Streaming, as it is currently known in schools, may be on its way out, but some parents still need to be persuaded that their children do not need to pick up every subject at the highest possible level.
Westwood Primary principal Ng Yeow Ling, who has been an educator for 26 years, said: “There’s a period of lag… Our education is preparing for the future – say, the next 20 years – but parents’ views and experience of education are perhaps from 20 years prior.”
In his time as an educator, Mr Ng has seen numerous changes.
In 2008, when he was principal of North View Primary, the practice of categorising children into the EM1, EM2 and EM3 streams was scrapped.
He said it always takes some time to change the mindset of parents.
“To be very realistic, there are some parents who may take a while to come on board (with such changes), based on their background and past experiences.”
He was speaking to The Straits Times on the sidelines of a visit to the school by President Halimah Yacob. The visit is part of her community engagement efforts.
The Ministry of Education announced changes to the streaming system earlier this month, during the debate on its budget.
The Normal and Express streams in secondary schools will be replaced by 2024 with full subject-based banding, where students can take higher-or lower-level subjects based on their strengths.
Subjects will be offered at three levels – G1, G2 or G3, with G standing for “General”. G1 will roughly correspond to today’s Normal (Technical) standard, G2 to Normal (Academic) and G3 to Express.