U.S. Rules Aim to Heighten Tracking of Ed. Schools' Performance - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 25 November 2014
Teacher colleges would need to provide proof of their graduates' classroom skills in helping advance student learning, under proposed rules issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.
Topic: Teachers

Tennessee Teachers Chafe at Common-Core Uncertainty - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 25 November 2014
Over the past three years, the state has invested heavily in common-core training for teachers, but has recently signaled a weaker commitment to the standards amid rising opposition.
Topic: Teachers

States Get Federal Running Room on Teacher-Equity Plans - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 24 November 2014
New guidance offers leeway as states craft ways to ensure disadvantaged students have access to as many highly qualified teachers as other students.
Topic: Teachers

N.Y. Data on New Teacher-Licensing Exams Show Higher Failure Rates - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 21 November 2014
A battery of new licensing tests in New York has led to relatively low passing rates for prospective teachers, according to data issued this week by the state education department.
Topic: Teachers

Introduce Word Problems to Students Sooner, Studies Say - Education Week

New research suggests that word problems might be easier to grasp and more beneficial at the beginning, rather than the end, of a math lesson.

Whither the university learning management system?

Authentic Learning - 15 November 2014
Most educators would agree that it is important for pedagogy to guide decisions about technology and not the other way around, and yet there is relatively little debate in academic circles about the limiting effects of the LMS. Why is…Read more ›

Registration of Instructors Offering Co-Curricular and Enrichment Activities to Schools (Second Phase)

Ministry Of Education Feed - 13 November 2014

Instructors offering co-curricular and enrichment activities to schools are required to register with the Ministry of Education (MOE). The registration aims to help schools better assess the suitability of instructors in conducting the co-curricular and enrichment activities. The first phase for registration of instructors offering co-curricular and enrichment activities to schools was from March 2014 . From January 2015, schools will only engage instructors from the first phase who are registered with MOE.

The second phase for registration comprises instructors engaged for school-based co-curricular and enrichment activities (academic and non-academic) that are more than eight hours but fewer than twenty hours per contract (for example, one month of weekly three-hour sessions). From January 2016, all government, government-aided, independent, specialised independent and specialised schools will only engage the services of these instructors who are registered with MOE. This includes school contracts for instructor services that begin in 2016, as well as school contracts for instructor services that begin in 2015 and extend into 2016.

These instructors may apply to register with MOE from 1 January 2015. Application procedures are available at Instructors are encouraged to register in the first half of 2015.

Similar to the first phase for registration, the instructors will be holistically evaluated based on the following:

  • Age (should be at least 18 years of age);
  • Area of specialisation;
  • Relevant qualifications and experience to the activity concerned (if available);
  • Employment history;
  • Registration with a relevant professional body (if available);
  • Self-declaration form.

All applicants will be notified by email on the outcome about six to eight weeks upon receiving their completed application. Instructors’ registered status will be valid for two years. Instructors who wish to continue providing such activities are to re-apply for registration with MOE at least three months prior to the expiry of their registered status. For more information, please visit or email

Envisioning a Science Centre for the People: Formation of Steering Committee to Lead in its Conceptualisation & Development

Ministry Of Education Feed - 12 November 2014

At the National Day Rally this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the relocation and redevelopment of Science Centre Singapore. Over the past 37 years, the Science Centre has inspired and enriched many generations of Singaporeans through its exhibitions, events, and shows. The new Science Centre will be integrated with Jurong Lake Gardens and will be the “jewel” in Jurong. It will be a place to inspire a new generation of Singaporeans in discovering the wonders of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The new Science Centre Steering Committee, chaired by Mr Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of Credence Partners Pte Ltd and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), will oversee three key areas of work, namely (i) programming, (ii) exhibitions, and (iii) infrastructural development of the new Science Centre. The Committee will also work closely with other government agencies, such as the National Parks Board, to integrate the new Science Centre with the Jurong Lake Gardens. To learn from the best, the Committee will also visit world-renowned science centres to tap on their experience.

