09 March 2019
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has said in Parliament that without streaming in the past, Singapore’s social stratification would have been worse.
In the early years of Singapore’s independence in the 1970s, a third of every cohort dropped out of school. Today, the figure is less than 1 per cent. This is due to the system of streaming, Mr Ong asserted.
Streaming was introduced from the 1980s to arrest the high school attrition rate, and the Normal (Technical) stream was introduced in 1994. Singapore had to move away from a one-size-fits-all education system because if students could not catch up with their lessons, they would lose interest and drop out of school.
“We are now ready to take a further, major move,” said Mr Ong. This includes the roll-out of full subject-based banding starting next year, and then the end of streaming in 2024.
Mr Ong said he was confident that the new system will benefit many students.
“The school system will become far more flexible than today, so that we can customise learning to the student, to give them time to blossom at different points in their lives, while anchoring the belief that we can grow and get better,” said Mr Ong.