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MOE’s Exams Changes 2019 and the Tuition Landscape in Singapore

Published on 29 October 2018 by Edu Aid | For Students | Study and Exams Tips & Guide | Tuition

Exams in progress signage

MOE’s Exams Changes 2019

In Sep 2018, MOE announced changes in its school exams system. There will be no exams at all for Primary 1 and Primary 2 students. For Primary 3, Primary 5, Secondary 1 and Secondary 3 students, there will be no mid-year exams. Report books will not show students’ ranking, both in class and level. With such a move, Education Minister, Mr Ong Ye Kun, aims to maintain a healthy balance between academic rigor and inspiring students’ intrinsic motivation to learn.

Indeed, the past few years have seen Singapore students focusing too much on just being “exams-smart”, rather than finding joy in learning. In fact, many tutors have also been advertising about their effectiveness through their past students’ exams results! Because of our nation’s over-emphasis on grades, the tuition industry has thrived till today. How is the tuition landscape going to change with such an announcement from MOE?

Parents’ Reactions

Parents’ reactions are important to note because, well, they pay for the tuition. So far, we are seeing a mix of reactions. There are happy parents (Yay! No stress from teachers about my child’s performance!); there are unhappy ones (The big elephant is still in the room – PSLE. Is my child adequately prepared?), there are skeptical ones (Not sure if schools truly embrace the spirit of such a change?).

We see such a mix of reactions primarily because different people hold different attitudes towards major national exams aka that big elephant (PSLE, O’ levels, A’ levels, etc). As mentioned by Mr Ong Ye Kun, we can’t remove these national exams because they are still necessary as reliable assessments for academic excellence.

There are parents who take such exams more seriously, and there are those who no longer do. Why so – because in today’s economic setting, it is possible for a non-graduate social media influencer (because no exams for social media excellence?) to earn more than a PHD taxi-driver (potential victim of the 2009 financial crisis who never bounced back, or he got a PHD in a dying industry?). Exams certificates are no longer the primary factor for success, and exams certificates cannot guarantee success – this is the very belief of our Singapore Government. This explains the rigorous drive towards life-long learning for every Singaporean. This also explains MOE’s move to inspire learning in students, and move away from being too focused on getting good exams grades. Singapore’s future need people who are always learning and innovating, not an entire generation of exams-smart graduates.

Now, do all parents embrace such a thinking about our children’s future? Exams results are no longer crucial? Obviously not. It takes time for deep-rooted beliefs to change. Exams have always been supremely important. Even if they are proven not in reality, we will still have parents who will stake their all for their children to score well in their exams. Therefore, the verdict – tuition will not die. It may, however, see some changes in form.

Tuition Will not Die

Tuition managed to gain a foothold in Singapore because school teachers are too caught up. They are too caught up with administrative work, CCAs, huge class size of differing learning needs. This is why students turn to tutors to improve their performance. Tutors cater to a smaller group, tutors can give students full attention and answer all their questions. Tutors can cater teaching styles to the student’s learning patterns. In whatever needs to be done, tutors will always be more effective than school teachers. Tutors have proven their effectiveness in training students to tackle the exams hurdles. Tutors will prove themselves effective in bringing in different teaching media to help students learn more. Tutors will always have their place in Singapore, regardless of where our education system heads.

Changing Tuition Landscape

With such a change coming from MOE, the tuition industry will need to cater to the different needs of different parents. Some parents will still want to keep their children focused on preparing for the national exams. Such tuition experience may even include more exams papers than before, because schools have reduced exams.

There will be some parents who believe that inspiring learning for their children has become more important than preparing them for exams. Tuition experiences may change to cater to such an expectation. In fact, many tutors feel more delighted with the opportunity to create fun learning experiences for their students, instead of going through boring papers every session.

How much the tuition landscape change, and to what form it finally takes, is still yet to be seen. This will very much depend on how parents respond to MOE’s change. We hope, however, that more parents will be enlightened and encourage their children to be better learners rather than better exams scholars.

To begin your child’s journey of a fun learning experience, feel free to approach us, Edu Aid Tuition Agency to find a tutor who inspires learning.

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