Moving between streams through hard work and strong support

Moving between streams through hard work and strong support

If someone wants to work hard, they would definitely be able to achieve their goals in life," said Ng Mai Feng, 16, who recently received his O-level results.

Though he did not do well in the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) a few years ago, Mai Feng was determined to succeed. During his first year in Greenridge Secondary School, Mai Feng found out that it was possible to move laterally, from the Normal (Academic) stream to the Express stream, if he was able to cope with the learning pace and style.

"This gives people a second chance," said Mai Feng, who is grateful that the flexibility to move between streams gave him an opportunity to prove himself. Supported By His School

Driven by this hope, Mai Feng worked hard, managed his time well, and was able to meet the criteria of an overall percentage score of 75 per cent in his examinations to move to the Express stream. Though he found the pace of teaching in the Express class to be faster, he learnt to cope and was encouraged by his teachers.

For a few months before the O-level examinations, Mai Feng decided to work on his English Language, and began writing an essay every day. His English teacher, Ms Cindy Chai, was committed to marking these daily essays and giving him feedback.

"She never gave up on me and encouraged me to do better," said Mai Feng.

Mai Feng was also further motivated after a Values-In-Action (VIA) school trip to a Cambodian village. During his time at the village, he helped to improve the facilities of the local school, such as the multi-purpose hall, and organised activities for the villagers. Through this service learning experience, Mai Feng began to appreciate what he had at home, and wanted to make the most of the opportunities he had.

To better cater to the strengths of Normal stream students in different subjects, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is piloting a new option for students at a dozen selected secondary schools, to take subjects at the Express level. Students who score at least an 'A' in a subject at the PSLE will get to take it at the Express level from Secondary One. MOE aims to provide this option to all secondary schools by 2018.

Inspired by his older sister

Supporting behind the scenes were Mai Feng's family members. His parents encouraged him and his older sister, Jamie Ng, was a great source of inspiration for him. Jamie, who is an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore (NUS), helped her brother with his studies, and Mai Feng would approach her for advice even regarding his friendship problems.

"After the exams, I would be thinking of the careless mistakes made, but my sister would always be there to encourage me," said Mai Feng.

With an O-level L1R5 score of 12 points, Mai Feng has been exploring options to further his interest in mathematics and science, either in a Junior College or Polytechnic.

We wish him all the best in his education journey.

This article is reproduced with permission from Ministry of Education, Singapore. Go to for more education news and features.

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