More pupils qualify for Express course under new PSLE scoring system, 98.4% progress to secondary school (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - After nearly 50 years, the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) T-score, or transformed score, came to an end with more pupils making the cut for the Express course under a new scoring system.

The class of 2021 also saw 98.4 per cent of pupils doing well enough to progress to secondary school."


Primary 6 pupil tested positive for Covid-19 minutes before her PSLE paper (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Primary 6 pupil Jennifer Muturaman was sent home after a positive Covid-19 antigen rapid test just minutes before she was about to sit the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in October.

The Damai Primary School pupil, who was about to take the Malay language paper, took the Covid-19 test in school that morning as she had come into contact with a classmate who had the virus."


New PSLE scoring system sees more pupils qualifying to take secondary school subjects at higher level (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - More pupils eligible for the Normal courses in secondary schools can take subjects at a more demanding level following the roll-out of the new Achievement Level (AL) scoring system.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that about 65 per cent of pupils who qualified for the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses this year can take at least one subject at a more demanding level in secondary school."


98.8% of madrasah students who took PSLE qualify for secondary school (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - All but four of the 352 madrasah pupils who sat the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) this year have qualified for secondary school, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said on Wednesday (Nov 24).

It is a 0.3 percentage point improvement over last year's result involving pupils enrolled in madrasahs, or Islamic religious schools here."


Ngee Ann Kongsi donates $1m to support needy ITE students with their daily necessities (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Underprivileged students at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will receive more financial help through a $1 million donation, Ngee Ann Kongsi (NAK) announced on Tuesday (Nov 23).

The sum will be distributed over the next five years, starting from 2022, and will benefit about 222 students each year, ITE said."


Four teachers recognised for excellence in early childhood, special needs education (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Ms Sulochanah Kanapathy's pupil was already four years old but he could not say a word.

But Ms Sulochanah, 47, was determined to help, and taught the child with special needs to speak his first words."


Removal of T-score may help, but parents still hold key to reducing PSLE stress (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - The decades-old T-score, long seen as the bane of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), has finally been abolished, replaced with a new scoring system that is meant to help take some pressure off children.

This year's Primary 6 cohort was the first to receive the PSLE results in a new format. Unlike in previous years, the score given to each pupil is based on how well he has done in the subject, shorn of the feature of the T-score in which how others fare is also taken into account."


S'pore to launch manufacturing training programmes in new fields like industrial sustainability (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Workers in the manufacturing industry will be trained in new fields such as industrial sustainability in the coming months, said Minister of State for Education Gan Siow Huang on Wednesday (Nov 24).

Eight new programmes will be launched by the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), with guidance from the Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy, she said."


NUS graduates ranked ninth most employable in global survey (24 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Graduates from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are the ninth-most employable, according to the Global Employability University Ranking and Survey that was released on Wednesday (Nov 24).

In the latest ranking, which is compiled annually by French human resource consultancy Emerging and published by Times Higher Education, NUS maintained its position at ninth spot - the only Singapore university in the top 10 and one of two from Asia, with the University of Tokyo in sixth place."


PCF to set up home learning website for its pre-schoolers' parents by 2023 (26 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Come 2023, parents with children in PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots pre-schools will have access to an online portal with resources to help them support their children's learning.

In a release on Friday (Nov 26), PCF said it will be launching the Home Learning Portal, for the parents to complement teaching and learning in schools."


NTU pays tribute to Koh Boon Hwee, Singapore's longest-serving university chairman (26 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) paid tribute to its longest-serving chairman Koh Boon Hwee on Friday evening (Nov 26), against a backdrop of sharks, manta rays and other fish.

The event, held at Ocean Restaurant in Sentosa which has a glass wall facing an aquarium, was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat."


Year-end school holidays: Ideas to entertain your kids at home (28 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Looking to entertain your kids at home during the school holidays? Experts and parents share four tried-and tested activities.

Let's cook

The best family meals are the ones in which kids get involved in the process. It brings food and playtime together, says Mr Irvin Tan, 39, a father to two boys aged four and six as well as a one-year-old girl. "This usually means they'll polish off their plates. And that makes us happy too."


Fun With Kids: Free online coding classes, food stories and recipes, festive fun at the malls (28 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Make family time all the more special with these ideas and activities.

