Student Care Centres (SCCs), or after school care centres, provide students with a convenient, structured and supportive environment after school.
The majority of SCCs are sited within the community, but as many parents have given positive feedback on school-based SCCs, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has steadily expanded the number and capacity of school-based SCCs to complement the community-based SCCs. In fact I have visited a few SCCs, spoken to parents and students, and I appreciate the value that these centres bring to students.
From less than 50 school-based SCCs in 2011, I announced at this year’s Committee of Supply Debate that we would expand the number of school-based SCCs by a further 40, to 120 by 2015, and had shared the names of the 21 schools that would be setting up their school-based SCCs by end-2014. We are on target to set up an additional 19 school-based SCCs by end-2015. We will announce details of where these centres are in due course and will update later on our plans for 2016.
Our approach is to assess localised needs and we actively support primary schools with demand for student care services to set up or expand school-based SCCs, taking into account infrastructure and demand in school.
With regards to Mr Liang Eng Hwa’s question on encouraging more VWOs to set up SCCs, MOE will work with MSF on this. MOE understands that there is demand for SCC services, and will continue to work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and SCC operators to increase the number of SCC places both in our primary schools and in the community. At the same time, MOE and MSF are mindful that any expansion must be done at a pace that allows us to maintain quality and affordability.
ITE has strong links with industry players, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These partnerships have helped ensure that course curricula stay relevant, and students have access to good opportunities for industry attachments and exposure.
Currently, SMEs make up more than 60% (or almost 600) of ITE’s host companies for internships and traineeships, and host almost 40% of ITE students for their industrial attachments.
Following the government’s acceptance of the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) recommendations, MOE and WDA have been working together on new place-and-train programmes for our polytechnic and ITE graduates that integrate study and work, to be launched by 2016 as earlier announced. This is being done in partnership with many economic and regulatory agencies, including SPRING Singapore.
Where feasible, we will leverage on existing schemes and funding support for employers to implement these place-and-train programmes, including SPRING Singapore’s SME Talent Programme.
Schools conduct enrichment activities to broaden the school’s curriculum according to the different needs and interests of their students. The type and frequency of enrichment activities may vary according to the students’ needs. For example, schools may offer enrichment activities in the areas of self-management and social skills, sports and fitness, aesthetics and enterprise. These activities help to develop 21st century competencies in our students such as communication, leadership and collaborative skills.
Schools engage vendors to conduct some of these workshops when there is value in tapping on the external expertise of those with requisite professional training or relevant life experiences, to complement the teachers’ role. For instance, to promote an active lifestyle and a love of sports in students, external trained personnel are engaged to conduct enrichment programmes aimed at exposing students to specialised sports such as roller blading and kayaking. MOE provides schools with guidelines to assess the suitability of external vendors and the basket of criteria include their ability to deliver the programme objectives, and their qualifications and experience. Schools may subsequently have the teachers conduct the enrichment programmes and workshops when they have built their own expertise in the defined area.
Students’ feedback is sought on vendor-run enrichment programmes and workshops, usually through evaluation forms filled in by students. Teachers also conduct a review and reflection session with the students. Students’ feedback and comments enable the school to evaluate the effectiveness of the enrichment programme and consider whether to engage the vendor for future programmes.
MOE will continue to work with schools to ensure that school programmes, including those run by vendors, remain relevant to the needs of our students.
More Secondary Schools offering Integrated Programme or International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
There are currently no plans to increase the number of secondary schools offering the Integrated Programme (IP) or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).
MOE introduced the IP in 2004 as a different model to deliver the 6-years of Secondary and Junior College (JC) education for academically-strong students to expose them to a broad range of learning experiences that are appropriate for their development. We found that these students benefited from this approach. In 2010, we announced the expansion of the IP to seven more secondary schools 1, bringing the total number of schools offering the IP to 18. As students offering the IP in these recently announced schools have not reached the JC level yet, we will take stock of the eventual outcomes for these students before considering further expansion.
We have also been diversifying the secondary school options available to our students. This included setting up specialised schools for Mathematics and Science, Arts, Sports, Applied Learning and Technology, etc., as well as introducing a wider variety of distinctive programmes in each secondary school. These efforts allow us to cater better to the wide ranging aptitudes or interests of our students.
Our ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level programmes are rigorous and offer a good balance of depth and breadth. These national curricula are thoughtfully designed for our students. Nevertheless, as part of the effort to provide diversity, we have a few schools offering the IBDP 2.
MOE will continue to monitor trends and developments, and make adjustments to our secondary school landscape along the way as necessary. We will ensure that there continues to be a good mix of programmes across our schools so that we are able to cater to the different learning needs of our students, with the aim of bringing out the best in every child.Footnote
- The 7 secondary schools are Victoria School (VS), Cedar Girls’ Secondary School (CGSS), Methodist Girls’ School (MGS), Catholic High School (CHS), CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School (SNGS), Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (SCGS), and St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI). ↩
- The government-funded schools offering the IBDP are Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)), School Of The Arts (SOTA), St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI), and Singapore Sports School (SSP). IBDP is also offered in Privately-Funded Schools: Anglo-Chinese School (International), Hwa Chong International School, and St. Joseph’s Institution (International). ↩
MOE recognises that an overseas experience presents rich learning for students. Such an experience helps students develop confidence, independence and responsibility through immersion in a different environment and interaction with people of diverse backgrounds. It broadens the students’ world view, and helps them to be at ease in a different cultural setting.
On average, about 100,000 students participated annually in various types of overseas learning journeys. These overseas learning journeys help to meet various objectives such as cultural enrichment, curriculum exposure, CCA-related competitions, performances and service learning projects and student immersion programmes.
MOE provides schools with sufficient funding to enable all students to have at least one overseas experience, during either primary, secondary or JC years. In planning such overseas trips, schools would seek to extend such overseas learning opportunities across the student population; in particular, schools would take note of students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to travel to participate in these trips.