Two new schools for Normal (Technical) students in 2013

Fann Sim

Normal (Technical) stream students will have two new choices when it comes to schooling in 2013.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) released, on Thursday, its addendum to President Tony Tan’s earlier parliamentary address.

One of its announcements was that two new specialised schools for Normal (Technical) students will be set up in 2013.
The two schools will cater to experiential learners and will add on to the current four specialised schools that only cater to the Express stream students. The four schools specialise in Sports, Arts, Mathematics and Science and Applied Learning,
Details of the new schools will be released at the end of the year, The Straits Times reported.
Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat was reported as saying that the two new schools will take a “whole school approach” to cater to these students who learn best by doing.
During a visit to Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East, Heng said these new pathways for students illustrates his ministry’s mission as mentioned in the addendum – “to better cater to the strengths and interests of each child, and to allow every child to find his or her own path to success”.

For Normal (Academic) students, they will have the option of joining polytechnics via the Polytechnic Foundation Programme. Students who have performed well in their GCE N-level examinations could complete a one-year Foundation Programme at the polytechnics instead of taking their O-levels in Secondary 5.
Polytechnics will be expanded to admit up to 45 per cent of each Primary One cohort.
Over the next few years, existing universities will be expanded and newer institutions and programmes will be established. Students will have more options to earn publicly-funded degrees.
By 2015, there will be 14,000 publicly-funded university places for Singapore students compared to the current 12,000.
Beyond 2015, university intakes will be expanded further to meet the aspirations of Singaporeans and the long-term needs of the economy, said MOE.

For the primary and secondary level, MOE said it will focus on helping children develop crucial competencies like expression, confidence and teamwork while teenagers will further develop their character and citizenship.

The ministry will also help develop schools according to their strengths to bring out the best in their students. Customised programmes and teaching methods will be used to help nurture every child’s talent and the ministry will continue to improve special education schools for special needs children, said MOE.

Outreach efforts by MOE have improved preschool enrolment to 99 per cent of the cohort and the ministry said it will continue to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of preschools.

Within the next five years, the teaching force will be increased to 33,000 from the current 31,000.