Join: Free online coding classes by Apple

If you have an iPad or Mac, sign up for not one but three free virtual coding classes with your children."


Pop-it toys are hot, but here's how to make your own sensory play kit at home for free (28 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Pop-its are all the rage this year. Available in all manner of shapes, sizes and colours, the silicone sensory toys have grabbed the attention of children worldwide, who find it calming to pop them like bubble wrap.

The toy trend has brought the focus back to sensory play. This is an important way for youngsters to explore and learn and is especially useful during the pandemic when parents are hard-pressed to find non-screen alternatives."


MOE tracking progress of vulnerable students in its Uplift schemes: Maliki Osman (30 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Secondary 2 student Reuben Wong used to shout at his classmates during group activities as he struggled to manage his emotions.

"When they don't cooperate or do their part I would be angry," he said."


MOE to hire 130 student welfare officers by end of 2022 to help at-risk children (30 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE - The Education Ministry (MOE) is on track to have 130 student welfare officers for primary and secondary schools by the end of 2022.

Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman gave this update during an interview on Monday (Nov 29), where he spoke about his ministry's efforts to support at-risk students."


Singaporean students organise youth summit to discuss global issues (1 December 2021)

"SINGAPORE - In March, student Shyna Zhuoying Gunalan launched the Singapore chapter of global activist organisation Dear Asian Youth. Now, barely 10 months later, she and the 15 other members are hosting a summit to discuss global issues like disease outbreaks and refugee crises.

Close to 100 students from Singapore and countries like Thailand and the United States are attending the inaugural online Global Youth Leaders Summit."


13 people with disabilities win Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards for their achievements (3 December 2021)

"SINGAPORE - At 26, Mr Kishon Chong was living out his dreams as a chef with Singapore hospitality chain The Lo and Behold Group, which owns popular restaurants such as Tanjong Beach Club, The Loof and OverEasy.

But like the flip of a switch, and without warning, Mr Chong's world came crashing down in 2018."


Building an ALP in Environmental Science from the ground up (1 November 2021)

"Damai Secondary School’s Applied Learning Programme (ALP) in Environmental Science may only be two years in the running, but there’s already a lot going on for the students. ALP coordinators Mr Justin Thong and Ms Goh Ai Lian share lessons gleaned from designing the school’s ALP, and what it takes to get older students thinking about sustainability.

Pay a visit to Damai Secondary and you may find students engrossed in building their own water distiller out of a few beakers and a tube of aluminium foil. Or they may be drawing up plans for a recycled paper parachute that would protect an egg falling from height. Or making artworks with used wooden pallets and yarn to spread the word about environmental sustainability.

All these are part of Damai Secondary’s Environmental Science Applied Learning Programme (ALP), where students engage in a series of hands-on design challenges and apply their science knowledge and design thinking principles to tackle topics ranging from climate change to water treatment and food waste.

It may look to outsiders that environmental sustainability has been an established part of school life, but the ALP is actually only two years “old”. It was started from ground zero when Damai Secondary adopted the theme of Sustainability for their ALP in 2020.

We speak to ALP coordinators Mr Justin Thong and Ms Goh Ai Lian from Damai Secondary School to hear what goes on behind building up this programme, and what they learnt from this 2-year journey."


Fresh ideas for sustainability (1 November 2021)

"With the Singapore Green Plan and the launch of the Eco Stewardship programme in schools, environmental sustainability will be a key focus for many years to come. Here’s a peek at how teachers make the message fun and relevant for students.

Whether it is in Science class, Values-in-Action projects, school events or CCA, students in Singapore schools have many opportunities to engage in a variety of environmental issues. With the launch of the Eco Stewardship Programme in March 2021, we will see a greater focus on such programmes to encourage students to practise eco-friendly habits.

Here, three primary schools share about their recent Climate Action Week activities in July and show the possibilities when it comes to environmental education.

Going on an adventure in our backyard

For Climate Action Week, the Primary 5 students of Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School took to the school grounds for their Science lessons. Their challenge? To spot and identify as many wildlife species as they could within the time given.

