Supports end to streaming
Published on: Sunday, December 29, 2019
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THE latest announcement by the Education Ministry that there will be no streaming in Form Four and Five is much welcomed.

I have long been a proponent of no streaming for Form Four and Five students.

This issue is also linked to the perennial problem of an inadequate number of students taking up Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (Stem) courses in our institutions of higher learning. Calls to get more students to enrol in Stem courses have been made for some time now.

But there has been no significant progress and the art or social science-based courses continue to dominate enrolment.

Perhaps with the end of education streaming, it will produce the desired results. It has to begin in schools. We need a transformation. Putting new wine skins will not do. On the other hand, it is necessary and even mandatory for previous arts stream students to learn more science than what they were doing before.

This means that all students in Form Four go into a single general stream where the science syllabus is broader than the present general science subject in the arts stream.

At the same time, the general stream will be spared the “higher-learning preparatory” materials found in the present pure science subject syllabi. This also makes the demand on lab facilities less strenuous.

This way, everybody gets to learn enough science, and there is still teaching-learning time left for other subjects.

Students can then have their free choice of other elective subjects the school offers.

Consider this new scenario: All students take up science in the general stream. With a cohort of 1,000 students and taking into account a realistic attrition of 20 per cent, we will have 800 post-SPM students qualified to be considered for Stem courses in institutes of higher education. Our Stem aspiration will then be more than on target.

The concern that with no pure science in Form Four and Five post-SPM students may jeopardise their chances of electing for Stem courses at university is illfounded.

Let’s not forget that with this proposal, streaming is done in Form Six, matriculation and diploma studies with a larger base of students as argued above.

Science stream graduates from these pre-university courses will be more than equipped to shoulder tertiary Stem courses.


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