Published on 02 Jan 2024

Singapore’s Education Minister Outlines 2024 Priorities: Evolution, Redefinition, and Improvement

In a bold press conference, Singapore’s Education Minister, Chan Chun Sing, underscored the necessity for continuous innovation in the education sector, despite Singaporean students’ exemplary performance in international studies. The call for evolution comes on the heels of significant changes, such as the cessation of mid-year exams and the progressive elimination of academic labels, such as Express and Normal streams.

Staying Ahead of Challenges

Chan Chun Sing enumerated three key priorities for 2024. The first among these is the imperative to avoid complacency and stay ahead of potential challenges. The minister drew a parallel with the downfall of once thriving businesses like Xerox, attributing their collapse to a failure in anticipating and adapting to change.

Redefining Success in Education

Second, the minister emphasized the need to redefine success in education. He proposed a shift in focus from students’ scores to their ability to thrive independently in the long term. Highlighting the significance of lifelong learning, he announced that the upcoming budget would unveil more support for adult learners. This includes financial resources, guidance on time management, and assistance with upskilling.

A Coordinated Approach in Special Education

Third, Chan Chun Sing underlined the necessity for a more coordinated approach in special education (Sped) schools. Acknowledging the complexity of special-needs education, he stressed the need for a clear career progression pathway for educators in this field. To address these needs, he announced that additional funding for Sped schools would be provided from 2024. This funding aims to increase teacher salaries and offer more professional development opportunities for key staff and leaders, in an effort to attract and retain talent, and optimize the special education system in the country.

In a related development, the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore has established the Science of Learning in Education Centre (SoLEC). The new center aims to make research more relevant and useful by bridging the research-policy-practice gap through a bi-directional multidisciplinary approach. This initiative signifies Singapore’s commitment to integrating the Science of Learning and Education in meaningful research endeavors, further strengthening its position at the forefront of global education.

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