The HOD for Science, Mr Soo Gham Seng, says, “Many students may not know about the biodiversity we have in Singapore. We want them to be aware of the wildlife that is in their midst and awaken their love for nature. This way, they will better understand why it is so important that we take care of the environment.”

With a set of trusty binoculars, and a field guide on common birds and insects in Singapore, the students explored all parts of the school and recorded their findings – as scientists do. The students also learnt to make use of their other senses to observe their surroundings, for example, trying to recognise bird calls."


Growing up green at Dazhong Primary (1 November 2021)

"Climate change can be daunting, but the students at Dazhong Primary School learn that there is a solution for every problem in the school’s environmental science Applied Learning Programme. Their teacher shares how students learn to play their part and take action for the environment in and out of ALP lessons.

In Dazhong Primary, environmental sustainability is more than just an Applied Learning Programme (ALP). Respecting nature and conserving the Earth’s limited resources are themes that appear in all subjects, and students come up with their own solutions to environmental problems both in and out of the classroom.

We speak to Mr Caleb Leong, Head of Department for Science, who also oversees Dazhong Primary’s Green Makers ALP programme to find out how this is achieved.

Who are the Green Makers?

We know that climate change is going to be one of the main challenges of our generation, and it is important to equip children with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills and knowledge to tackle it. That’s why our ALP combines the theme of sustainability with the Maker approach, for all students to not just be aware of the environmental challenges in Singapore, but also to take action by coming up with green solutions and advocating for others to do likewise.

Thus, Green Makers was envisioned. With the 3As (Awareness, Action and Advocacy), we hope to empower our students to live out our school values."


Necessity, the Mother (Tongue) of Innovation (1 November 2021)

"In Mr G. Murugan’s Tamil Language class, students have their teacher’s blessings to create TikTok videos—but only for school, of course.

These videos were for Bendemeer Secondary School’s Tamil Language TikTok competition, just one of the diverse teaching and learning strategies that Mother Tongue Language (MTL) teachers are experimenting with to cater to students who may struggle to see Mother Tongue’s relevance in their lives; their teaching of Mother Tongue is not just to prepare students for exams, but rather to cultivate a lifelong interest in the language.

Tamil Language teachers in Bendemeer Secondary use Flipgrid, a site where students film themselves to participate in discussions. This in turn strengthens the students’ oracy skills. Flipgrid looks and works like a social media site, making online learning more engaging for the social media natives."


Room for a pause and a detour (4 November 2021)

"Could curved lines take us through a more rewarding journey in life? In the first of a two-part series on the shaping of Singapore’s applied education pathways, Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman talks about the paths less trodden, and offers glimpses into what lies ahead for polytechnic education. Hint: More options for a diversity of learners and broader definitions of success.

[Note: Part 2 covers the new ITE curricular structure]

There are no straight lines in nature, Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi once said, and it is quite true if you think about it. When plants grow, they bend with the sun and wind, and mountains don’t rise up as straight columns.

Straight lines are efficient. If we want to get from point A to Z in the shortest time, we draw a straight line between the two points. But most of the time, we may have to make some turns to get to our destination, especially if we want to go with the flow of nature; we need to accept that this will come with curves, pauses and detours. This may take a longer time, but the journey could be more fulfilling and enriching.

Polytechnic pathways may no longer be linear

My colleagues and I at the Ministry of Education (MOE) have been looking deeper into how we can enhance the education pathways for our polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students. In Singapore, about seven in 10 students in each age cohort attend a polytechnic or ITE, so the improvements we make will have a significant impact.

We talk about equipping them with knowledge and skills for employment in the immediate future while preparing them for the long haul too. The former is a fairly straight line with clear objectives; the latter is less so but equally important."


Four good reasons to persevere (5 November 2021)

"Working part-time selling drinks may have sidetracked his educational path but the young man stuck to his vision of furthering his education. That young man was Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman, who is glad he persevered in order to fulfil his ambitions. In the second of a two-part series on the shaping of Singapore’s applied education pathways, he encourages students to take advantage of the recent enhancements to the ITE curricular structure, which allows for a faster track to in-demand qualifications, amplified work attachments, and greater employability.

When I was young, money had always been tight in my family, so during my pre-university days, I would spend my weekends selling drinks at the Singapore Turf Club to help with the household expenses.

