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03 Mar 2019
Ministry of Education
Suggestion View - 291
A different approach towards streaming

I wish to suggest a different approach towards catering for slow learners that was implicitly adopted many years ago.

This approach was forgotten when the streaming system was implemented in the 1980s.

What was this original approach?

When I was in primary school six decades ago, the students who passed each year proceed to the next year. Those who failed stayed back and repeat the current year. 

I do not know what percentage stayed back in each year. I guessed it might be 10 percent.

There is nothing negative about staying back one year. Some of these students were slow learners. They could be born in the later months of the year and were several months younger than the older children in the same year. 

When they stayed back one year, they were a few months older than the children born in the earlier months of the following year. 

There is no need for the school system to have different syllabus to cater for different groups of slow and fast learners. 

It is still useful to offer students the chose of academic and technical subjects that cater to their preferences. However, this is not a choice made due to their pace of learning.

I actually prefer the school year to be broken into two cohorts. Students born in each half of the year will enter school in the appropriate cohort. The age gap between the students in each cohort would be less than haf a year. 

If a child is held back for one cohort, it will be only for half a year.

It is quite easy for a school to manage two cohorts in a year. They will have their year end examination twice a year. 

I believe that the original approach, that was adopted six decades ago, would probably be a better way to deal with students born earlier or later in the calendar year.

Tan Kin Lian

Remember to vote (agree, disagree) to my suggestion on dealing with slow learners.





 


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