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All sec school students to own a digital learning device which can be paid for using Edusave: MOE

SINGAPORE — By 2028, all secondary school students will own a personal learning device which can be paid for using Edusave, as the Ministry of Education (MOE) seeks to strengthen digital literacy among students under its new National Digital Literacy Programme.

All sec school students to own a digital learning device which can be paid for using Edusave: MOE

Through the National Digital Literacy Programme, students will be better equipped to acquire digital skills needed to navigate an increasingly digitised world, the Ministry of Education said.

SINGAPORE — By 2028, all secondary school students will own a personal learning device which can be paid for using Edusave, as the Ministry of Education (MOE) seeks to strengthen digital literacy among students under its new National Digital Literacy Programme.

The programme will be progressively rolled out to schools from June 2020, starting with the Secondary 1 cohort, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung announced in Parliament during the debate on the ministry's budget on Wednesday (March 4). The aim is for all Secondary 1 students to have a personal learning device prescribed by the school by 2024 and for all secondary students to have a device by 2028.

“We will make sure that the device is affordable. Given that it is primarily used for learning and education, we do not intend for it to be a high-end device,” Mr Ong said.

He added that most students should have enough balance in their Edusave accounts to pay for the device. All students who are Singapore citizens will have an Edusave account and receive a yearly contribution for their educational use.

To ensure that all students will be able to afford a device, MOE will be providing a one-off Edusave top-up of S$200 this year to all eligible Singaporean students in primary and secondary schools, both mainstream and Special Education secondary schools.

This amount will be on top of the annual Edusave contribution of S$290 for secondary students and S$230 for primary students.

Students from lower-income households will also receive more subsidies so that they do not incur any out-of-pocket expenses when buying their devices.

To prevent students from misusing the devices, device management software will be installed on each device that will allow teachers to control how it is being used as well as track how students use the device, MOE said in a statement. 

The devices will also be used in tandem with the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS), an online learning portal that allows students to have access to curriculum-aligned resources.

So far, there are eight pilot secondary schools that are conducting lessons like this, Mr Ong said.

“The idea is not to make students learn completely online and not have to come to school. The quality and outcomes of e-learning will never be the same as a physical learning environment with teachers, friends, co-curricular activities, and a social setting.” 

The intention of using SLS is not to make classrooms “high tech and futuristic” either, he added.

“What we want to do is to use SLS to enhance the classroom experience. Let the technology fade into the background. Let the interaction, thinking and discussion come to the fore.” 

At the primary school level, MOE also plans to expand the Code for Fun programme where all upper primary students will go through a 10-hour enrichment programme from 2020.

The ministry will also extend O-Level and A-Level computing to eight more secondary schools and two more junior colleges. Right now, 22 secondary schools and eight junior colleges offer O-Level and A-Level computing respectively.


MOE will also be ramping up cyber wellness education under the enhanced Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) that will be introduced in 2021.

A comprehensive review of the CCE curriculum was kickstarted in 2016, Mr Ong said. This was necessary because young people today are more exposed to technology than previous generations, he added.

“They are like Bruce Wayne, who is also Batman. They have one real-world life that parents can see, and another one online where they spend a lot of time and parents do not see that.

“As adults who did not grow up in this space, I do not think we fully understand what young people are going through,” he said.

The refreshed CCE curriculum will teach students how to critically evaluate what they read online, discern genuine news from falsehoods and not rely on social media for “likes” and validation.

“They need to be able to say 'no' to bad influences and protect themselves from cyber bullies and predators,” he said.

Primary and secondary students will spend an average of 50 per cent more time discussing cyber wellness issues during CCE lessons.

In response to TODAY’s queries, Mrs Tan Chen Kee, divisional director of MOE’s student development curriculum division, said that this will translate to:

  • An increase from four hours to eight hours for lower primary pupils

  • An increase from eight hours to 12 hours for upper primary pupils

  • An increase from eight hours to 14 hours for lower secondary pupils

  • An increase from 10 hours to 13 hours for upper secondary pupils

She added: “Concepts on cyber wellness can also be naturally integrated into lessons involving other CCE topics. For example, during a lesson on managing peer pressure, students will also learn about the impact of online peer pressure and how they can manage it.”

Separately, the new CCE curriculum will have a greater focus on mental health as well, Mr Ong said.  

With this, mental health education will be explicitly taught in schools. 

Students will learn to understand common mental health problems and their symptoms, know when and how to seek support and develop empathy and care towards people with mental illness.

To supplement this, all schools will also have an established peer support structure by 2022. 

This is to enable students to actively learn how to better support one another emotionally and socially, promote mental well-being and advocate for a more supportive environment, while still having teachers and school counsellors to whom they can escalate issues, MOE said.

Related topics

MOE secondary school National Digital Literacy Programme digital literacy education

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