We thank Forum contributors Grace Chua Siew Hwee, Melissa Lim Yingli and Tan Yuqing, for their comments on the Lost Identity School Mergers, all April 12).
The commitment of the Ministry of Education (MOE) is to always provide our students with the best overall educational experience and the best possible learning environment.
School mergers are tough decisions, and sometimes we have to make those necessary adjustments to meet changing demographics in our mature fields.
In particular, enrollments tend to decline in mature fields, along with the aging of the population in these fields. In contrast, registrations tend to increase in new housing projects due to demand from young families.
Therefore, school planning at city and regional level helps us determine how best to meet these demands, for example by merging schools or, occasionally, relocating a school if plans to build one. new school campuses can be developed when school mergers are being considered. .
Some have pointed out that students in a school with low enrollment rates may benefit from smaller classes. But MOE’s approach is to look at the deployment of teachers against the overall needs of our education system. In other words, more teachers will be deployed to schools with a higher proportion of students with greater learning needs.
This will allow our students who need more learning supports to be taught in smaller classrooms in these schools, and not just because they are in a low enrollment school. Such a needs-based resourcing approach is more equitable in ensuring that students who need more help get the support they need.
More importantly, when enrollment in one school is too low, students will not benefit from the same holistic range of learning experiences as their peers in other schools, in terms of subject combinations, educational programs and extracurricular activities.
These are essential aspects that contribute to the dynamic and holistic educational experience that we want for every student.
We recognize that school mergers can be disruptive for staff and students. The MOE will therefore continue to deliberate carefully on the need for any future school mergers. When we need to merge schools, the schools involved, their students and their staff will be fully supported, to ensure a smooth transition while maintaining the rich history and heritage of both schools through the cohorts to come.
Lim Boon Wee
Assistant Secretary (Services)
Ministry of Education