Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Simplification of UAS Computation for Polytechnic Graduates

  • The University Admissions Score (UAS) is a framework adopted by the Autonomous Universities (AUs) to benchmark and rank applicants’ academic abilities for admission to university.

  • The University Admissions Score (UAS) is a framework adopted by the Autonomous Universities (AUs) to benchmark and rank applicants’ academic abilities for admission to university.

  • For polytechnic graduates who had previously taken the O-Level examinations, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) today compute their UAS as a composite of their polytechnic Grade Point Average (GPA) (80%) and their O-Level results (20%). O-Level results serve as a measure of polytechnic graduates’ academic readiness for a university education, which is traditionally more academic in nature compared to practice-based learning in the polytechnics. Polytechnic graduates with no O-Level qualifications are assessed based on their polytechnic GPA.

  • The other four AUs currently do not hardcode O-Level results when evaluating polytechnic applicants. Instead, they consider a basket of factors such as polytechnic GPA, aptitude tests and interview performance, and take into account O-Level results only where relevant.

Overview of Changes

  • From the Academic Year (AY) 2020 admissions cycle (commencing in February 2020), the UAS for polytechnic students applying to all AUs, including NUS and NTU, will comprise only their polytechnic GPA - i.e. the current requirement for their ‘O’-level results to comprise 20% of their UAS will be removed. This change will therefore standardise the treatment of O-Level grades for polytechnic graduates applying to all AUs.

  • By assessing polytechnic graduates primarily based on their latest academic qualification, i.e. their polytechnic GPA, we can better recognise late-bloomers and those who have done well in polytechnics, or after discovering their interest when they are older. This is in line with the current treatment of students with A-Level or International Baccalaureate qualifications.

  • This change also better supports the more diverse profile of polytechnic upgraders today. Close to a quarter of all students who enter polytechnics do not possess O-Level qualifications (e.g. Polytechnic Foundation Programme students, and ITE graduates including those from Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme).

  • All AUs, including NUS and NTU, can continue to impose subject-specific pre-requisites, or refer to subject- or module-specific O-Level and polytechnic grades, to ascertain applicants’ suitability for the course that they are applying for. For example, polytechnic students who wish to apply to Computer Science courses at NUS would need at least a B3 grade in O-Level Additional Mathematics. Other forms of assessments, such as interviews and aptitude tests, may also be conducted where relevant.

  • More details on changes to the application process for polytechnic students will be released by NUS and NTU closer to the AY2020 admissions exercise.



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Changes to Direct School Admission Exercise for Secondary Schools (DSA-Sec) from 2019

Background to Latest Changes

1. Direct School Admission for Secondary Schools (DSA-Secondary) provides students an opportunity to enrol in a school based on their talents, potential and achievements that cannot be demonstrated through the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). At MOE’s Committee of Supply Debate in 2017, several changes to DSA-Sec were announced to better support students in finding a match between their strengths and interests on one hand, and a secondary school that offers suitable programmes on the other.

2. Starting this year, all secondary schools can now admit up to 20% of their non-Integrated Programme (non-IP) Secondary 1 intake via DSA-Sec. This is an increase from 5% for Schools with Distinctive Programmes, and 10% for Autonomous Schools1. In the first year of this expansion, 3,000 students received confirmed offers2, compared to 2,500 in 2017.

3. MOE has also worked with schools to refine the DSA selection process, and co-develop a set of selection principles to support schools in identifying and recognising students’ potential in specific talents. From 2018, all schools have discontinued the General Ability Test (GAT) and High Ability Selection Test (HAST), since these tests select for general academic abilities that can already be demonstrated through the PSLE.

Centralised DSA-Sec Application Portal

4. To simplify and streamline the DSA application process, students and parents will make applications via a common online portal from the 2019 DSA-Sec Exercise.

5. All schools3 will have a common DSA-Sec application timeline4 and application will be via a centralised online portal. Applicants only need to fill in one online form to apply to multiple schools, and their details will be provided electronically to the schools.

6. The application form has also been simplified. For example, school information such as the student’s Primary 5 and Primary 6 academic results, Co-curricular Activities (CCA), school-based achievements/awards will be automatically shared with the schools that the student applies to. Therefore, no certificates, transcripts or testimonials will be required from the students.

