Thursday, 23 Sep 2021

Lighter exam load for national and year-end school exams to help ease stress: Chan Chun Sing

SINGAPORE – Students taking the O-, N- and A-level examinations this year will not be tested on some topics covered towards the end of the syllabus, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Tuesday (July 27).

All other students will also have the scope of their year-end exams reduced – to relieve some pressure.

Mr Chan said his ministry is especially concerned for the graduating cohorts due to the greater-than-expected disruptions to schooling caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The more infectious variant has led to a jump in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent months.

“While these topics – common last topics – would have already been taught in schools, removing them from the national examinations would help to relieve the revision load and exam stress for our students,” he said in a ministerial statement to Parliament on the River Valley High School killing.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) had announced last month that the common last topics would be removed from this year’s Primary School Leaving Examination. Last year, common last topics were also removed from the national exams due to the pandemic.

For example, co-curricular activities (CCAs) for secondary school and pre-university students will be resumed within the next few weeks as more complete their Covid-19 vaccinations.

Mr Chan said: “We are currently putting our plans together on how CCA can be conducted safely within national safe management measures.”

He added that activities like CCAs, National School Games, cohort camps and learning journeys that have had to be suspended due to Covid-19 are avenues for young people to build bonds and grow emotionally.

MOE also intends to increase the number of teacher counsellors deployed in schools from over 700 to more than 1,000 in the next few years.

Teacher counsellors are teachers who have been given additional counselling training.

He added that while all schools now have at least one counsellor, MOE plans to recruit more or re-role suitable educators to be counsellors.

He said all teachers will also receive more training on mental health literacy to help them identify and support students in need.

With immediate effect, there will also be dedicated time at the start of every school term to check on the well-being of students.

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