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Singapore’s education system to be less exam-focused, more geared to lifelong learning, says education minister

March 10, 2021

Original Article:

After years of placing a strong emphasis on exams and results, Singapore is ready to move towards an education model — including for university — that is less exam-focused, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said on Thursday.

However, this does not mean that exams and assessments do not have a role to play in the education system, he said.

Rather, there should be a balance between academics and other learning opportunities.

These learning opportunities should also be spread out throughout a person’s life and career, said Wong.

He made the comments during the first session of a webinar series held by the National University of Singapore (NUS) to commemorate its 115th anniversary.

The NUS115 Distinguished Speaker Series invites guests to share their perspectives on pressing issues that are of national and global concern.

Focusing his speech on the future of education in Singapore, Wong said the Singapore government intends to shift the focus of the education system here to place greater emphasis on lifelong learning, rather than learning for the sake of acing exams and assessments.

As for how it intends to do so, he said discussions are still underway on what would be the best approach as the area of adult learning and training is a “more complex space” with many stakeholders, including companies, third party training providers and the unions.

That being said, Wong said the institutes of higher learning (IHLs) can play a part in achieving this shift.

For instance, they can collaborate more with firms and industries to strengthen workplace training capabilities.

“Employers must take responsibility and ownership of skills utilisation. If it is just led by training providers or universities, it will not work,” said Wong.

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