Educational Program for Gifted Students in Singapore

Educational Program for Gifted Students in Singapore

Singapore a small, but highly advanced nation in Southeast Asia, lies on the southern tip of Malaysia. The country is popular for having an excellent system of education. Among its best offerings is the Gifted Education Program, a specialized curriculum for its brightest students. The gifted students for this program are selected through a test comprising two round. This test is planned to judge the mathematical, verbal and spatial abilities of the students.

The test for the admission to the Gifted Education Program of Singapore initially included the top 0.5% of the students in each academic year. It was later expanded to include the top 1%. Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MoE) initiated the program for the first time in 1984. The Government clarified that the primary reason for initiating this program was to enable every pupil to get the freedom to learn according to their own abilities. The Ministry of Education further clarified that it will try to recognize as well as nurture each student’s unique gifts and talents. It also clarified that this program’s stated objective was to nurture students who are intellectually more gifted than their peers. The Government wants to provide both expertise and resources to help develop creativity, intellectual abilities and expertise in Singapore’s gifted youth, so that they can become responsible leaders and citizens in future. Originally this program had just two primary and two secondary centers. It later expanded to nine primary centers.

Today, there are other programs in Singapore for academically gifted students. This include the Integrated Programme , which allows high performing students in Singapore to skip their O-Level examinations and directly sit for their A-level examinations. Besides, there are also the International Baccalaureate and other equivalent examinations.

Reach of the Gifted Education Program: Today there are a number of primary and secondary schools in Singapore, which are offering its students the Gifted Education Program. Some of the primary schools offering the program include:

  • Nanyang Primary School
  • Henry Park Primary School
  • Raffles Girls’ Primary School
  • Anglo Chinese School(Primary)
  • Tao Nan School
  • St Hilda’s Primary School
  • Rosyth School
  • Catholic High School (Primary)

 

Schools that switched to the Integrated Program (IP): Some schools in Singapore have chosen to offer their students the Integrated Program instead of the Gifted Education Program. The latter seems to be more successful in the recent years than the former. Some of the schools which offer the Integrated Program are:

  • Raffles Institution
  • Nanyang Girls’ High School
  • NUS High School of Mathematics and Science
  • Hwa Chong Institution
  • Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)
  • Dunman High School
  • Raffles Girls School(Secondary)

Since 2006, Singapore’s Ministry of Education has gradually begun to give more prominence to the Integrated Program over the Gifted Education Program. In 2008, the Gifted Education Program was replaced by a program known as the School Based Gifted Education (SBGE) in the secondary schools.

 

Obtaining Admission in the Gifted Education ProgramThree rounds of tests are held for the students to get admission to the Gifted Education Program (GEP). The first round is the Screening Test. Students who qualify in this round will get the opportunity to move on to the next round, which is the Selection Test. Students who manage to score marks in the top 1% in the Selection Test are given the invitation to join the GEP. In the Screening Test, Mathematics and English are included, while General Ability is assessed in the Selection Test. Students who get selected to attend the Gifted Education Program (GEP) continue in this program from Grades 4 to 6. After Grade 6, pupils have the choice of continuing in the Gifted Education Program or switching over to the mainstream or Integrated Program.

GEP – Its Negative AspectsAlthough the Gifted Education Program in Singapore has gained enough ground these days, yet it is not free from loopholes. Hence, this program is often criticized for a variety of reasons. It is said to give students a false sense of superiority. Students who are part of the GEP often look down upon their peers who have not been selected in the program. It is also said that some students who are a part of the GEP might not do very well academically and professionally in future. As they were identified as “gifted” when they were young, they might become easily depressed if they fail to make a mark in their future career.

Despite a few loopholes, GEP is regarded as one of the main pillars in the educational system of Singapore.

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