7. Application through the portal is free-of-charge, to remove financial barriers for any student with talent and potential, and to encourage students, regardless of background, to apply for DSA. Students can apply through the portal via one of their parents’ SingPass login. Parents who do not have access to SingPass can approach their child’s primary school for assistance.

Talent Areas and School Choices

8. Each applicant can choose up to three schools and three talent areas in their DSA-Sec application. Students can explore the secondary schools with development programmes for their talent area by visiting the schools’ individual websites and attending their open houses.

9. For students with multiple talents, there is flexibility for them to use up to two choices to apply for two different talent areas from the same school. Examples of possible choice combinations can be found in Annex A.

10. Parents and students are encouraged to choose schools judiciously, selecting only those offering programmes that can develop the student’s strengths and interests, and at a suitable learning pace.

11. More details on application procedures will be made known to the Primary 5 students through their schools. Students are encouraged to check the MOE DSA-Sec webpage for information on important dates, the DSA-Sec process, participating schools and their talent areas, at around April 2019.


Footnotes
  1. For definitions of these schools, please visit this webpage: https://beta.moe.gov.sg.school/types
  2. Confirmed offers (COs) means that the student has a place reserved in the school as long as the student qualifies for an academic course (i.e. Express, Normal (Academic), Normal (Technical) offered by the school.
  3. Students interested to apply to Singapore School of the Arts (SOTA) or Singapore Sports School (SSP) will continue to apply directly to the schools because of their unique admission requirements.
  4. Period of application will span over a four-week period from 8 May 2019 till 4 June 2019.


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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

4 Teachers Awarded Masters Scholarships in Special Education

1. 1Four Special Education (SPED) teachers will receive the MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education for 2017 and 2018. They are:

  • Kenneth Lai Chen Ning, Tanglin School
  • Mohamed Edhamriza Bin Hamwal, MINDS - Lee Kong Chian Gardens School
  • Sharifah Masturah Shahab-Yokoyama, Rainbow Centre - Yishun Park School
  • Esther Kwan Huey Chien, Grace Orchard School

2. Kenneth Lai, Mohamed Edhamriza and Sharifah Masturah will be pursuing their Master of Education (Special Education) at the National Institute of Education (NIE). Esther Kwan will be pursuing her Master of Education in Special Education) at Vanderbilt University, USA. More information on the scholarship recipients can be found in the Annex.

3. The MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education was started in 2011 to provide SPED educators with professional upgrading opportunities through postgraduate studies. The scholarship is open to registered Singaporean SPED teachers who have served at least five years in SPED schools.

4. The scholarship recipients will be acknowledged at the biennial SPED Conference on 2 November 2018.



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Honouring Special Education Teachers and Schools

1. Four Special Education (SPED) teachers and three SPED schools will be recognised for their outstanding contributions in the education of students with special needs. This is the ninth year that the Ministry of Education-National Council of Social Service (MOE-NCSS) awards are being presented.

The Outstanding SPED Teacher Award

2. Four teachers will receive the MOE-NCSS Outstanding SPED Teacher Award (OSTA) for their passion, dedication and commitment in providing a well-rounded education for students with special educational needs. They are:

  • Ms Pauline Cheng Pau Ling, AWWA School
  • Ms Gena Tan Li Xin, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore School
  • Ms Maria Koh Phey Serh, Rainbow Centre – Margaret Drive School
  • Ms Caroline Tan Swee Ping, St Andrew’s Autism School

3. A total of 275 nominations for 155 teachers were received from 12 SPED schools. The OSTA winners were chosen by a selection panel, comprising representatives from MOE, NCSS and partners in special education.

The Innovation Award

4. In recognition of schools’ innovations to enhance students’ learning, three schools were presented with the MOE-NCSS Innovation Award. They are:

  • AWWA School
  • Delta Senior School
  • Grace Orchard School

5. A total of 10 schools with 23 projects were nominated for the Innovation Award 2018. The nominated projects showed the innovative and creative use of teaching and learning strategies and resources, with the goal of engaging students in their learning and preparing them better for post-school.

6. Information on the awardees can be found in the Annex.

7. The MOE-NCSS awards will be presented at the biennial SPED Conference on 2 November 2018.



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Monday, October 29, 2018

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education to Attend Regional Meetings in Myanmar

1. Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, will attend the 10th ASEAN, 4th ASEAN Plus Three, and 4th East Asia Summit Education Ministers’ Meetings in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, from 31 Oct – 1 Nov 2018.