Comprising members who are passionate about STEM and about promoting STEM to future generations of Singaporeans, the composition of the Committee members will ensure that specialised knowledge and valuable ideas from their respective fields can be tapped upon from the planning stages, implementation, to the completion of the new Science Centre. The list of members of the Committee is in Annex A. The Committee held its inaugural meeting today (12 November 2014).

Mr Koh noted the good work that Science Centre Singapore had done over the past 37 years, and reiterated that the new Science Centre must continue to inspire a passion in STEM. Mr Koh said: “Many people whom I have spoken to remember the Science Centre fondly, and can even name specific exhibits that have inspired them. The new Science Centre gives us an opportunity to do even more - to help our young learn through play and fun, to inculcate a love and wonder for science and technology amongst Singaporeans, and to kindle a passion for lifelong learning and inquiry.”   Expressing enthusiasm over the new project, Ms Tan Yen Yen, Chairman of the Science Centre Board and member of the Committee, said: “This is a milestone in the history of Science Centre Singapore, and we are all very excited about it. There are so many possibilities that we could explore, including how we can integrate with the Jurong Lake Gardens and the different themes that the new Science Centre can cover. Even as we plan for the new Science Centre, we will continue to review and refresh the exhibits in the current Science Centre so that the public can continue to interact with science in a fun-filled, family-friendly environment.”

A Science Centre for the People

Recognising that the new Science Centre must continue to be a Science Centre for the people, members of the Committee will also serve as ambassadors for the project, and reach out to the public for ideas and suggestions to imagine and dream the new Science Centre.

Dr Juliana Chan, editor-in-chief of Asian Scientist Magazine, and member of the Committee said: “We must break the misperception of science as an esoteric, ivory-tower discipline. Science is all around us, and can be appreciated by everyone - male or female, young or old. The new Science Centre has an important role in bringing science to all Singaporeans. We thus look forward to hearing from the public, to understand what they want to see in the new Science Centre.”

Members of the public who have ideas for the new Science Centre can write in to The Science Centre Steering Committee aims to finalise its recommendations by the second half of 2015.

Address by Ms Sim Ann at the Special Education (SPED) Conference 2014

Ministry Of Education Feed - 12 November 2014

Welcome to the 3rd SPED Conference. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gather as one fraternity to reflect on improvements that have been made to special education, learn good practices from one another, and celebrate the achievements of SPED educators and our schools.

Important Role of Educators

I have been inspired by reflections of our SPED educators in today’s conference theme. Your views affirm the vital role that educators play and I share your convictions in the mission to realise the potential of our students, and continuously seek better ways to help them lead independent and dignified lives

Over the years, much has been done to improve Affordability, Accessibility and Quality of SPED. We talk about these three key elements very often.

We have built up a very positive momentum of change, with new and useful initiatives every year.

Now this looks like a busy picture. Let me take us through bit by bit on what has happened in the SPED landscape, and put it back all together again.

Improving Affordability

We know that the cost of educating a student with special needs is high. We also recognise that parents of children with special needs are more likely than not to face additional financial outlay, such as increased medical expenses. As such, not only does the Government provide SPED schools with higher per capita funding than in mainstream schools, we have also put in place various measures to make SPED more affordable to parents. These include:

  • the extension of the Edusave Scheme through our SPED schools;
  • the introduction of Financial Assistance Schemes to help parents with SPED-related expenses; and
  • the School Breakfast Programme to ensure that our children start their day in school with a good meal.

We will continue to ensure that no child will be denied access to quality special education.

Enhancing Accessibility

When we talk about accessibility, it is really about making it easier for children who need special education to be placed in the right schools.

First of all, this means regularly updating our school infrastructure and, very importantly, making more places available. Today, we have 15 purpose-built SPED schools with customised facilities and five refurbished schools. We have also expanded the capacity of SPED schools to meet rising demand for places by constructing Campus 2 for Pathlight School, constructing a new wing for Metta School, and completing the new campus for Delta Senior School.

