In recent discourse in the Singaporean Parliament, Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim of Sengkang GRC seeks clarification regarding the eligibility criteria for the Higher Mother Tongue Language (HMTL) program in secondary school. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has responded, shedding light on the rationale behind these criteria.
For students aspiring to embark on the enriching journey of Higher Mother Tongue Language in secondary school, achieving a PSLE score of AL 14 or lower is a crucial requirement. But why this specific score threshold?
According to MOE, HMTL demands a higher level of commitment and academic rigor, covering additional content and skills compared to standard Mother Tongue Language (MTL). Therefore, the eligibility criteria, as indicated by the PSLE AL score of 14 or lower, serves as a measure to ensure that students have the requisite academic capacity to successfully navigate this demanding linguistic journey. Importantly, this criterion safeguards against students compromising their overall academic performance while pursuing excellence in HMTL.
However, MOE emphasizes that these criteria are not rigid boundaries. Individual secondary schools retain the flexibility to admit students with PSLE AL scores above 14, provided they exhibit a strong aptitude and passion for their mother tongue languages. The key consideration is the student’s ability to effectively manage the additional workload without detriment to their overall educational progress.
MOE’s goal is to ensure that learning HMTL is not a burden but a joyful opportunity to embrace the language and its richness. HMTL represents an opportunity for linguistic excellence within the secondary school curriculum, and the eligibility criteria are designed to strike a balance between maintaining high standards and ensuring that passionate language enthusiasts can explore this enriching pathway with enthusiasm.