11 April 2019
Even up till today, GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level certificates earned by Singapore students bear the name of Cambridge in recognition of our long-standing affiliation with the British-based examination group which dates back to 1892
Now, questions are being raised on why Singapore continues to rely on Cambridge Assessment to set and mark our papers. Over the years, we have evolved a unique education system that has its own internal standards of rigour and our syllabus has been changed and updated to reflect societal needs.
So why do we still need to wear the Cambridge brand?
Mr Seah Yam Meng, a retired civil servant said, “(As) a First World country whose education system is ranked among the best in the world, we should be confident enough to mark our own exam scripts by now.”
According to the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), our longstanding working relationship with Cambridge Assessment was previously updated with a new agreement signed in 2013 on the delivery of the GCE N/O/A-level exams here.
SEAB said: “Given the large number of subjects and papers examined in the GCE-level examinations, any changes to the conduct of the national examination or the examination processes must be carefully planned, taking into consideration the timeline and resources available.”
But why does Singapore, which has an education system that has been recognised as one of the world’s best, continue to link itself with Cambridge after so many years, while other former British colonies have cut ties and developed their own qualifications?
While our local examinations bear the Cambridge brand, the exam here is not linked to the British equivalents or the international version of the GCE exams.
Secondary schools here offer uniquely Singapore O-level subjects like computing in more applied areas, while the N levels – for less academically inclined students – was introduced in the 1980s by MOE.