Accessibility also means helping parents make the important decision of placing their child in the right school, and simplifying the process of enrolment. We have introduced the Post-Diagnosis Educational Guidance, which aims to provide accurate information and advice as well as emotional support to parents whose child has been recommended a SPED school placement. We have also introduced a Parent’s Guide for Children with Special Educational Needs. We have also introduced the Multi-Agency Advisory Panel, comprising professionals from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, the National Council of Social Service, and various SPED schools, to improve the coordination and efficiency of admission processes to SPED schools.

We will continue to work closely with SPED schools to ensure appropriate and timely access to SPED.

Raising Quality

We know that every one of our SPED schools wants to be a good school. MOE shares this vision and we are here to help. Over the years, we have introduced many initiatives to uplift the quality of special education, and this is the core of our work.

We have directed more resources to support this important work, such as introducing:

  • the Teaching and Learning Fund;
  • the Curriculum Enhancement Fund;
  • the High Needs Grant for students who need more help, and
  • the MOE-Tote Board ICT Fund, which seeks to make it easier for schools to purchase and utilise info-comm technology in order to teach their students more effectively.

    I know that many of our schools have made good use of these funds.

We also recognise that a mark of a good school is one where families are engaged in supporting the education of the child. To this end, we have also established the Parent Support Group (PSG) Fund for schools to build and sustain home-school partnerships.

Our schools have been working tirelessly to bring the SPED Curriculum Framework to life and to enhance the learning of our students. Many things have been done in terms of improving curriculum, but two things stand out. First, we are placing a greater focus on curriculum across all of our SPED schools; and second, there will be more teachers leading curriculum development.

Greater Curriculum Leadership in Schools

It is very encouraging that there are Curriculum Leadership Teams (CLTs) in every SPED school today. The CLTs are led by school leaders and include the Heads of Programmes. Their aim is to drive efforts to implement the Curriculum Framework to serve each school’s unique profile of students and the CLTs play a key role in cascading the curriculum to every classroom.

Greater Curriculum Ownership by Teachers

Curriculum only comes alive when it is being utilised in the hands of every teacher. Every teacher can take the lead and take ownership of curriculum development. And over the months, I have noticed very good progress in how our schools have customised the curriculum, particularly in the form of growing Professional Learning Teams (PLTs). These PLTs are made up of educators as well as Allied Health Professionals, who collaborate to discover better ways to teach and improve the learning outcomes of our students. This has resulted in more teacher-led curriculum innovation.

Now, let us take a look at the experiences of some of our teachers working together on curriculum development.

We can see from the video that there has been considerable progress made in curriculum development. We see more leadership, ownership and the involvement of different groups of educators in curriculum design, development and delivery.

Curriculum improvement is a long-term undertaking, and MOE will continue to walk hand-in-hand with schools to best serve our students.

Professional Development

Teachers are key to quality special education. At the Ministry, we are committed to enhancing professional development opportunities for all our SPED teachers. We will continue to work with all our SPED teachers to build a quality SPED teaching force.

As schools further explore how to customise the curriculum, they have requested for more opportunities to deepen learning in specific domains based on the profiles of their students. We have responded by creating multiple learning platforms for teachers to share and network across schools, such as in terms of applied training, prototyping projects, special interest workshops, Character and Citizenship Education Champion Networking Sessions, and so forth. These platforms work on a sign-up basis, for educators or PLTs with a strong interest in the given topic. These give our schools greater flexibility in how they customise the curriculum.

I am very heartened by the progress we have made. There has been a steady increase in the number of teachers who have completed milestone courses. This includes the Diploma in Special Education (DISE) to help prepare teachers for a teaching career in SPED, and the Management and Leadership in Schools (MLS) course, which aims to build effective middle leadership.

