“You need very thoughtful long-term strategic thinking and to monitor the results of the changes every step of the way,” says the Education Minister Heng Swee Keat. He said that Singapore’s strong school system stands in sharp distinction to many around the world.
With the passage of time, Singapore has successfully built a first-rate education system offering many choices and paths to young Singaporeans from primary to university level, and even through continuing education, which helps employees improve their skills and expertise. The Government has also ensured that education is Singapore in not bounded in anyway, all Singaporeans have access to varied pathways, irrespective of their family background or commencement point.
Mr. Heng sketched out to The Straits Times about how the education system has been built up, “layer upon layer” – in every school, at every level and no matter what the child’s starting point is.
This is all what made Singapore to be the best in Education Industry:
• A strong belief that learning is not just confined to the classroom and books, but it also includes music, sports and other program-mes that helps in building a strong character and skills needed to withstand this complex world.
• The variety of pathways available for the students, ranging from the Integrated Programme to the Singapore Sports School to the School of the Arts.
• Upbringing the workers and their skills by offering them the facility of various post-secondary studies, through the Earn and Learn program-mes where they gain qualifications while working in companies.
• Creating and following a “student-centric” system, which recognizes every child as different. This is all about helping them discover their strengths and interests.
• The efforts of the Government through various schemes are also responsible for this success, which include the Ministry of Education kindergartens where one- third of the places are reserved for children from low-income families, as well as the learning support programme in English and Mathematics for students lagging behind.
• The government’s belief that education system is the most prime concern for any country and hence, almost all schools in Singapore are publicly funded and the teachers and leaders are employed by the ministry, which can deploy them to the schools where they are most needed.
Mr. Heng rightly said, “it is really about the child and how do we help the child be successful in life. Not just in the material sense but in leading a purposeful life.”