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 No change to Mother Tongue weightage, says PM

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Join date : 2009-10-04
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PostSubject: No change to Mother Tongue weightage, says PM   Wed May 12, 2010 12:26 pm

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has confirmed that the weightage of Mother Tongue in the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) will not be lowered.

But he reassured Singaporeans a new way of teaching Mother Tongue will be implemented. This is to help students with differing language abilities to learn at their optimal pace.

PM Lee emphasised the importance of a fluid system which can quickly cater to the varying needs of students these days. To highlight this point, Primary Six students this year will be taking their exams based on a new syllabus that was developed after a review in 2004.

Education Minister Ng Eng Hen also apologised for the confusion over the reduction of Mother Tongue weightage in PSLE, which had sparked a major outcry among citizens opposed to the move.

“In my interview, I said MOE was looking at options to address the overemphasis on exams, where ‘MTL counts for so much in the PSLE’,” Ng said on Channel News Asia.

“Singaporeans became concerned that MOE was proposing to reduce the weighting of MTL in PSLE. This is not the case. I think I should have chosen my words more carefully and apologise for creating the wrong impression.”

PM Lee weighed in on the recent furore, adding: “We watched the reaction develop. … We knew we needed to respond but at the same time we wanted to make sure that we put the whole picture out and not just put out a quick reassurance – sorry everybody is upset, therefore we are not doing anything and fall back onto the status quo because the status quo is not tenable.

“We have to move, we have to change the content, we have to change the resources, we have to change the examinations.”

In statements to MediaCorp, unions representing Malay and Tamil teachers welcomed the government’s clarification. The Chinese Teachers’ Union also added the move would help raise morale among its members, some of whom had felt discouraged by a proposed cut in subject weighting.

What’s your view on the Mother Tongue debate? Are you relieved the weighting remains the same? And how important is bilingualism in the context of today’s society?

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