We have also launched the Advanced Diploma in Special Education, which provides more professional upgrading opportunities for experienced teachers. We have received very positive feedback about the Advanced Diploma. Educators have found it meaningful, enriching and appreciated the research-to-practice approach taken by the course. I strongly encourage SPED schools to nominate more teachers to attend.

We have also provided generous funding in the form of training votes to enhance professional development opportunities enjoyed by our teachers. We know that our schools have made good use of the additional Training Vote, to purchase professional learning resources, conduct training workshops, send teachers for local and overseas conferences and learning journeys and so on.

Charting our teachers’ professional growth is a journey that we are committed to travelling together with our SPED schools and we will continue to source for more and better professional development opportunities.

Future Readiness

This is a very important concern for our parents and SPED educators, and that is: what will my child or student do after they leave school?

We know that some of the students can work with varying degrees of support and when they receive appropriate training and exposure. Other students will require different forms of care after they leave school. To this end, our colleagues at the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) continue to lead in efforts to develop more post-school options for our SPED students.

We want to play an active role in guiding schools in preparing students to be work-ready, and this is why we introduced the Vocational Education Framework in 2010, and facilitated the development of quality vocational education programmes in SPED schools serving our Mild Intellectual Disability (MID) students. These educational programmes lead to national certification in selected industry areas. To date, this particular pathway has enabled 1 in 4 SPED graduates to be successfully employed.

But we did not stop there. We recognise that there are students who may not benefit from the certification programmes, but nevertheless have the potential to work. This is why in April this year, we announced a School-to-Work Transition Programme. This is the result of collaboration among several agencies namely the Ministry of Social and Family Development and SG Enable, as well as SPED schools. We have worked very closely with SG Enable to identify students with the potential to work, and to customise appropriate training pathways to meet their preferences and abilities.

The School-to-Work Transition programme will be prototyped over a 2-year period in five SPED schools, catering to students of different disability profiles. These are:

  • APSN Delta Senior School
  • Grace Orchard School
  • Metta School
  • MINDS Woodlands Gardens School; and
  • Pathlight School

The aim is to offer more training as well as work options for students, particularly those who may not benefit from the existing vocational certification pathways. We want to ensure that every child in the School-to-Work Transition programme is assured of a pathway to employment upon leaving school and provide a ‘bridge’ to transit from school to the world of work. The programme aims to foster strong collaboration between schools and students and their families, and have conversations to develop appropriate post-school Living, Learning and Working goals so that every student can live meaningful and dignified lives after they leave school.

Let us take a closer look at how the S2W programme is taking shape in our schools.

The School-to-Work Transition programme represents a whole-of-government effort to ensure seamless support for our students at a very critical transition point in their lives. Our intention is to scale it up to more SPED schools from 2016, as our prototype matures.

Recognise contributions of SPED teachers and schools

Now, I come to a very important part of today’s proceedings, which is to recognise the contributions of our SPED teachers and schools. Our SPED educators are acknowledged for their passion and dedication in different ways. This year, we were very honoured that President Tony Tan hosted an inaugural tea in honour of our SPED teachers.

Outstanding Special Education Teacher & Innovation Awards

We continue to honour the stellar work of our SPED teachers. I wish to offer my very sincere congratulations to the three Outstanding SPED Teacher Award winners. They embody professional excellence, the spirit of lifelong learning, as well as care for their students with special needs. At the same time, four schools this year will also receive the MOE-NCSS Innovation Award. Well done to all our schools for having discovered new and meaningful ways to address the diverse needs of our students!

2014 MOE Postgraduate Scholarship Awardees

I also wish to offer my heartiest congratulations to the three MOE Postgraduate Scholarship Award recipients who will be furthering their studies in special education, and no doubt bringing back with them a lot of new knowledge and ideas which can be applied to our day-to-day teaching and learning.


Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to express my sincere gratitude towards all who have worked alongside our Special Education Branch in MOE to make today’s conference possible. It requires the continued dedication of VWO leaders, members of the School Management Committees, principals, and all school staff to make events like today’s possible.

