant to draw out the best in every single one of its pupils.
He pointed out that getting an education has always been made affordable to everyone because no individual should ever be discouraged from getting educated because of a lack of finances.
As proof that the country’s educational system has kept pace with the times, Mr Lee pointed out the considerable changes that have been made in order to better accommodate pupils who have mixed abilities.
For example, the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) grading system was expanded to better reflect each student’s performance, and secondary schools are making the shift from streaming to full subject-based banding.
This ensures that students in Singapore are not compelled to adjust to a one-size-fits-all situation.
The Prime Minister said: “Education is one of the most important things that Singaporeans have.
“And it is one of the most important things that the Government pays attention to because we believe that through education, we can help our citizens gain skills, learn knowledge, become productive and useful, become good people and make a living for themselves.”
Two kinds of awards were presented to more than 1,000 pupils in Mr Lee’s Teck Ghee ward. A total of 760 received the Ministry of Education (MOE) Edusave Award, while 351 received the Teck Ghee Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) Bursary. Grassroots organisations raised the money for the bursary awards.
The CCC Bursary awardees received between $250 and $550, based on their level of study, while MOE Edusave awardees received between $200 and $500, with criteria such as character, leadership, conduct, learning dispositions and academic performance taken into consideration for the recipients.
The Prime Minister promised in his speech that the Government will remain supportive of students and continue with efforts to ensure the quality and affordability of education in the country.
In 2019, the Government announced that school fees in pre-schools, as well as institutes of higher learning, would be decreased this year.
On his Facebook account, Mr Lee posted photos of the awarding and reiterated the importance of education to Singapore.
“Education is vital to Singapore’s future. We want every child to get the best education they can and develop to their fullest potential. This is how we can build a fair, just, and inclusive society, where the human spirit can flourish.
“We are improving our education system — removing exams for some levels, introducing full subject-based banding in secondary schools, and changing the PSLE scoring system to reduce the over-emphasis on grades. These changes will give our children more time to explore their strengths and interests, cultivate a love for learning, and contribute to the community. We will also keep education always affordable. This year we are reducing pre-school fees and bringing down higher education fees.
“I was happy to present more than 1,100 Edusave and Bursary Awards over the weekend. The Edusave Awards recognise not just academic performance, but also our students’ efforts and achievements, affirming the importance of good character, strengths, and values. Congratulations to all the recipients! Continue to do well, in school and in life.” – LHL