One area which I spend some time on as an MP is to monitor the development of our children from low income and less fortunate families. I came across a case of a child who was retained in Secondary 2 twice and the school wanted to ask her to leave should she not pass the exams for the 3rd time by the end of this year. I recall, in the 1970s and early 1980s, when I was in secondary school, this kind of situation happened with some regularity. I however thought that there should no longer be cases of children leaving the school system earlier because of the lack of scholastic progress now given that we have since developed many pathways of our children. I therefore sought an understanding from the Minister for Education of how his Ministry manages such cases. My PQ and his answer are set out below.
Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Education (a) over the past five years, how many secondary school students have been asked to leave school after having been retained too many times; and (b) whether such students can be offered pathways in Institutes of Technical Education even though they may not have sat for GCE “N” or “O” Level exams with a view to retaining them within the education system.
Mr Chan Chun Sing: On average over the past five years, five secondary school students left school each year, due to them being retained multiple times.
These students can enrol in General Education courses offered by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which lead to the GCE N- or O-Level qualifications. They can also take up ITE Skills Certificate courses, which provide foundational training in industry-relevant skillsets, and prepare students to access further upgrading.