Let us take another look at the picture we have assembled over the years. Right in the middle is our SPED journey, and supporting it are our initiatives in terms of improving the affordability, the accessibility, and the quality of special education. We do this to ensure that our students are future-ready, and this is a particularly exciting part of our work.

This picture is still very much a work in progress, and we will work together with all of our SPED schools and educators to keep adding to this picture over the years and to make sure to do whatever we can to ensure that our students are in very good position to lead dignified and fulfilling lives.

We have built a momentum of continuous improvements, and we are committed to sustaining this journey towards excellence. We want to continue to leverage on strong partnerships with our VWOs, families, and community to deliver quality special education, providing hope and opportunities to all our students.

It is my great privilege to stand with all of you united on this front. Let us continue this important work together to embrace new possibilities and future challenges. Thank you.

Three Teachers Awarded MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education

Ministry Of Education Feed - 12 November 2014

Three Special Education (SPED) teachers who demonstrated a commitment to continued professional upgrading received the 2014 MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education from Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State Minister, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education at the biennial SPED Conference on 12 November 2014. They are:

MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education (Local Award)
  • Mdm Tamil Selvi from Grace Orchard School
  • Mrs Yogeswary d/o Muthiah from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School
MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education (Overseas Award)
  • Mr Faizul Bin Dzulkifli from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School

Please refer to Annex A for more details on the recipients.

The provision of the MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education (Overseas and Local Awards) was instituted in 2011. The aim of the scholarship is to provide professional development in postgraduate studies to outstanding graduates in order to contribute to SPED Schools and to the sector.

The MOE Masters Scholarship in SPED is open to all registered SPED Teachers who have served at least three years in SPED schools and are Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents. Applicants must have demonstrated good performance in their work and hold a recognised degree.

Honouring Special Education Teachers and Schools

Ministry Of Education Feed - 12 November 2014

Three teachers and four Special Education (SPED) schools were recognised for their outstanding contributions in the area of education for children with special needs. This was the seventh year that the Ministry of Education-National Council of Social Service (MOE-NCSS) awards were presented. Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information, presented the awards at the biennial SPED Conference on 12 November 2014.

The Outstanding SPED Teacher Award

Three teachers received the MOE-NCSS Outstanding SPED Teacher Award (OSTA) for their passion, commitment and perseverance in providing a well-rounded education for children with special needs. They were:

  • Ms Fanny Ng, APSN Tanglin School
  • Ms Huzaima Binte Hamid, APSN Chaoyang School
  • Ms Salina Binte Ismail, MINDS Lee Kong Chian Gardens School

Please refer to Annex A for more details on the award recipients.

A total of 171 nominations for 103 teachers were received from 12 SPED schools. A selection panel, which included representatives from MOE, NCSS and partners in special education (Annex B), reviewed and assessed the nominations to select the award recipients.

The Innovation Award

In recognition of schools’ innovations to enhance students’ learning, four schools were presented with the MOE-NCSS Innovation Award (IA). The schools were:

  • AWWA School
  • Grace Orchard School
  • Lee Kong Chian Gardens School
  • Pathlight School

Please refer to Annex C for more details on the award recipients.

SPED Conference

The Special Education (SPED) Conference is a biennial event organised specially to gather SPED educators in the 20 government-funded SPED schools and representatives from their Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) as a fraternity for professional development and sharing. It is also an occasion for all SPED educators and community to recognise outstanding contributions of SPED teachers and innovations in the SPED schools as well as keep abreast of new policies and key developments in the SPED sector. For 2014, the SPED Conference will be held at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) Convention Centre on Wednesday, 12 November.

The theme for the 2014 SPED Conference is ‘Staying Rooted, Soaring High’ which reaffirms the important role educators play in laying the foundation and “roots” for quality SPED so that every student can “soar” to his or her greatest potential. SPED educators need to stay rooted to their mission of nurturing students, be focussed on students’ needs and development as well as inspire students to be confident and independent individuals in the 21st Century. Through improving their teaching practices and professionalism as a community, educators deepen their “roots” to uplift the quality of SPED. A SPED community comprising educators, students, parents, key VWO partners and stakeholders working collaboratively to provide a strong network of roots is needed to anchor a nurturing and engaging learning environment for our SPED students to grow and soar.