I thought I was coping quite well in my studies, but when the A-level results were released, I learned that I didn’t do well enough for the university programme I had set my heart on. I was disappointed of course, as I knew I could do better. Was it because my focus was divided between school and work? I couldn’t say for sure, but it didn’t change the fact that I was standing at a crossroads: “Should I accept the course that I was assigned, or repeat a whole year of my A-levels again? Do I want to sell drinks for one more year?” By then, I had also already enlisted for National Service (NS).

This was just one of the memorable checkpoints on my academic journey. I knew I could do better at my exams and after much thought, I decided to sit for my A levels again as a private candidate. What followed were many nights preparing for my examinations while doing my NS training in the day. It was really tough, so tough that I came down with a serious chest infection leading up to the exam season. But the sacrifices paid off; I achieved better results!

I recall that the first thing my father asked me when I registered for university was how much it would cost. He was worried he could not afford the fees and additional expenses. I told him not to worry – I would give private tuition to fund my expenses through my university years and not be a burden to my parents.

Was the hard work and trouble worth it? I say 100% yes. I appreciated the training of the mind and the professional opportunities that my education availed to me. There was also the satisfaction of pursuing the social work course I wanted and accomplishing my dreams."


What does the kampung spirit look like to a child today? (11 November 2021)

"There are no zinc roofs nor wide open doors, but the neighbourly ways and caring spirit of kampung folk still exist for our children today, albeit through more structured forms of support.

Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman puts forth that the kampung spirit is alive and well in Singapore, via initiatives such as the Ministry of Education’s UPLIFT. The multi-agency taskforce brings schools and community partners together to actively support students and their families who need a helping hand to get back on their feet.

Not so long ago, if you told children that only two kampungs remain in Singapore (in Buangkok and on Pulau Ubin), they might be excited and want to pay a visit. These days, especially with COVID-19 causing us to stay home, they may ask you to show them photographs online instead.

I spent the first seven years of my life in a kampung, and all the stories are true: Our doors were never closed, everyone knew everyone, and if a child fell down, everyone came to his aid. Weddings were truly fun times when all the neighbours would gather and prepare scrumptious meals together. Help is always just a door away.

The traditional kampung is a thing of the past, but I believe the kampung spirit is very much alive in Singapore; our hearts continue to be open to those in need, just not in ways we were familiar with.

Looking into our children’s after-school needs

As we go about our busy lives, we may miss noticing the children who slip through the cracks. They may be skipping meals, even skipping school. Their homes may not be conducive for personal growth and learning. Or they may be left alone at home as their parents work night shifts."


Strawberries? Not quite (15 November 2021)

"Says Mdm Rasidah Bte Rahim, Principal of Queenstown Secondary School, about the youths of today. Here, she talks about the pressures they face and how schools and parents can support them.

Why are the youths of today so fragile? Why are they stressed, anxious…? Our life wasn’t easy, but we just got on with it, didn’t we?

Sound familiar? Once upon a time, I may have agreed, but not anymore. As a teacher and a Principal, I interact with young people every day and I see how they live in a very different world from the one we grew up in – and the pressures that come with it.

A different generation

On the surface, the lives of students today sound similar to ours. They study, take up sports and hang out with their friends - if anything, they seem to have it easier, with many luxuries that we never dreamed of growing up.

But beyond the superficial similarity is a sea-change that has taken place. The environment they inhabit is a lot more complex compared to the one we had as children. Youths today are constantly plugged in and being bombarded by information from around the world. Social media exposes them to many influences, and not all of these are positive.

In the virtual world ruled by ‘likes’ and ‘followers’, there is pressure to live up to certain expectations – in the way you dress, the things you do, the people you hang out with. They are constantly seeing streams of happy photos and beautiful people, but these may not be a good representation of what daily life is like for most people. This can take a toll on impressionable young minds.

There is also the trolling on social media, and negative comments that get amplified. With so much social interaction happening online, youths are constantly being exposed to thousands of voices and opinions.

These pressures can bring on harmful coping strategies, like self-harm.

I look back to our young days and think how sheltered we were compared to youths today."


