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Sharing Singapore’s learnings


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On 8 January 2020, The HEAD Foundation hosted a delegation of students within the Doctor of Education Leadership Programme from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This session was part of a longer learning trip to Singapore, in which the graduate students set out to better understand the island-state’s approach to teaching and learning, and how socioeconomic and geopolitical factors influence her education system.

Prof S. Gopinathan, Academic Advisor to The HEAD Foundation, led the roundtable discussion and shared about the historical development and current reforms of Singapore’s education system, particularly in teacher preparation and development.

Singapore’s shift from preparing students for a manufacturing to an innovation-driven economy was discussed at length. The evolution of the Ministry of Education’s curriculum, pedagogy and assessments into a student-centric, values-driven system emphasising 21st century skills was also examined. Dr Rajenthiran Sellan, Lead Assessment Specialist of the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board, shed light on the Singaporean government’s recent efforts to reduce emphasis on high-stakes examinations.

“Assessment should be integrated in the learning cycle: Assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of learning.” – Dr Rajenthiran Sellan

Whilst Singapore continues to advance our position as one of the best education systems in the world, much attention has also been given to closing the inequality gap. Ms Moliah Hashim, Principal of Princess Elizabeth Primary School, provided a perspective as a practitioner, sharing her years of experience of being an educator. She then shared how grassroots initiatives are working to improve the learning outcomes of disadvantaged children.

The graduate students learnt about Ministry of Education’s structured professional development and career pathways for teachers and educational leaders, as well as how Singapore has professionalised teaching and clearly defined a vision for excellent teaching.

It is always wonderful to share about Singapore’s education system and The HEAD Foundation is honoured to host the students from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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