Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GEP does not intend to classify students into groups: Sim Ann

SINGAPORE: Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Sim Ann, replied to questions in Parliament on Monday about whether questions set in the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) favour students in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP).

She said many GEP students do well mostly because they already exhibit strong academic abilities.

But she noted that the GEP is not intended to prepare children for exceptional performance at the PSLE.

Rather, it's meant to develop their intellectual depth and higher level thinking while nurturing productive creativity.

MP for Mountbatten Lim Biow Chuan asked "whether MOE thinks that P4 or age 10 is the right age to categorise children into gifted or non-gifted? Why not classify them after PSLE, when most of the students are slightly more mature after going through their first major exam?"

Ms Sim Ann said: "The intention is not to classify the students into any particular group.

"And given our commitment to holistic education, and given our commitment to bring our students up to their fullest potential, as Mr Lim well knows, we have many pathways and ladders within the education system for students of all learning profiles and including students who, as Dr Intan has mentioned, peak at different times, during their journey through our school system."

Separately, fewer than 20 students have been identified to be exceptionally gifted in the last 12 years.

Ms Sim Ann said these students have to meet a set of stringent criteria, which include a psychological report and achievement and aptitude tests.

She added that data from interviews with parents and classroom observations will also be taken into consideration.

To support exceptionally gifted children, Ms Sim said the Education Ministry works with the school and parents to draw up a learning plan for the child.

She was responding to a question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong.

Mr Yee asked: "How ready are our tertiary institutions in partnering MOE to help those who are exceptionally gifted as some of these children may be so gifted that they can handle university curriculum even at the upper primary level. So do our tertiary institutions take in young students way before the university age, or are such students, do they have to go overseas for their education if they couldn't find anything that could be customised to their needs?"

Ms Sim Ann said: "When we're talking about exceptionally gifted students, we're really talking about really very small numbers, each of whom may have very unique circumstances.

"So I do not think there is a hard number or an age below which our universities will not consider. This really would depend on many factors.

"It goes beyond, I think, the intellectual ability of the student, but also in terms of his or her social, emotional readiness, and their readiness I think to be in a learning setting - which learning setting would suit the individual best.

"Out of these fewer than 20 students, one is known to have gone overseas to pursue his university education. The rest remain in Singapore, they are at various ages, they are still going through our educational system, they are still in the schools, and as I've mentioned, the oldest one is already enrolled in our local university.

- CNA/ck

View the original article here

Source Form Channel News Asia

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