03 December 2017
Studies conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have found that Singapore students are resilient and are frequently able to overcome disadvantaged backgrounds to excel in school, in terms of being able to emerge in the top quarter of performers and outperform what is predicted by their backgrounds.
The survey defined disadvantaged students as being in the bottom quarter of the socio-economic index within their country.
In Singapore, socio-economic differences accounted for 17 per cent of the variation in students’ science performance in Pisa, compared with the OECD average of 13 per cent. Students coming from poorer families are more than four times more likely to be low performers, compared with more affluent peers.
The Ministry of Education has said there is a range of financial assistance programmes, and that schools can use extra funds for students who need more support. There are also learning support programmes for those who need more academic help, school-based student care centres that provide a more structured after-school learning environment and subsidised enrichment programmes and overseas trips.