||This article needs attention from an expert on the subject. (February 2007)|
The Integrated Programme (Abbreviation: IP is a scheme that allows high-performing students in secondary schools in Singapore to skip the GCE Ordinary Level (O-level) examination (typically taken by students at the end of their fourth or fifth year in secondary school) and proceed to sit for the GCE Advanced Level (A-level) examination, International Baccalaureate (IB), or an equivalent examination, after six years of secondary education. The A-level examination is typically taken by students at the end of their second or third year in junior college.
- 1 Overview
- 2 A-level programmes
- 3 International Baccalaureate Program
- 4 NUS High School Diploma
- 5 List of schools offering the Integrated Programme
- 6 Criticism of the Integrated Programme
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The programme allows for more time allocated to enrichment activities. That is, without the O-level examinations, the students have more time and flexibility to immerse themselves in a more broad-based education which will eventually lead to the A-level examination. In addition, the students enjoy more freedom in the combination of subjects. Generally, only the top performers are eligible to be part of the IP programme, do use to implement it, as it is currently regarded as experimental. Thus most of the main body of the students pursue their secondary education at the current pace by first completing a four-year O-level course before proceeding to a two-year A-level education.
Pioneered by schools such as Raffles Institution, Raffles Girls School, Hwa Chong Institution (formerly The Chinese High School) and Nanyang Girls' High School in 2004, the IP allows students to skip the O-level at secondary four and be admitted directly to junior colleges. Top junior colleges, such as National Junior College, Temasek Junior College and Victoria Junior College, offer it independently. However, Victoria Junior College will stop offering its IP programme when its affiliate secondary school, Victoria School, begins its own IP programme in 2012.
In the Hwa Chong Affiliate Programme, Hwa Chong Institution (Junior College) also grants entry to students from other schools apart from Nanyang Girls' High School and Hwa Chong Institution (High School) based on their O-level results. Hwa Chong Institution (College) also offers the Direct School Admission (DSA) in which Secondary Four students can apply for a place in year five of the college.
For the four-year IP, secondary two students from various schools are allowed to apply for this programme. These students have their secondary three and four education in the junior college itself, followed by the A-level course. Victoria Junior College and Temasek Junior College have this programme offered. Those who are currently in an IP school, could also apply for this programme in either of the two junior colleges.
Since 2009, National Junior College has also accepted students who have taken the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), making it a six-year program.
Dunman High School applied for the IP system in mid-2004 standalone, and the Ministry of Education approved the first batch to be enrolled in 2005, with Year 1 and Year 3 students, each having a cap of about 135 out of 380 students. Full IP was granted in late 2005, and the school went full IP at the beginning of 2006.
River Valley High School joined the IP system in late 2005 by operating a six-year course standalone. It is the last to join the ranks of the schools offering IP before the Ministry of Education had closed the gates to the special system. This ensures that students who are under the IP are able to cope with their A-level after bypassing their O-level. All the schools allowed in the scheme accepts the top 10% of the national cohort.
In 2012, Victoria School and Cedar Girls' Secondary School will offer the IP with Victoria Junior College which will build upon the four-year Victoria Integrated Programme (VIP) in the junior college. The VIP will subsequently be terminated with the 2012 batch.
International Baccalaureate Program
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and St Joseph's Institution, the only IP leading to IB schools in the country, has allowed its students to abandon the British system and "go Swiss" by dropping the GCE examinations all together and adopting the International Baccalaureate (IB), having been fully authorized as an IB World Schools. The IB is perceived by some as a more holistic program than the Cambridge examinations, making students take both arts and science subjects as well as philosophy courses and extensive research papers. Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and St Joseph's Institution are currently the only secondary schools in Singapore to offer the IP which leads to the International Baccalaureate examinations, and Anglo-Chinese School(Independent) is regarded as one of the top schools in terms of results of the IB in the world, having averages as high as 42 out of a total of 45 points. St Joseph's Institution started their IP in 2013.
NUS High School Diploma
The NUS High School of Mathematics and Science is a school which specialises in math and science, but also aims to develop all-rounded students through its diploma curriculum, which allows rigour and depth, or flexibility and breadth. NUS High School is also affiliated and very closely linked to the National University of Singapore (NUS). Students in this school graduate with the NUS High School diploma, which has been accredited by NUS, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Singapore Management University (SMU), and is still in the process of gaining more recognition from universities and colleges in other countries. For placement into overseas universities, they also take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and Advanced Placement (AP).
List of schools offering the Integrated Programme
Schools that offer IP leading to the International Baccalaureate Diploma
Schools that offer IP leading to the GCE Advanced Level
- Catholic High School (from 2013) 
- Cedar Girls' Secondary School (with Victoria Junior College)
- CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School (from 2013) 
- Dunman High School 
- Hwa Chong Institution 
- Methodist Girls' School (with Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) (from 2013) 
- Nanyang Girls' High School (with Hwa Chong Institution) 
- National Junior College 
- Raffles Girls' School (Secondary) (with Raffles Institution (Junior College)) 
- Raffles Institution (Secondary) (with Raffles Institution (Junior College)) 
- River Valley High School 
- Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (from 2013) 
- Temasek Junior College 
- Victoria School (with Victoria Junior College)
School that offers IP leading to NUS High School Diploma
Criticism of the Integrated Programme
Some people[who?] have raised a point in the Singapore newspaper The Straits Times that since the A-level system follows a structured format, some IP students may be at a disadvantage as compared to their mainstream counterparts even though they may have a higher intellectual capacity.
The success of an IP student is based on an assumption that students are self-disciplined enough to ensure that they manage their time well and be diligent in their studies, so that they will remember all the core content taught to them and yet find enough time to engage actively in independent learning.
However, this may be considered a utopian ideal. Without an important watershed intervening national examination to help them focus, students may simply let their guard down.
This programme is allegedly for clearly university-bound students. It can thus be inferred that if an IP student under-performs in the A-level examination, a rare case, because the number of IP retainees is small, the student will face drastic consequences. For non-IP students who fail to perform well in the A-level, they still have their O-level qualifications, which act as a "safety net". However, in the absence of this "safety net", IP students who under-perform in the A-level will have only their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) certificate to fall back on.
- "Secondary Education > Other Programmes > Integrated Programme". Ministry of Education, Singapore. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "Implementation of Integrated Programme (IP) on Track". Press Releases. Ministry of Education, Singapore. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "Some students fail to thrive on Integrated Programme scheme". The Straits Times. 22 December 2011.