Some Normal and Express students to take classes together
28 schools are piloting full subject-based banding before system is rolled out countrywide in 2024
Students in 28 schools around Singapore will undergo a different schooling system from their peers as the school year opens.
These schools are piloting full subject-based banding (SBB) from this year before the new system is rolled out to all schools in 2024.
In full SBB, students can take subjects at different levels, which will replace the Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams.
Yesterday, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung visited Ping Yi Secondary School, one of the pilot schools, where the four Secondary 1 classes will have a mix of students from different streams.
From this year, students at Ping Yi will also be offered the option of studying humanities subjects at a higher level from Sec 2.
Speaking at the school, Mr Ong called the move a "big step ahead for our education system".
Mr Ong, who spoke to some of the students, said schools will have to tackle the challenge of time-tablings.
He added: "The teachers are all trained and exposed to various techniques to teach a mixed form class... Teachers are doing this in a very subtle way, but in a very skilful way, and I believe they will get better.
"This is essential to make this pilot work so that it can be expanded."
For Sec 1 Normal (Technical) student Mohamad Zayeed Mohamed Ibrahim, 13, it will be his first time taking lessons in a mixed class. He will be taking English and Malay at the Normal (Academic) level.
Zayeed has high expectations for himself and is aiming to take more of his subjects at a higher level.
He said: "Now I can push myself for English and Malay, which are my stronger subjects, and also take more time to focus on the rest of my weaker subjects."
Zayeed's best friend, who is in the Normal (Academic) stream, is now in the same class as him, which would not have been possible under the streaming system.
Sec 2 Normal (Academic) student Hajamaideen Asimathul Jafriya will be taking on humanities subjects at the Express level.
Jafriya, 14, was given the offer to transfer to the Express stream, but she declined.
In addition to mathematics, science and Tamil, she opted to take geography at the Express level.
Jafriya said: "I want to take my time for my weaker subjects instead of advancing it all to the Express level and having the additional stress that I may not do well."
Her classmate, Lim Tie, 13, will be taking three humanities subjects at the Express level in the new school year - mathematics, geography and history.
He already took science at the Express level in Sec 1.
He said: "Initially I was scared I couldn't keep up, but when you're in the same class, the students help one another. It's a very good experience."
Principal Ang Chee Seng said in preparation for the change, the school had a six-month trial period last year, where students attended their character and citizenship education classes and PE lessons in mixed groups instead of their form classes.