Helping kids feel good about themselves (15 November 2021)

"How do you get students to move away from judging themselves based on their grades, and build up their self-worth? The Principal and teachers in Queenstown Secondary share how a caring school culture that values effort and growth may be the answer.

Term 4 is often a hectic time for students in Singapore as they hunker down to hit the books and prepare for their upcoming examinations. But at Queenstown Secondary School, students are heading outdoors to clock up some miles for the school’s annual cross-country race. Due to COVID, they are running on their own, or with a few classmates.

Strange decision given that exams are around the corner? Not at all. In fact, the timing of the event was deliberate, says Mdm Rasidah Bte Rahim, Principal of Queenstown Secondary School. “We tell students, go for a run, or just a walk outside. The message is that they need to set aside time to relax. Physical activity is important to our mental and physical well-being, and we should not neglect it - even during the exams!”

What was heartening to Mdm Rasidah was the enthusiastic response to the event from both students and teachers.

Sec 5 student Marcus Teh shared, “As we exercised together, we had the opportunity to talk about our problems, chitchat with each other and laugh together. It kept us motivated.”

This positive response is the result of an ongoing school-wide endeavour to help students look beyond grades and build self-worth and resilience."


Let’s talk about mental health (15 November 2021)

"Is mental health for students just about exam stress? No, there’s a lot more, says two Specialised Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) teachers from Deyi Secondary. Here’s how schools are helping students take charge of their mental wellbeing under the revised CCE curriculum.

“Yes ’cher, my mum always tells me that if you think studying is stressful, wait till you are older and things get harder,” says a Secondary 1 boy in Mr Daniel Pflug’s Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) class in Deyi Secondary School. Mr Pflug is a Specialised CCE teacher, who is trained to role model and support other teachers in facilitating complex topics in the classroom.

Several other students nod in agreement. Another quips, “Yes they always say everyone goes through it, just tahan lah!”

“So how does that make you feel?” asks Mr Pflug.

The first boy shrugs and says, “It’s a bit hurtful. As if my feelings are not important. But it’s okay, I will just stop talking about it.”

“Would you say the same thing to a friend who is going through a difficult time? What do you think will be a kinder way to respond to someone in that situation?” prompts Mr Pflug.

And so the ideas flow as the students discuss mental health and learn about how they can support one another with empathy.

Students are given time to discuss and role-play how they would encourage a friend who is facing stress. There is some laughter and light moments as students enact situations, but there are also a lot of helpful suggestions on what their classmates should, or should not say to someone who’s feeling down."


No Shying Away From Tough Topics (16 November 2021)

"Contemporary topics such as online safety are covered in MOE’s refreshed Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum for secondary schools, which tackles some of the tough issues facing teens today. Specialised CCE Teachers (SCTs) are trained to support and be a role model for other teachers in facilitating complex discussions during CCE lessons and guiding students towards respectful discourse and sound decision-making.

Schoolbag sits in on one such lesson where students and their CCE teacher held lively discussions about chatting with online strangers, scams and some hairy moments they have faced online.

Some of the texts are provocative -- “I scared if I say the wrong things then your parents see”, or “Wish I could hug you to sleep…” – which sets off more chatter. Serangoon Secondary School form teacher Michael Francis Chow waits for the giggles and murmurs to die down before asking, his voice without judgement:

“What do you think could be the consequences of such texting?” One student suggests, “They could become friends with benefits!” Thanks to the Internet, the students, 13 and 14 years old, know more than we think, and are exposed to far more than the generations of teens before them.

It is shifts like this that prompted a review of the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum which started a few years ago, leading up to a major update to the secondary school syllabus this year. Updates to the primary school syllabus will follow. Serangoon Secondary’s Head of Department for CCE, Mrs Faith Wong, points out that some topics in CCE have been refreshed across levels to ensure that learning is more relevant to students."


Two Passions, One Mission (18 November 2021)

"From caring for her sister to creating a caring society, Charmaine Ong, a Year 2 Business Student at NTU is combining her interest in business analytics with her passion for social work.

Caring for a loved one living with a mental health issue can be challenging. However, for 21-year old Charmaine Ong Chen Hui, it gave her purpose, clarity and has led to her wanting to improve the lives of others in similar situations.

When her sister was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a few years ago, Charmaine took on caregiving duties at home. Their mother was working full-time, and their father worked overseas.

