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Efforts to tackle widening class divide must continue, says Ong Ye Kung

(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

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SINGAPORE: Technology can help level the playing field for students, said Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung on Thursday (May 31), even as he stressed that more can be done to reduce the widening class divide in Singapore.

With the new online portal Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS) completely rolled out to all schools, from primary to junior college level, Mr Ong said that students are able to access the resources that the Ministry of Education (MOE) has built up.

“It’s a great leveller,” said Mr Ong. “Just as we all have our handphones and devices, which serve as a great leveller, all of us have the same access to the same Internet pages, knowledge and videos.”

The use of technology aside, he said that efforts to tackle the widening social stratification in Singapore must continue – an issue he had touched on in Parliament earlier this month. 

“It is unfinished business. We have done so much to bring about a more equal and socially mobile society,” he said.

“Our situation is very different from many developed countries. We read (about) many developed countries’ problems, which is stagnation, underclass and the inability to move up.

“In our case, a great majority has been moving up. But that in itself created some problems, and I think we need to zoom in on those problems.”

NURTURING DIGITAL LEARNERS

Mr Ong was speaking on the sidelines of the 6th International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology (iCTLT), which is being held at the Resorts World Convention Centre from May 31 to Jun 1.

The conference’s theme this year focussed on the role educators play in nurturing digital learners.

It was the first time iCTLT included speakers and panellists from sectors beyond education, such as IT and social and family development.

More than 1,500 local and overseas educators came together to share ideas, with 100 exhibits showcased.

Woodlands Ring Secondary School was one of 353 schools at the event. It showcased a Virtual Reality tool to teach art and literature.

Since 2017, the school has been using the technology’s interactive and kinetic capabilities to give students a spatial experience of art forms and move beyond non-digital media such as painting, sculpture and ceramics.

Students were able to create 3D art and apply the technique to create non-digital art forms.

Art teacher Deborah Ong said her students enjoyed the classes and were always actively finding different ways to use the tool.

“Most of them take to it like fish to water because they are already digital natives, and they often spend hours on their set making their artworks,” said Ms Ong.

The school is in the midst of training more teachers to use the tool and hopes to roll it out to other subjects such as mathematics and science.

More Info: www.channelnewsasia.com

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