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MOE refines mother tongue language policy


The Ministry of Education (MOE) has decided to introduce greater flexibility and choice in the study of students' Mother Tongue Language (MTL).

We have refined the eligibility criteria to allow more students to take the MTL 'B' syllabus in secondary schools where there are sound educational reasons for them to do so. We will also allow more students to take Higher MTL (HMTL) if they have an interest in doing so and will be able to benefit from learning the language at a higher level.

The following refinements are being introduced to the MTL policy in schools:

a. MTL 'B' syllabus will be offered from Sec 1, to cater to students facing exceptional difficulties in MTL. Schools will have the flexibility to channel students to MTL 'B', taking into consideration the performance and language ability of the student, and the standard that he can achieve with reasonable effort;

b. Students with learning difficulties will be allowed to do MTL 'B'. Students with more severe learning disabilities will be considered for exemption from MTL requirements altogether;

c. More students will be allowed to offer Higher MTL (HMTL) at both primary and secondary levels, where they have demonstrated strength in MTL. Schools will also have the flexibility to allow students to take HMTL even if they do not meet the formal eligibility criteria, if they are assessed to have exceptional ability in MTL and to be able to take HMTL without affecting their broader academic development; and

d. Selected EM3 students will be allowed to offer MTL (instead of Basic MTL).

These refinements reflect MOE's policy objective to encourage every Singaporean student to study his MTL for as long as possible and to as high a level as he is capable.

We adopt a customised approach to mother tongue learning, including HMTL and MTL 'B', so as to cater to students across the language ability spectrum. This recognises the practical reality of students having different home language backgrounds as well as different natural abilities in languages.





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9 January 2004