external image FDD3ED4B7F575F63C18D85F4337.jpg The Integrated Programme (IP), also known as the through-train program, was first implemented in 2004 in some of the top secondary schools and junior colleges of Singapore. It allows students to bypass their GCE 'O' Level examinations, which was viewed as a rite of passage in Singapore’s Secondary education, and take their GCE 'A' level examinations or equivalent directly after 6 years of study.

The programme was initiated because policy planners and teachers at these top schools felt that the time spent on revising for the GCE 'O' level examinations could have been better used to enrich the students’ education and allow them to take part in more extra-curricular activities. Besides, taking two major examinations, the GCE 'O' Level examinations and the GCE 'A' Level examinations, with only a two-year interval was deemed unnecessarily stressful. Furthermore, the absence of 'O' levels in the students’
timetables would mean that teachers would be able to go in-depth into their respective subject content or cover more breadth in terms of subjects. As a result of these measures, the student will receive a more broad-based education that would have greater practical value to the student in the future.

In the years since the implementation of the IP, the predominant feedback is that the students enjoy the learning environment which has allowed them to stretch their intellectual potential, while equipping them for self-directed learning.

In lieu of the positive results of the initial batches of IP graduates together with the positive feedback garnered from IP students, MOE will expand the IP so that more university-bound students will benefit from an enriched educational experience.

As such, an expansion of the IP system will be carried out with the extension of the programme to 7 new schools. This is in tandem with the planned construction of a new junior college to cater to these IP students.

The Ministry of Education has always worked towards the betterment of the education system in Singapore and hopes to allow more students to enjoy the benefits of the Integrated Programme via this expansion. However, as with any policy which affects the future of Singapore and its citizens, the details and execution of this expansion must come under careful scrutiny before, during and after implementation.

Will these changes to the current system truly benefit the student population of Singapore?

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