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Wed, Jan 28, 2009
The Straits Times
Govt schools prepare to go single session

By Jane Ng & Amelia Tan

WITH a deadline to go single session set for 2016, government schools, especially popular ones like Rosyth and Raffles, are looking into how they can reduce their two sessions to one.

They have the next eight years to expand their facilities, build new campuses or cut enrolment.

The Ministry of Education will spend $600 million to build 18 new schools over the next 10 years and $700 million over the same period to upgrade 80 existing schools, to make sure the facilities can cope with one school session each day.

How schools instil love of learning

1 CASUARINA PRIMARY: Science teacher Chia-Kay Cheng Hong uses puppets and cartoons in science classes to encourage pupils to speak up. Mrs Chia-Kay found her pupils more ready to respond to those devices, which they saw as peers, while she was a figure of authority.

2 CORAL PRIMARY: Primary 1 and 2 pupils stage concerts once a year as part of their English language lessons. Parents can see how their children are doing at public speaking, and from the acting, singing and dancing, they can assess the children's level of self-confidence.

3 TEMASEK PRIMARY: Concepts like fruit and seed dispersal are taught through role play and dance. Pupils also visit nature reserves to reinforce what they learn in the classroom.

Passion first, degree second

HAVE a degree but no passion for teaching? Don't bother applying for the job.

Addressing a persistent criticism of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) plan to recruit only graduates as teachers for primary schools, MOE second permanent secretary Yeoh Chee Yan said last Friday that when it comes to hiring, the ministry looks for interest and aptitude first and foremost.

Ms Yeoh noted that the ministry has been recruiting teachers only from the top 30 per cent of each school cohort. This means that by 2015, it will be drawing from a pool of people who qualify for an undergraduate education anyway.


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