07 June 2017
The turnover of teaching staff at the School of the Arts (SOTA) has left some students concerned about the impact of such departures on their learning.
Students have sometimes seen their coursework supervisors leave halfway through the year. Internally assessed coursework constitute anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the final grade.
The issue of staff attrition at SOTA came under the spotlight recently after year 6 student Calleen Koh wrote down the names of teachers who had left on at least 20 pieces of paper, which were then folded into aeroplanes and placed outside the general office. Her work was removed hastily by the school which claimed it was put up without any explanations.
SOTA principal Lim Geok Cheng said that the perception that a large number of teachers are leaving the school at the same time may be due to there being popular windows when teachers choose to leave, such as after they collect their performance bonus or to time it with the June holidays. This however does not explain why the perception of high staff turnover does not appear in other educational institutions in Singapore.
One teacher said that he left because he was worried the school was more focused on attracting academically bright students instead of those with a bigger interest in the arts.
Another claimed that department heads didn’t quite understand what it means for literature to flourish in an open-minded and critical climate.