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PM Lee wrote that he’ll “listen to all ideas” to make Singapore’s education better, so netizens start weighing in

Following the PM's statement that he was open to ideas, Singaporeans gave their suggestions and also shared their personal stories on the education system

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Singapore—Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted a link to the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday of Education Minister Ong Ye Kung concerning the phasing out of secondary by 2024.

In his introduction to the post, he discussed the advantages and disadvantages of streaming, as well as what would replace it.

He also wrote, “We take education very seriously, and will listen to all ideas to make it better.”

And unsurprisingly, netizens began to weigh in with not only their suggestions but their own personal stories of their experiences with Singapore’s educational system.

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One commenter suggested measuring feedback on levels of “identity, mutual responsibility, and nationhood” in schools all over Singapore.

A very popular suggestion was to abolish the PSLE.

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Yet another netizen proposed doing away with exams completely (to which another commenter wholeheartedly agreed).

Several comments seemed to be concerned over the high amount of pressure put on primary school students.

One netizen proposed reaching for “the low hanging fruit” of “primary school admission by affiliations,” which he called “the real sacred cow”

Another commenter expressed the hope that the stigmatisation of students in certain streams would stop as well

Many commended the government for making the necessary changes in the educational system


Some netizens, however, expressed concern over too many changes in the educational system.

Other netizens simply told their stories about having been streamed

Our education system is widely admired. However, that doesn’t mean we will stop trying to improve it! During the…

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Here is PM Lee’s post in full:

“Our education system is widely admired. However, that doesn’t mean we will stop trying to improve it!

During the Committee of Supply in Parliament today, Ong Ye Kungannounced that secondary will be phased out by 2024. In its place, Ministry of Education, Singapore is implementing subject-based banding.

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.

MOE introduced streaming 40 years ago. The system has enabled students of different abilities to learn at their own pace. It has helped nearly every student to complete secondary school, and most to go on to post-secondary education.

But streaming has some drawbacks – 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.

Glad to see the lively exchange of views in Parliament about streaming yesterday. We take education very seriously, and will listen to all ideas to make it better.

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.

At the same time, they should 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. – LHL

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