Back then, Charmaine was pursuing a Diploma in Business Administration at Singapore Polytechnic (SP). She had to balance the rigours of her studies along with the constant worry for her sister’s well-being.

Solidifying personal and career goals

Charmaine says that she has always wanted to help and do more for others. “It is hard to explain the feeling, but it makes me happy to see others happy,” she says.

Having a keen interest in Mathematics and problem solving since young, Charmaine decided to pursue a degree in Business, with an intention to specialise in Operations. Now a Year 2 Business student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), she hopes to combine her interest in business analytics – which she developed in her polytechnic days, with her innate passion for helping others."


PSLE: Parents, this is how you ace results day (18 November 2021)

"Your kids may be the ones picking up their PSLE results at the end of November, but it is how you react as a parent that will have the biggest impact on them. Tee Hun Ching, whose son sat the PSLE two years ago, shares four ways for parents to shine on results day.

1. Hope for the best, make a Plan B

Much of the anxiety that plagues parents stems from uncertainty – uncertainty about what the future holds for their kids if they don’t clear a milestone with headroom to spare. One way to deal with this is to plan for all outcomes and explore the various options available. So even if things don’t pan out as hoped, you have back-up plans that can support your child’s learning needs and development. Know that there are always alternative routes.

For instance, my husband and I shortlisted a secondary school that was piloting the full subject-based banding system as a Plan B for our son. This assured us that should he not qualify for the Express stream, he could still be stretched in the subjects he was strong in and get help for those he was weaker in."


Let students’ curiosity fuel their learning (19 November 2021)

"A look at how Yusof Ishak Secondary School provides daily opportunities for students to discover science concepts and extend that curiosity to other subjects and the world beyond.

How often do we see science experiments wheeled around the school on mobile carts, where students can explore and tinker to their hearts’ content?

At Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YISS) that is just one of the unique methods used to expose students to the wonderous world of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In 2022, the school will have a new campus to expand on their ideas, as they welcome a new batch of Secondary 1 students.

Sparking students’ curiosity in STEM

YISS teachers came up with the idea of “experiment arcades”, which are mobile booths containing small-scale science experiments. The idea was mooted by Mr Donavan Lau, the school’s Lead Teacher in Physics, and today the programme is known as ‘Experiment Excites’. Mr Lau says, “We want to challenge conventional thinking that science can only be learnt in classrooms or labs, because it can take place anywhere.”

These experiments are extensions of topics taught in class, such as electricity in Physics or the diversity of matter in Lower Secondary Science. For example, in an activity involving water quality, data loggers are placed in the carts for students to take measurements from water samples collected from all around the school compound before bringing their results back to class for discussions."


PSLE Results: This is what a 14-year-old has to say (21 November 2021)

"With the buzz around the upcoming release of the PSLE results, mum and writer Eveline Gan decides to interview her daughter, who sat for the exam two years ago, for a student’s perspective. Here, she shares her 14-year-old’s take on what matters and what doesn’t. Plus, her own thoughts.

Witnessing my elder daughter take her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and receive her results was my rite of passage as a Singaporean mum.

I can still remember the results day jitters in 2019 well. This was pre-Covid, but that year had been a difficult one as my daughter had been hospitalised multiple times for infections. Being in poor health for almost half a year, she had struggled to cope with her studies.

Two years on, how does she remember that experience? Are there takeaways for students receiving their results soon? Plus, any tips for mum to make better parenting decisions when her next major exam comes around? I sat down for a chat with J.

Mum: What did you learn from your PSLE year?

J: As I missed many months of lessons that year, I barely passed my mid-year examinations and got the lowest grades in class. I remember panicking but thankfully, my teachers helped me a lot. Slowly, I caught up with my school work. I learnt from that incident that you can always pick yourself up even if you are the slowest or the last. Another important thing I learnt is that health is more important than grades. Anyway, when you are not well, you cannot give your all and your best."


Growing a love for our mother tongue (22 November 2021)

"Growing up, my family spoke Malay at home and it continues to be the language of family and familiarity for me today.

From my student years, however, all the way to when I was a PhD student and started work as a social worker, the operating language was English, as well as any language that allowed me to connect better with the families I worked with.

