What is the purpose of SAP schools in Singapore’s education system?
The Special Assistance Programme (SAP) is a programme which was introduced by the Singapore’s Government in 1979. These schools were opened to preserve the Chinese stream schools and to cater the academically strong students who can excel in the bilingual languages, the English language and the Chinese Language.
Why the SAP School’s plan was initiated:
The English is a globally recognized language and in 1965, the government recognized the importance of the English language and designated English as the main higher education language.
English language has increased its importance in Singapore as this was a working language globally and become essential in Singapore too.
Many parents have started to send their children to the English-medium schools and number of Chinese-medium school adversely affected and almost it has decreased from 39 to 10 percent. So the preservation of heritage and rich culture of Chinese schools became the main agenda of the Singapore’s Government.
In 1979, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has introduced a scheme and opened nine SAP schools. This was a policy to preserve the traditional Chinese schools which provided an opportunity to study the both the English and the Mother Language at the secondary level to increase student’s competencies.
Purpose of SAP School:
Preserve the Chinese Culture:
The main purpose of SAP school was to preserve the ethnic and enrichment of the Chinese culture in Singapore. When the English language has recognized as the main working language in Singapore, all the parents have routed their child’s towards the English-medium schools to secure their child’s future nationally and globally. Chinese-medium schools suffered a lot during that time and their existence was come in threatened.
That time the biggest challenge was on the Prime Minister Lee Kaun Yew to preserve the Chinese-medium school so they brought up with a scheme of SAP schools.
These SAP schools were indented to increase the competencies of higher scoring primary students.
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Increase bilingual competencies:
In 1979, the MOE (Minister of Education) was come up with nine SAP schools, the bilingual institutes with the standards of English schools comparable to the English-medium schools. These schools’ curriculum was entitled to the huge competitive Chinese and English subjects where the primary student got the chance to study both Chinese and English languages.
These schools were aimed to increase the language competencies of the students.
To provide the knowledge and skills of Chinese culture:
The SAP schools provided a chance to all the Chinese-students to learn about their culture and tradition. The SAP schools have many advanced higher Chinese courses for the interest students to increase their knowledge and skills on the language.
Provided with the global opportunity:
SAP courses provide with the deep understanding of the language, culture, tradition and groom the student’s bilingual and bicultural abilities. It helps student to develop Chinese language abilities, skills and knowledge of Chinese culture are at the maximum end. It provides with an opportunity to the students to increase their confidence and skills and efficiently work in China.
Innovation in the curriculum:
After a prodigious success of secondary SAP schools in 2004, the MOE proposed an opportunity to primary students to learn the Chinese language as a non-examinable subject in some SAP primary school.
This scheme provides with an opportunity to the primary students to learn the different aspects of the Chinese culture and language.
Many SAP schools provide with an immersion opportunity to students that allow the students to stay in major Chinese cities for up to the 6 months. The Chinese language skill provides students with an opportunity to interact and make different friends with the different races.
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A job opportunity for Chinese teachers:
The MOE ensures that the principle of all SAP school will be the appropriate one, who has a strong knowledge of the language. The teacher who teaches the Chinese language in the school must be the knowledgeable one. It opened up many doors and job opportunities to Chinese teachers to come and teach in Singapore.
After the success of almost 30 years of SAP schools scheme, I believe SAP schools will continue to the high spirit in our education system. It will groom our new generation with more advanced skills and will provide with many opportunities for the new talent of our society.
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