Gifted Education Programme (Singapore)

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The Gifted Education Programme (GEP) is a highly selective academic programme in Singapore. Initially designed to identify the 0.5% of students from each academic year with the highest verbal, mathematical and spatial ability (as determined by two rounds of tests), the programme has now been expanded to 1% of the students from each academic year.(citation needed)

History[edit]

The Gifted Education Programme was first implemented in Singapore in 1984 amid some public concern. It was initiated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in line with its policy under the New Education System to allow each student to learn at his/her own pace. The MOE has a commitment to ensure that the potential of each pupil is recognised, nurtured and developed. It was recognised that there are pupils who are intellectually gifted and that there should be provisions to meet their needs. Beginning with two primary centres and two secondary centres, it has now expanded to nine primary centres (as at October 2004) and was at its peak before the introduction of the Integrated Programme.

Primary Schools offering GEP[edit]

As of 2014, nine primary schools offer GEP.[1]

Impact of the Integrated Programme[edit]

In 2004, five secondary schools started implementing Integrated Programmes with their affiliated Junior Colleges, but they are officially no longer under the GEP. However, they still have their own programmes within their respective Integrated Programmes to cater to these gifted students, who still retain their "gifted" status. Despite all the changes, there have not been any major changes to the programme, and this is basically just a change of name.

While the secondary schools that had implemented the Integrated Programme remained generally unaffected by the move, Victoria School, which continued to offer the GEP, saw a drastic decrease in enrolment.

Secondary Schools that are offering GEP, now SBGE[edit]

All of the secondary schools that offer the SBGE are IP schools. There are generally two classes per cohort/year/level for SBGE students. [3]


Beginning in 2006, the MOE started to phase out the secondary GEP due to the impact of the IP. However, GEP pupils who do not wish to take up the Integrated Programme after 2008 can enrol in schools with school-based special programmes at Secondary one. Examples of such schools are Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Catholic High School, Methodist Girls' School and St. Joseph's Institution.

The Gifted Education Programme came to a close in secondary schools in 2008, now in its place, School-based Gifted Education (SBGE).

Mission[edit]

The mission statement of the Gifted Education Programme is to provide leadership in the education of the intellectually gifted. The programme is committed to nurturing gifted individuals to their full potential for the fulfilment of self and the betterment of society.

The vision is to make the Gifted Education Programme a model of excellence in the education of the intellectually gifted. This will be achieved by providing professional expertise and exemplary resources to develop intellectual rigour, humane values and creativity in gifted youths to prepare them for responsible leadership and service to country and society.

Admission[edit]

At Primary Three, students may choose to take the first round of admission tests, the Screening Test. Students identified based on Screening Test results will be invited to participate in the second round, the Selection Test. Based on Selection Test results, the top 1% of the cohort will be identified and invited to join the Gifted Education Programme, usually by November of that year, after which they can choose whether or not they wish to join the Gifted Education Programme.

English and Mathematics papers are included as part of the Screening Test, while a third paper, General Ability, will be included in the Selection Test.

Before 2003, there was a third round of testing to allow entry for pupils who missed the chance in P3, after the PSLE. This last round of testing was offered to students who achieved 3 or more A*s for the examination. Students who got in at this round were referred to as being Supplementary Intake students. However, this practice was discontinued as of 2003. The IP schools and the new specialist Mathematics and Science School, once it was formed, would open up opportunities for more pupils who are not already part of the primary school GEP. So, there will be ample opportunities to join these schools and there is no need for a supplementary exercise to select students for the GEP at secondary schools. Read Speech here

Progress in the Programme[edit]

The pupils will have to study in this programme from Primary 4 to 6, and after that, the pupils can choose to continue studying in the programme only, in the Integrated Programme, or in the mainstream.

Distinction[edit]

"Research Project Studies (RPS)" is introduced in Primary 4, which is a program to teach skills needed in research. "Individualized Study Options (ISO)", which is compulsory for pupils in Primary 5, wherein pupils do research on a specific topic. The students were asked to choose their own projects in Primary Five under Teacher Mentors. The student-teacher ratio is normally from 4:1 to 5:1. Formerly, the Study Options given were:

  • – Individualized Research Studies (IRS)-> research and present your findings
  • – InnoVation Programme (IvP, formerly IP) -> students invent or improve things to solve everyday problems
  • – Community Problem Solving ( CMPS) -> Students solve current problems in society
  • - Destination Imagination (DI)

As of 2012, Tao Nan School only offers the first two.

Pupils in the GEP have to take Social Studies as a graded subject. Based on the mainstream textbook syllabus, students will have to study in-depth content. Lessons in the GEP are conducted with no textbooks or workbooks, with the exception of Chinese and Higher Chinese; lessons are more discussion-, worksheet- and project-oriented.

Pupils in GEP learn poetry and literature ([A Single Shard] in Primary 4, A Wrinkle in Time in Primary 5, and Friedrich in Primary 6) as part of the Concept Unit under the English Language subject.

The Giver would be implemented for the Primary 5 at 2014.

Primary 5 pupils are required to write a Mystery Story as a process writing piece, with 2–3 drafts handed in to the English teacher.

In Primary 6, a graded Mathematics Alternative Assessment (Math AA) is given. The pupils will have to choose from six or seven projects that GEP branch officers in the Ministry of Education (MOE) create. These projects are individual and include research, a product to be made and reflections. These have to be properly presented, otherwise the projects would lose marks. They will also be required to do a biography unit, of which one is oral and the latter is a written assignment.

Controversy[edit]

The GEP and its students have been criticised by many, citing the programme as elitist.[citation needed] The issue of the GEP has been raised many times in Singapore, both online in blogs and in the mainstream media.

Prejudice[edit]

GEP students are sometimes prejudiced against and insulted by others and portrayed as arrogant nerds and academic snobs who spend large amounts of time studying and have no interests in sports or other non-academic activities[citation needed]. While this perception may ring true for some GEP individuals, as a blanket stereotype of all GEP students it does not hold true as there have been and still are GEP students who have been and/or are good in sports and have taken part in numerous sports competitions, both at Inter-School and National levels.

Criticism of the programme[edit]

The GEP is often criticized to be elitist, as highlighted by the Wee Shu Min elitism scandal, in which the 18 year old GEP alumnus student caused public outcry in November 2006 for making insensitive and judgemental remarks against others. There was a similar controversy a year before, whereby a Primary Six GEP student wrote a letter to Today openly declaring that non-GEP students (referred to as "mainstreamers") were immature, and that she preferred to mix with "(similar) people like us".

Integration with mainstream[edit]

In an article in The Straits Times on 3 November 2007, the MOE announced its new scheme to "encourage" greater integration between GEP and mainstream students, to combat elitism and encourage socialisation. GEP students in the nine primary GEP centres would spend up to 50% of their lesson time with the top 2% to 5% of the cohort, or the top mainstream students. They would do activities such as studying with them,etc. The announcement of the integration provoked much buzz on the blogosphere. While some felt that this might alleviate some of the stereotypes and prejudice and relieve the generally bad press that GEP students and the GEP had gotten over the past few years, others raised objections such as the fact that the only mainstream pupils affected were the top students, which in their view did not eradicate elitism. GEP pupils are put off by the antics of the mainstreamers, some students say. This in part due to the inferiority complex that the mainstreamers towards GEP students. [4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]