One moment, I would be attempting Hokkien, another moment Mandarin. And of course, I would use Malay when visiting Malay families. Speaking in the language that is comfortable for those I was working with always facilitated the helping relationship.

It was around this time when I became a parent and started thinking of the language needs of my two children. As the Malay saying goes, Hilang bahasa, lenyaplah bangsa -- language is a key to a deeper understanding of our roots and culture – and I wanted my daughter Lidia and my son Adli to experience Malay as a rich and living language.

My conversational ability at the time meant I had an arm’s-length appreciation for what was beautiful about the language and its literature. I knew it was there but was unable to point the way. Thanks to my wife Sadiah, who was a Malay language producer and presenter on TV and is now the museum coordinator for the Malay Heritage Centre, Malay gained some prominence in our home.

To ignite their interest, she would draw beautiful drawings to illustrate Malay proverbs, impressing Adli’s Malay teacher who subsequently asked if those illustrations could be shared with his classmates. Sadiah would also get Adli to appreciate the beauty of the language through traditional Malay songs (we know boys learn language differently from girls!).

As for Lidia, she always had the gift of the gab and picked up Malay in her toddler days. Her love for reading spurred her to love languages."


Pushing the boundaries in teaching and learning (29 November 2021)

"At Yusof Ishak Secondary School and New Town Primary School, students play an important role in helping teachers learn. The schools host the ‘Centres for Teaching and Learning Excellence’. Here, Master Teachers and experts from NIE work with teachers and the students in the hosting schools to develop, refine and introduce innovative teaching methods before these are shared with the rest of the education fraternity. By Neo Wen Tong.

Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YISS) and New Town Primary School (NTPS) might not look too different from other schools from the outside, but they host what is known as a “Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence” or CTLE.

These CTLEs are effectively the beating hearts of pedagogical innovations in our educational system. The centres host a unique mix of educators, comprising experts from the National Institute of Education (NIE) and Master Teachers from the Academy of Singapore Teachers, who work closely with teachers from the hosting schools, to prototype and share teaching methods. Master Teachers also contribute to supporting policies and programmes at the national level.

These educators come together to strengthen links between theory and research, to refine innovative teaching approaches in the classrooms, which are then shared with other teachers for them to adapt and apply in their own classrooms.

Theory and research make waves at Yusof Ishak Secondary

Since it was set up in 2015, the team at CTLE@YISS has introduced teaching innovations across all curricular areas. Some are subject-specific teaching strategies that help students understand a topic more thoroughly. Others include more wide-ranging strategies like promoting students’ metacognition in teaching – such that students develop a disposition to continue learning on their own beyond their school years."


Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award 2021 (6 November 2021)

"Five Malay Language teachers will receive the Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award (AGAB) this year, in recognition of their outstanding contributions in the teaching and learning of Malay Language."


Literary Tours, Comics Drawing and Songwriting Among Ways to Nurture Love for Chinese at Month-Long Reading Festival (8 November 2021)

"Students who are taking part in the upcoming Tertiary Chinese Reading Festival 2021 will be able to participate in literary tours at the Civic District and Pulau Ubin, comics reading and drawing workshop, or Chinese songwriting sessions, among the range of variety of exciting activities."


Resuming More School and IHL Activities to Support the Holistic Development and Well-Being of Students (8 November 2021)

"To enrich the learning experiences and better support the long-term holistic development and well-being of our students, MOE will gradually resume more school activities, including Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), in our schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). This is in view that our student population above the age of 12 in schools and IHLs have high vaccination rates, which puts us in a good position to resume more elements of school life, with appropriate safeguards."


Expansion of UPLIFT Initiatives (10 November 2021)

"Established in October 2018, UPLIFT (Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce) is an inter-agency team led by the Ministry of Education (MOE) that aims to support and strengthen the partnership between schools and community partners to enhance upstream wraparound support for disadvantaged students. In particular, UPLIFT is committed to tackling long-term absenteeism – a key barrier that impedes students' educational progress and prevents them from achieving their full potential."


Release of 2021 PSLE Results and Secondary 1 Posting Exercise (17 November 2021)

"The results of the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will be released on Wednesday, 24 November 2021. Arrangements have been made for school candidates to receive their results from their respective primary schools in their respective classrooms from 11 am on 24 November 2021, with the necessary Safe Management Measures (SMMs) in place."


