For the folks, especially those interested in a more fact-filled dialog on the K+12 basic education cycle, the following world data on education may prove extremely useful. Please watch out for the next post showing how some of the participating countries from the list below performed in the TIMSS 2007 International Mathematics Report and the TIMSS 2007 International Science Report. [The latest TIMSS 2011 International Reports are “forthcoming” according to TIMMS 2011.]. It is interesting to note that Singapore [a country whose basic education cycle consists of pre-school/kindergarten, 6 years of elementary school plus a choice of 4 or 5 or 6 years of secondary school] was among the top 3 performers for both 4th graders (Grade 4 in the Philippines) and 8th graders (2nd year high school in the Philippines), outperforming some countries, including the United States. with a basic education cycle of K+12.
Here’s what we found out about Singapore’s educational system in an earlier post here:
Pre-SchoolSingapore has 3 years of pre-school: nursery, kindergarten 1 and kindergarten 2. “Nurturing Early Learners: A Framework For A Kindergarten Curriculum in Singapore” details a comprehensive pre-school curricular formula which former Deputy Education Minister Abraham I. Felipe describes in “Length of Education Cycle and the ‘Quality’ of Education” as potentially a significant difference-maker that helps propel Singapore students to perform at the top of the heap in TIMSS previous tests. It is interesting to note that one of the 8 desired outcomes of pre-school education is the child’s ability “to listen and speak with understanding” which fosters in the child the disposition and skill “to communicate effectively in English and a mother tongue language” (emphasis supplied).m
Primary EducationSingapore’s Primary Education consists of a compulsary 4-year foundation stage from Primary 1 to 4 plus a 2-year orientation stage from Primary 5 to 6. The overall aim of primary education is to give students a good grasp of English language, Mother Tongue and Mathematics. In “Primary School Education: Preparing Your Child For Tomorrow“, Singapore aims to develop the child’s language skills in both English and his mother tongue. This Ministry of Education document demands: “Your child will learn English as a first language in primary school. English is the lingua franca of international business, science and technology. The ability to write and speak English well therefore remains an essential skill to cultivate in our young. Your child will learn his Mother Tongue Language (Chinese Language, Malay Language or Tamil Language) as a second language… enabling them to connect and tap into opportunities in the global environment.”m
Secondary EducationSecondary Education in Singapore places students in the Special, Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) course according to how they perform at the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). In addition to these traditional routes and also depending on the student’s performance on the PSLE,he has other options such as the (a) Integrated Program that combines Secondary and JC education [4 to 6 years], (b) Specialized Program to develop the student’s talents in specific areas [4 to 6 years], (c) Privately-funded School programs that determine their own curriculum and provide more options for Singapore students [4 to 6 years], or the (d) Special Education School programs that provide EITHER mainstream curriculum with programs catering to the student’s special needs OR customized special education curriculum [4 to 6 years]. The different curricular emphases are designed to match students’ learning abilities and interests. The traditional secondary education could either be 4 or 5 years. Whether a student is in the Normal Course Curriculum, Special/Express Courses Curriculum, or other programs in secondary school, he is served, in addition to knowledge skills and skills, a trifold menu of (a)the humanities and the arts, (b) mathematics and sciences, and (c) languages which include English, the mother tongue and, optionally a third language (L3). MOE’s “Secondary School Education” indicates that the courses — whether it be the (a) Express Course [4 years], (b) Normal (Academic) Course [5 years], (c) Normal (Technical) Course [4 years], or (d) Vocational Course [1 to 4 years] — include English and the Mother Tongue as language subjects.
Hereunder is the World Data on Education Seventh edition 2010/2011. Under preparation: education profiles for the countries without bullets in the list below will be added as they become available.
Antigua and Barbuda
Micronesia (Federated States of)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland
United States of America