Through the SPED Conference, participants will have opportunities to explore new knowledge, pedagogies and various perspectives in teaching and learning. The insights gained will help educators be more attuned to the SPED landscape and current needs of the students and make a difference in the lives of SPED students.

Five Special Education Schools Onboard School-To-Work Transition Programme

Ministry Of Education Feed - 12 November 2014

Some 40 students in their graduating year from five Special Education (SPED) schools are participating in the prototype School-to-Work (S2W) transition programme 1 this year to help them bridge the transition from school to the workplace. The five participating SPED schools are Pathlight School, APSN Delta Senior School, Grace Orchard School, Metta School, and MINDS Woodlands Gardens School. Co-developed by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and SG Enable 2, the programme aims to develop more work and training options and pathways to benefit SPED students who have the potential to work.

Under the prototype, schools identify students who have the potential to work and discuss with their parents the appropriate employment or training pathways based on the students’ needs, preferences and abilities.

Individual Transition Plans are prepared to facilitate the students’ school-to-work transition. The students are referred to SG Enable in their final year of school to identify post-school employment or training pathways before they leave school. The students receive customised training to prepare for the job and receive continued support at the workplace through their job coach.

The two-year prototype will continue in 2015 and is expected to be made available to more SPED schools in phases from 2016.

  1. The School-to-Work transition programme was announced by Minister Heng Swee Keat at the Official Opening of Delta Senior School’s New Campus on 15 April 2014.
  2. Set up by MSF in July 2013, SG Enable is an agency dedicated to enabling persons with disabilities and building an inclusive society. It seeks to provide comprehensive support to persons with disabilities across different life stages. For more information, please visit

N.Y. Teacher Challenges State Evaluation System - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 11 November 2014
A Long Island teacher has filed a lawsuit against the New York state education department, charging that the teacher-evaluation system is statistically flawed.
Topic: Teachers

Harvard Launches Initiative to Prepare Seniors to Enter Teaching - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 11 November 2014
Harvard University plans to launch a fellowship program to prepare seniors at the college to become K-12 teachers, giving them more than a year of student-teaching, a lightened courseload, and follow-up supports once they've started to lead their own classrooms.
Topic: Teachers

Study: Close Screening Process Can Improve Teacher Hires - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 11 November 2014
Districts could boost their ability to hire more effective teachers who stay on the job longer by improving their screening techniques, a newly released working paper concludes.
Topic: Teachers

New Orleans Not Liable for Post-Katrina Job Losses - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 11 November 2014
A Louisiana Supreme Court panel has overturned a lower-court class action stemming from the dismissal of teachers after Hurricane Katrina, a decision that for now spares the New Orleans district and the state of Louisiana from having to pay up to $1.5 billion in back pay.
Topic: Teachers

Study: Payoffs Are Small for Short-Term Career Certificates - Education Week

Longer-term certificates and associate degrees yield more of a wage boost than the short-term, occupational certificates that students earn at community colleges.

Perceived Threat to Net Neutrality Sparks Furor - Education Week

The Federal Communications Commission, weighing new rules, received a flood of responses from educators and educational technology companies urging the agency to preserve the open Internet for schools.

Study: Payoffs Are Small for Short-Term Career Certificates - Education Week

Longer-term certificates and associate degrees yield more of a wage boost than the short-term, occupational certificates that students earn at community colleges.

Harvard Launches Initiative to Prepare Seniors to Enter Teaching - Education Week

Harvard University plans to launch a fellowship program to prepare seniors at the college to become K-12 teachers, giving them more than a year of student-teaching, a lightened courseload, and follow-up supports once they've started to lead their own classrooms.
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