Release of 2021 PSLE Results (24 November 2021)

"Candidates who sat for the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) under the new Achievement Level (AL) scoring system received their results today. School candidates received their results in their respective primary schools from 11am onwards while those who were unwell, self-isolating due to COVID-19, or who preferred an alternative to gathering physically in school, were also able to view their results online via Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board's (SEAB) Candidates Portal at"


Covid-19: Yishun tuition centre director fined S$2,700 for repeatedly failing to wear mask (15 October 2021)

"SINGAPORE — A 56-year-old director of an education and tuition centre was fined S$2,700 on Friday (Oct 15) after pleading guilty to not wearing a face mask over his nose and mouth at the centre on multiple occasions.

Kwang Geok Ming, a Singaporean, admitted to three charges of flouting Covid-19 laws with seven other such charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

Kwang initially tried to justify his actions by saying that he had argued with a safe distancing ambassador, who then took photographs of him answering a phone call with his mask pulled below his chin."


1,000 more students admitted into Singapore’s autonomous universities in AY2021: MOE (29 October 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Singapore’s six autonomous universities admitted 1,000 more students in the 2021 academic year, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday (Oct 29).

This comes after they were given “greater flexibility” to admit more students on an exceptional basis this year, to support local students whose plans to study overseas were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the 1,000 additional students, a total of about 17,800 Singapore citizens were admitted into the autonomous universities for the academic year of 2021."


Teen drug offender's suicide highlights need to get across message that S'pore's system is 'designed to give 2nd chances’: Faishal (2 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE — There was an eight-month gap between the arrest of a teenager accused of drug trafficking and his fall to death, which raises questions about what had happened in between, Minister of State for Ministry of Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said on Tuesday (Nov 2).

The case of Justin Lee, who was arrested on Feb 3 and died on Sept 16, also highlights the need to get across the point to young Singaporeans that the system is designed to grant second chances to offenders and help them rehabilitate, he added.

Associate Professor Faishal was speaking in Parliament about Justin’s case in response to questions from five Members of Parliament (MPs)."


Fresh out of polytechnic, she learnt she had stage 2 cancer. Medical history later impeded job search (6 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE — After graduating from Temasek Polytechnic in 2017, Ms Azhany Mohamed was looking forward to getting a job and supporting her family financially. These plans were dashed when scans showed a cancerous mass covering about half of her lungs.

Diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in white blood cells or lymphocytes, Ms Azhany spent her 22nd birthday and the subsequent months battling the disease.

The hardest part of being a young cancer patient, Ms Azhany said, was feeling left out of the things that her peers can do, and having low self-esteem from treatment side effects such as hair loss and face swelling."


Dad’s glaucoma tests spur NUS student to invent pain-free device. Now it’s a James Dyson Award winner (17 November 2021)

"SINGAPORE — When her father was diagnosed with glaucoma in late 2019, Ms Yu Kelu saw the amount of pain it caused him. The now 55-year-old man suffers from frequent headaches, blurred vision and is constantly in and out of the hospital to get his eye pressure tested.

These eye pressure tests, also known as intraocular pressure monitoring, are not for the faint-hearted.

Ms Yu, 26, told TODAY on Wednesday (Nov 17) that a probe is pressed directly against the cornea of a patient — a process that is repeated every two to three hours over a 24-hour period."


Commentary: A message from an early childhood educator to parents (19 November 2021)

"Dear parents of young children,

Like you, we want the best outcomes for your children, we really do.

We are there guiding and caring for their needs in school."


Forget the 5Cs, young S’poreans want to make a difference, create impact with their work: TODAY webinar panellists (4 December 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Young Singaporeans are no longer aspiring for the “5C’s” of cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club membership that have come to define material success in Singapore.

Instead, they are opting for experiences and growth opportunities in their jobs instead, panellists said during a TODAY Live webinar on Friday (Dec 3).

Ms Rachel Lim, one of the speakers and co-founder of fashion brand Love, Bonito, said she had observed that young job interviewees were keen to make an impact in their jobs and did not “primarily work for salaries”."