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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 7 November 2007

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Promoting more interaction  between GEP and non-GEP pupils


Greater Integration for Pupils in the Gifted Education Programme

From 2008, all the nine primary Gifted Education Programme (GEP) centres will introduce initiatives to promote greater interaction between GEP and non-GEP pupils, allowing them to learn, work and play together on a daily basis.
This will enable GEP pupils, who are currently pursuing the GEP curriculum in classes separate from their non-GEP peers, to maintain regular contact and develop closer bonds with their schoolmates through meaningful shared experiences.
On average, it is expected that GEP and non-GEP pupils would spend between one third to half of their curriculum time together on a daily basis.
Among the nine centres, Nan Hua Primary School and Tao Nan School piloted two different models of integration for their Primary 4 (P4) classes this year. The positive experiences of the students have prompted both schools to continue with the programmes for 2008, as well as to extend them to the incoming P4 cohorts. A description of the two models is appended in Annex 1.
The other seven GEP centres will be introducing their own integration models. Some of them will implement integration only for their incoming P4 pupils, while others plan to form integrated classes at both P4 and P5 levels. A summary of the plans for each school can be found in Annex 2.
While each of the nine GEP centres will work with MOE to develop its own distinctive model, all nine centres will be guided by the following principles in their integration programmes:
    1. A core of enriched GEP subjects (including English Language, Mathematics and Science) will continue to be taught in separate GEP classes;
    2. Students in integrated classes should be of broadly comparable ability to optimise learning;
    3. All teachers of integrated classes will receive GE training;
    4. Attention should be paid to quality of shared experiences rather than shared time per se.

The integration models will generally take one of the following two forms:

    1. Integrated form classes comprising GEP and non-GEP pupils: The form class will have common lessons for all the subjects except the school’s GEP core curriculum. For 2008, the core subjects for which GEP pupils will attend separate classes will include English Language, Mathematics and Science. This model is broadly similar to that adopted by Nan Hua Primary and Tao Nan School this year;
    2. Separate form classes for GEP and non-GEP pupils respectively: Pupils will be pulled out of their form class for combined lessons in Art and Crafts, Civics and Moral Education, Chinese Language/Higher Chinese, Music and Physical Education.
Schools will have the latitude to decide which subjects, and the number of subjects they would like to include in integrated classes of GEP and non-GEP students. On average, GEP and non-GEP pupils would spend between one third to half of their curriculum time together on a daily basis.
Schools have also designed new ways to enhance opportunities for greater interaction through their Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) and Community Involvement Programmes (CIP).
CIP projects will be planned such that GEP and non-GEP pupils will get to work on common causes close to their hearts.
To optimise CCAs as an avenue for pupils to train and play together, GEP pupils will be strongly encouraged to take up at least one school-based CCA. CCAs will also enable pupils with similar interests to pursue their passions. Whether it is in the outdoors or the art room or the science laboratory or the library, pupils can have shared experiences which will help them to forge closer bonds.
The Ministry will also provide the necessary resource support to all schools. For instance, the Gifted Education Branch of the Ministry will continue to support the schools to build the capacity of their teachers by training more mainstream teachers in gifted education pedagogy. Mainstream teachers will also be invited to participate in curriculum-related professional development activities organized by the Branch.
At MOE’s 2006 Work Plan Seminar (28 Sep 06), Minister for Education Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced that two GEP centres, Nan Hua Primary School and Tao Nan School, would pilot two models for greater integration of GEP and non-GEP pupils during curriculum time.
The objective was to create more opportunities for GEP pupils to learn, interact and play with the rest of their peers, and develop rounded characters from young.
The GEP is a Ministry of Education programme with distinctive features to nurture and develop intellectually gifted pupils to their full potential.
The programme is a successful innovation of the Singapore education system which has worked well and which the Ministry will continue to evolve. We are seeing greater integration of students in the Gifted Education Programme with the rest of their counterparts. At the secondary level, we have devolved the Gifted Education Programme to the Integrated Programme (IP) schools, which in practice admit the majority of gifted students.
MOE does not intend to do away with the philosophy or practice of providing distinct programmes for gifted students. What we aim to achieve is a diversity of such programmes. We are already seeing this happen.
At the secondary level, the IP schools have each come up with their own talent development programmes for gifted and other high ability students, in addition to their programmes for other IP students.
At the primary level, the schools will continue to implement MOE’s Gifted Education Programme. However, the 9 primary schools will adopt new and different ways to implement GEP classes so as to give students ample opportunity to interact with their peers.
More..... (Annexes)

Source: Press Release 2 Nov 2007

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