Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced that there will be no more Normal Technical (NT), Academic (NA) or Express streams by 2024. There is also a plan for N- & O-Level examinations to be combined into one common major national examination.

With this, subject based banding (SBB) will be introduced as well. This is to reduce stigmatisation such as NT students only can reach a certain level whereas an Express student can reach a much higher level. 

SBB maps in this way:

  • Normal (Technical) level -> General (1) or G1
  • Normal (Academic) -> General (2) or G2
  • Express -> General (3) or G3

So a student who is good in Math but bad in Geography can take a G3 Math and a G1 Geography.

After reading this, I can't help but feel like this is still a form of streaming, Instead of doing it on a whole, it has just been cut down to streaming by subjects. Getting rid of the "streaming" is nothing more than an illusion created by the Government. Getting rid of stigamatisation? Kids taking G3 subjects can still look down on kids taking on G1 subjects. Just because you changed the names does not mean anything.

Getting rid of N- & O-Level examinations also does not take away stigmatisation. Students are still going to get streamed into the ITE, Poly or JC routes. Think about the times the ITE kids were told that It's The End. Or students from RP being called ITE Woodlands. 

Getting rid of stigmatisation is not that easy. Just by changing our Secondary school education will not help with this. Not only are the people from lower streams stimatised. Those white horses are too. There are also students with good family backgrounds "paying" their way through their education. A genius who is not given the same chances and opportunities as mediocre white horses still have a high chance of falling behind them. 

There is more to stimatisation than just our secondary school grades. But obviously, people from the ivory towers will see otherwise, messing our lives like we're pawns on a chessboard. Well.. At least some of us don't have to study for five years in our Secondary schools anymore.

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