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EDUCATION Minister Heng Swee Keat recently laid out several key initiatives, one of which was an online learning portal.
While this will bring great benefits and help schools "level up", the Education Ministry could consider putting comprehensive material covering the syllabus requirements - and not just enrichment material - on the portal.
This would ease students' concerns over whether they have covered the required content and reduce their dependence on tuition.
Comprehensive content readily available on the portal will facilitate teachers as they empower students to pick up these facts independently rather than imparting them using classroom time. The freed up classroom time be used for engaging methods of learning such as group-based discussions and experiential learning experiences which solidify the student's scaffold of knowledge.
MOE could even consider providing these online lessons free for students from around the world. Currently, Massive Open Online Courses are proliferating on the net. But often they are unstructured and pegged at the tertiary level. MOE’s online portal- housing content from primary to secondary school education in one portal- could plug in the gap. In this process, Singapore’s education system would be “exported” to the world, boosting Singapore’s soft power.
MOE’s proposed idea to provide enrichment material to all Singapore students is a positive move. But given the potential benefits of providing the entire syllabus on the portal, the idea shouldn’t go unconsidered.
*An edited version of this article was published on The Strait Times' Youth Forum on 9th October 2013.