2. At the meetings, Education Ministers from the 10 ASEAN member states, the Plus Three countries (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) and other East Asia Summit participating countries (Australia, India, New Zealand, Russia and the USA) will discuss educational cooperation for regional integration and development.

3. A/P Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim will be accompanied by senior officials from the Ministry of Education.



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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Inter-Agency Taskforce to Better Support Students from Disadvantaged Families

1. Second Minister for Education Ms Indranee Rajah will lead an inter-agency team known as UPLIFT - “Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce”. It aims to strengthen support for students from disadvantaged families, especially those who are under-performing, so as to enable them to meet their true potential. Please refer to the Annex for the composition of the Taskforce and its Terms of Reference.

2. There are currently various ongoing whole-of-government and community efforts to support this group of students. Nonetheless, the challenges they face are multi-faceted, and this requires us to delve even deeper to identify the gaps and reach out to them more effectively. Thus, UPLIFT aims to plug the gaps in targeted areas, namely:

  1. Improving students’ motivation – cultivating the right values and broadening the students’ exposure in life, to complement academic programmes;
  2. Tackling long-term absenteeism and drop-out rates – developing strategies to overcome barriers to regular attendance in school;
  3. Stepping up parent outreach and engagement - strengthening parent outreach and parenting programmes to empower less privileged families.

3. Second Minister for Education and Chairperson of the Taskforce, Ms Indranee Rajah, said: “These students have the potential to do so much better, and we want to help them achieve that potential. To do so, we must ascertain the gaps and identify what exactly is preventing them from doing well. A key piece of the work is consulting with those in the frontline of working with disadvantaged children and their families, including school personnel, social workers, self-help groups and community partners. We will also hear from the children and their families themselves. Their experiences and insights will help us better understand what more we should do, and how we as a community and a society can collectively uplift those from disadvantaged backgrounds, boost social mobility and reduce inequality.”

4. Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Social and Family Development and Board Member, Chinese Development Assistance Council said, “Parents play a crucial role in their children’s holistic development. When children have nurturing caregivers and a conducive environment at home, they are likely to be more engaged in their learning in school and at home. We are studying how to better support parents and caregivers in their efforts to guide their children’s development. We will also continue to strengthen parenting skills and competence to enhance parent-child relationships.”

5. Deputy Chairman for Mendaki and Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad added, “The M3 framework1 aims to be the pivot of the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore. While MENDAKI, MUIS and MESRA continue to co-deliver programmes to help the Malay community to achieve progress, it is important for us to strengthen the “last-mile service delivery” so that those who require support can get access to it more easily.”

6. The Taskforce will continue to engage stakeholders such as school staff, students, parents, social workers and community partners to understand the challenges and hear their feedback. Following these stakeholder engagements, UPLIFT will hold sessions with the community to brainstorm and create solutions together. UPLIFT’s recommendations are expected to be presented next year.

Footnotes
  1. M3 is a collaboration between three key Malay/Muslim organisations: Yayasan MENDAKI, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (MESRA).


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Friday, October 19, 2018

66 Schools To Have New Principals In 2018

1. The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be appointing 66 Principals at the Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals, on 27 December 2018. Of these, 10 will be newly appointed Principals (Refer to Annex for the details).

2. The process of appointing and rotating Principals allows schools to benefit from new perspectives, and enables experienced Principals to share best practices across schools. Our Principals will have the opportunity to take on new challenges, and contribute by shaping and strengthening the work of the schools that they are newly appointed to.

3. For the 56 current Principals and HQ officers who will be assuming new Principalship appointments, it is an affirmation of MOE’s confidence in their abilities to continue guiding our teachers and students in schools. For the 10 newly appointed Principals, this is an important career milestone as they assume bigger responsibilities as leaders in education.

4. Mr Wong Siew Hoong, Director-General of Education, will present the Letters of Appointment to the Principals at the Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony. The ceremony will also acknowledge the contributions of retiring Principals and Senior Education Officers from MOE HQ who had formerly served as Principals. Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, will be the Guest-of-Honour.



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Simplification of UAS Computation for Polytechnic Graduates

The University Admissions Score (UAS) is a framework adopted by the Autonomous Universities (AUs) to benchmark and rank applicants’ academ...