Report of the Junior College/Uppcr Secondary Education Review Committee, 2002

This report of98 numbered pages (MOE, 2002) consists of: Aaddress to Radm Teo Chee Hean Minister for Education by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, chairman of the review committee; Address to Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry’ and Education, and Chairman, Junior College/Upper Secondary Education Review Committee; Executive summary’; Chapter 1 - Introduction; Chapter 2 - Evolving the junior college/upper secondary’ education system; Chapter 3 - A broader and more flexible JC curriculum; Chapter 4 - A more diverse junior college/upper secondary education landscape; Annexes.

The 2002 report developed a revised junior college curriculum framework and set out a vision for the JC/upper secondary' education system, including the appropriate structures, ty'pes of programmes to be offered, and the mix of schools to deliver the programmes. Their recommendations have two main thrusts. First, to introduce a revised JC curriculum to better develop students’ thinking skills and engage them in greater breadth of learning. The revised curriculum should also provide the flexibility' to take subjects at different levels, and provide space for students with exceptional aptitude and passion for a subject to pursue it to greater depth beyond the regular curriculum. Second, they proposed to free up the system to allow for new pathways in education. It was argued that Singapore will need more diverse talents in future, nurtured and trained along different routes. This can be enabled by allowing integrated programmes that combine upper secondary' and JC education seamlessly; specialised schools for special talents in the arts, sports and mathematics and science; alternative, internationally-recognised curricula; and a few privately run schools. These new programmes will provide a

Policy reports and speeches 191 valuable complement to the continuing innovation within the mainstream of the JC/upper secondary system (n.p.).

The Committee drew insights from visits and study of school systems in United Kingdom and United States, and top schools in Hong Kong and China (p. i).

Report of the Polytechnic-School Review Committee, 2006

This report of 45 numbered pages (MOE, 2006) consists of: Address to Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, by the chairman of the review committee, Mr Gan Kim Yong; Address to Mr Gan Kim Yong Minister of State for Manpower and Education and Chairman of the Polytechnic-School Review Committee; Executive Summary; Chapter 1 - Introduction; Chapter 2 - Enriching our secondary’ school curriculum through advanced elective modules; Chapter 3 - Enriching our secondary school curriculum through applied graded subjects; Chapter 4 - Direct polytechnic admission exercise; Chapter 5 - Implementation; Annexes.

The Committee explored ways to enhance the learning experience of secondary' school students through a more applied approach. There are three main thrusts to their recommendations. First, they propose greater curriculum flexibility and choice for students by introducing more applied modules as an enrichment to the upper secondary’ curriculum. Second, they' will introduce more applied subjects that can replace existing ‘O’ Level subjects. Third, they want to recognise student achievements and talent beyond the academic areas and broaden measures of success. To do so, they propose to introduce a Direct Polytechnic Admissions (DPA) exercise similar to the Direct School Admission system available for entry' to secondary' schools and junior colleges (n.p.). The study' drew insights from visits and study of school systems in Sweden, Switzerland, France and the United States (p. 8).

Annex B: Terms of reference (p. 25)

The terms of reference for the Polytechnic-School Review Committee are:

a To study the value and feasibility' of putting in place a new applied and practice-oriented pathway in secondary' education catering to the needs of the students with appropriate interest and ability.

b In the context of (a), to consider the feasibility of the following two options:

i Offering relevant applied and practice-oriented subjects and elective modules, mounted in the secondary' schools or the polytechnics, to enrich the secondary' school curriculum; and

ii Establishing a closer link between selected secondary' schools and polytechnics so that students with suitable abilities can progress to these polytechnics without having to sit for the GCE ‘O’ level examinations.

iii To study other local and foreign models that can contribute to an applied and practice-oriented pathway' in secondary' education, and provide a value proposition for secondary' students to opt for a polytechnic education, which will better engage our students and offer them more choices.

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