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    Sep 24, 2014

    More support, less admin work for teachers

    TEACHERS who have long bemoaned the amount of administrative work they have to do are getting some reprieve.

    Schools will be making an effort to simplify programmes and activities, so as to improve processes and relieve teachers of some administrative work.

    This means "more time and space for our teachers to do things better, and to do better things; and to have wisdom to decide what to do more of, and what to do less of", said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.

    The Ministry of Education (MOE) has already streamlined some processes, he said, such as the School Excellence Model - a tool used for schools' appraisal - and a system for teachers' appraisal and career planning, known as the Enhanced Performance Management System.

    The School Excellence Model now has 24 sub-criteria, instead of the previous 31, and 30 key measures of performance, down from the original 78.

    The revised Enhanced Performance Management System form now spans five pages, instead of 15 in the past.

    In a speech at his ministry's annual workplan seminar, Mr Heng cited examples of teachers having to carry out administrative tasks that sometimes create "extra work", such as filling in multiple forms, and chasing students and parents for consent forms.

    "Teaching is a complex job," he said. "Our teachers often go the extra mile to organise activities to develop our students holistically. This means organising learning experiences in school and outside of school, and even overseas trips."

    While some tasks have good intentions and are necessary to create an "impactful learning experience for students", he noted that, when put together, they can be overwhelming for teachers.

    The ministry's schools division "will engage schools and school leaders during their annual review of programmes and processes, to discuss how each school can simplify, scale and strengthen, and how MOE headquarters can support (educators) in a systematic way".

    This could be in the form of technology, he said, in areas such as attendance-taking, parent notifications, consent forms, collection of monies and booking facilities.

    Innovations and good practices started by schools will also be shared with other schools, he said, adding that MOE will strengthen centralised support for schools.

    For instance, schools will have finance partners from the ministry who will provide "one-stop support" for more complex procurement and finance issues.