For the bright future of Singapore and turning young students into incubators of innovation, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera has called for ‘a large randomised trial’ in Singapore to study the impact of having fewer students per class, giving the reason that there are benefits to having smaller classes in schools.
He filed the adjournment motion in Parliament on maximising students’ potential in classrooms of the future.
Citing example of ‘Project Star’ in the United States (US) of conducting a study on the effect of having smaller class sizes which started in 1985 and was conducted in three phases, he said, “The study found out that students placed in smaller classrooms performed better than their peers in larger classrooms across all grade levels tested and across all geographic regions.”
Member of Parliament Perera proposed that a similar study should be conducted in Singapore to look at reducing the average and median form class sizes to within a range of 20 to 25 students per class.
He emphasised that there had been positive outcome after the Ministry of Education (MOE) reduced the average class sizes for Primary 1 and 2 pupils.
Urging Members of Parliament for giving students the benefit of small class sizes, he said, “Changes are needed to turn Singapore’s future classrooms into incubators of innovation and catalysts for equality of opportunity.”
However, Ng Chee Meng Education Minister (Schools) observed that class sizes are not indicative of the learning support and attention students receive.
In August, he had told Parliament that the average form class size in primary and secondary schools last year was 33 and 34 respectively, while the median form class size was 32 in primary schools and 36 in secondary schools.
Ng said that students are encouraged to have an “entrepreneurial dare”, to develop an enterprising spirit, which can be used to solve real-world problems creatively. Students are also exposed to programmes such as coding, which takes place outside the classrooms to give them hands-on experience.
He said, “MOE is embarking on many exciting changes, but in all that we are doing, we are guided by values and character education that will always remain at the core of our children’s education.”