The Ministry of Education in Singapore is now preparing for the fourth Education Master Plan. According to Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, education must equip students with the necessary competencies to race with and not race against technology.
Heng laid down four key principles that he thinks will guide the Ministry moving forward.
1. Stay Focused
The Ministry will be focused on its commitment to a student-centric and values-driven education, and ICT can help them do this better.
“By staying focused on our goal to bring out the best in every child, we will use technology to transform learning in every school and every student, enabling them to develop strong fundamentals for life-long learning,” he said.
To ensure that all schools and students benefit from ICT-enabled learning, the Ministry is currently developing an online Student Learning Space to provide all students access to quality digital teaching and learning resources.
The Ministry is also focused on cyber wellness among students. “We cannot assume that just because our children can handle technology, they know how to use technology responsibly. There is no roadmap for the digital world. We need to give every student a compass and to help them develop navigation skills.”
2. Stay Curious
Heng urged educators to innovate and experiment new ways of teaching and learning using technology.
He believes that ICT can enable personalise learning, he said: “This is an important aspect of our student-centric education. The ultimate goal is customised learning and differentiated teaching for every child.”
New technologies may also improve the way assessment is done, such as diagnosing a student’s mastery of concepts, or recommending the most useful digital resources.
3. Stay Grounded
While ICT promises a world of possibilities, Heng emphasised the importance of sound pedagogical content knowledge.
“A good technological tool placed in the hands of a skilful teacher can breathe life into lessons, and lessons into life. Our teachers must be grounded in strong pedagogy and have the knowledge to use ICT meaningfully and appropriately,” he added.
During the last Master Plan, the Ministry has trained about 1,400 ICT mentors, who were instrumental in driving ground-up initiatives. Lessons were shared on an online platform called The ICT Connection, so best practices can be accessed by the wider community.
4. Stay Together
“From parents to industry partners, we need to involve the wider community. Together, we can play an active role to bring out the best in each child in every school, at every stage, whatever their starting point,” said Heng.
The Ministry will be working more closely with the industry players, tertiary education and other key stakeholders to develop a conducive environment to groom young talents.