SINGAPORE — The number of student welfare officers (SWOs) in schools will double over the next few years amid the COVID-19 crisis, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said on Thursday (3 September).
Speaking on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, Wong said the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for strengthening social support for more vulnerable students and their families.
It also showed the importance of teaching staff and Allied Educators working together to provide strong support for the holistic development of students.
Wong did not specify the targeted number of student welfare officers, whose role is to support students with higher needs.
“These SWOs will support teachers and work hand in hand with other school staff and community partners to strengthen the safety net and address barriers to school attendance and learning for these at-risk students.” said Wong.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) will also grow the number of teacher counsellors to ensure adequate counselling support for students in every school.
The number of Education and Career Guidance (ECG) counsellors will also be increased to help students make informed education and career plans.
Junior colleges will have an ECG counsellor each while secondary schools will get one ECG counsellor supporting two schools, up from a ratio of one counsellor to four schools today, Wong said.
Allied Educators will be provided with more opportunities for career progression in tandem with the increase in the number of middle and senior level positions, he added.
Wong also acknowledged the critical role played by Master Teachers such as sharing effective teaching practices in the classroom and planning new teaching methods.
These Master Teachers are currently primarily based in the headquarters of the MOE. The number of Master Teachers will grow while MOE will post more than a hundred of them to schools to teach classes on a sustained basis, Wong said.
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