20 July 2018
Recently during the Parliamentary debate on class sizes in Singapore, Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-Yin said that our teachers should be supported with smaller class sizes, and that the reason why our teachers are strapped for time is because of the large number of students that they have to give individual attention to.
Ms Kuik said: “I know MOE has argued that teacher quality matters more than class size, but the sheer volume of work to be done with such large numbers of students will constrain even the most talented teacher.”
If the intention of the education system is to help learners becomes independent in their thinking, then smaller class sizes are needed. But if the aim is to force students to assimilate large amounts of information, then “we can understand why huge class sizes are still tolerable because it is like raising battery hens”, in Kuik’s words.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that with good teachers, smaller classes help students. However, MOE’s approach is to grant the school the teaching resources, and “give them the flexibility to configure class sizes for different groups of students, for different subjects”.
Mr Ong brought up various international studies, which concluded that there was no major impact on students’ performances when they were in smaller class sizes.