Earlier today (4 Aug), Minister of Education Lawrence Wong announced on his Facebook that the Government has decided to remove streaming and implement Full Subject-based Banding (SBB) in Secondary Schools.
As reported on South China Morning Post, the switch was planned to take place in 2024, and the plan has not been brought forward.
Despite announcing the removal of streaming, Mr Wong stressed that this would be a major shift that requires a “great deal of work” to implement.
He revealed that he visited one of the pilot schools for Full SBB – Riverside Secondary School – to get to know of the experience of implementing the new system.
Mr Wong noted that every Sec 1 form class from that school has students from all backgrounds and that they would study common subjects like CCE together.
“Every Sec 1 form class now has students from all backgrounds. They study common subjects like CCE together, and split up for others like English, Maths or Science where they are grouped together according to their subject bands.”
One of the form teachers told the Education Minister that students under the new system attended a week-long orientation programme before the COVID-19 outbreak, where students ate, slept, and played together as a class.
Expressing that he was “very happy” to learn that the feedback for Full SBB has been “overwhelmingly positive”, Mr Wong pointed out that the new system could help students form lasting friendships.
“I was very happy to learn that the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One form teacher told me that at the start of the year (right before COVID-19 hit our shores), students attended a week-long orientation programme where they ate, slept and played together as a class. This helped them to form lasting friendships which continued into the classroom.”
He believes that students who are strong in certain subjects would be able to help those who are weaker, adding that they could learn at their own pace “without the labels attached”.
“Students stronger in different subjects would extend help to those who were weaker. Everyone could learn at their own pace, without the labels attached, and could bond and gel together as a class. This is indeed what we hope to achieve in all schools, and in an education system that supports the learning needs of every child.”