HBL for secondary and JC students at least two days a month
Home-based learning to be part of regular curriculum, regardless of pandemic, by fourth term of 2022
All secondary and junior college students will undertake home-based learning (HBL) at least two days a month, starting from the third term of next year, with the practice set to become part of the new normal, pandemic or not.
By the fourth term of 2022, it would have been implemented at every level of all JCs and secondary schools, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday.
To push the initiative along, every secondary school student is set to receive a personal learning device (PLD) by the end of next year.
A more calibrated approach will be taken with primary school pupils, starting with a small-scale pilot involving five primary schools, to better understand how the use of learning devices impacts younger students.
Minister for Education Lawrence Wong, who made these announcements at the annual appointment and appreciation ceremony for principals yesterday, said the move to full HBL during the circuit breaker period reinforced the need to develop students to be adaptable and nimble, and to be more self-directed and independent learners.
Teachers saw the benefits of HBL in instilling these attitudes and mindsets when their students took the initiative to organise themselves into teams and delegated tasks to one another to complete group-based assignments.
"The question now is how we can lock in these gains and mainstream these new practices," said Mr Wong.
The answer, he added, lay in regularly scheduled HBL days with time for some curriculum learning. But these would be less structured and also let students learn outside of the curriculum.
Anticipating concerns over the affordability of PLDs, which will take the form of a tablet or a laptop, Mr Wong said students can use their Edusave accounts to pay for them.
With the one-off $200 Edusave top-up in April, along with the regular annual Edusave contributions, most students will have enough money in their accounts to pay for the PLDs, said MOE.
Students from lower-income households will also receive more subsidies so that they do not incur any out-of-pocket expenses when buying the devices.
While the HBL days will be mandatory and part of the new curriculum, Mr Wong said students who need to return to school during HBL days for a variety of reasons will be allowed to do so, in consultation with their schools and teachers.
These include students who require more supervision, those with special needs and those who lack a conducive home environment.
Mr Wong also addressed concerns over students misusing the devices.
A device management software will be installed on each device, which will allow teachers to control how it is being used, as well as track how students use the device.
MOE will also be ramping up cyber wellness education.
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