All secondary school students will receive a personal laptop or tablet for learning by next year—seven years ahead of the original target.
To bring forward the plan is one of the ways the government, schools and the community are working together to keep social mobility alive, and ensure every individual is afforded the opportunity to do well regardless of their starting point, said Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
This was announced by Mr Tharman during a national broadcast on Wednesday. His speech was the fifth out of six delivered by various ministers, on what a post-COVID-19 landscape will look like for Singaporeans.
Mr Tharman said the government and its partners have been working to equalize opportunities for Singaporeans by investing in early childhood education and schools, as well as by allocating extra resources for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Even today, Singaporeans who grow up in lower-income families have a better chance of moving up the income ladder than those in most other advanced countries,” he said
More Support For Students From Low-Income Families
The government is expanding the KidStart program to help lower-income families and their children to get a good headstart in their earliest years.
The pre-school profession has also been upgraded, and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development has been set up to raise standards in the industry.
“During the circuit breaker period, schools have also made sure every child who needs extra support will receive the attention he or she needs. Our teachers made great effort to help students from poorer homes and those at risk, to ensure they did not fall behind,” said Mr Tharman.
He added that the Ministry of Education has been allocating extra resources to schools for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and they will be given even more support in the coming years, with the hiring of more teachers, allied educators, student welfare officers and teacher-counselors.
This will boost the efforts of the ministry’s Uplift (Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce) program.
In Uplift, schools and the community collaborate to support students from disadvantaged families.
The additional resources will also help students to go as far as they can through the full Subject-Based Banding system in secondary schools, which allows students to take subjects at varying levels of difficulty based on their strengths.
“When you add up all we are doing, starting from the earliest years of childhood onward, we are making a determined effort to keep Singapore a place where every individual can do well, regardless of their starting points,” said Mr Tharman.
This article was first published by Vulcan Post.