Written by: Rita Magallona
The government has declared that “all primary, secondary, pre-university, and institute of higher learning (IHL) students, including students from special education (SPED) schools will shift to full home-based learning” (HBL) from 8 April to 4 May. This is part of the heightened safe distancing measures implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Private schools have also been instructed to either shift to HBL or to suspend classes. Also, all preschools, Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens, student care centres, and special student care centres will suspend their general services.
What happens during the HBL period?
Schools will continue to conduct lessons to their students, providing ways and means for students to have access to HBL materials, both online and hardcopy. Online instruction and interaction will be done on the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS) platform.
Here’s what you need to know about the implementation of HBL in Singapore.
Can the SLS handle all of the students who will be using it during HBL?
While there were some initial problems caused by the increased usage, MOE has resolved the issues by implementing a series of technical measures. The MOE has also advised schools on ways to help students have a smoother experience in using the SLS.
Also, schools will not be using SLS exclusively. They will also use a variety of available online tools to teach and provide resources. On top of that, schools will also use offline methods like giving reading and activity assignments using physical textbooks and workbooks.
What if students don’t have the needed devices?
As mentioned earlier, HBL will have both online and offline components, so devices will not be required the whole time. This would allow siblings to take turns in using available devices.
However, if the school has set your child’s HBL plan to require using a computer or other similar device, you can contact the school and ask for assistance. Rest assured that schools are equipped with enough of the needed devices that they can loan out to their students as needed.
Will examinations push through?
Generally, all school-based mid-year examinations are cancelled. Individual schools will review and modify their plans so that teaching, learning, and assessment can continue through HBL.
On the other hand, national examinations, such as the mid-year-GCE O- and A-Level Mother Tongue examinations, Year-End examinations, and the PSLE will proceed as planned but with added precautionary measures.
Can students go back to the school premises?
Unless they have been cleared for limited-service arrangements or to use the school computers, students are strongly advised to stay home and not go out unless absolutely necessary.
Where can parents who are working in essential services get childcare?
Parents working in essential services and are unable to get alternative childcare may contact their children’s schools for assistance. Preschools will also be able to serve a limited number of children of parents who can’t make alternative childcare arrangements.
If you want to know more about the HBL, you can refer to MOE’s FAQs.
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