The term “information and communication technology (ICT)” is used in all of Singapore’s ICT-in-Education Masterplans, but no official definition of the term was provided. In 2019, the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s Masterplan for ICT-in-Education was renamed the Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan to “reflect an evolving plan that better responds to the rapid changes in technology and driving forces affecting education”.
The 2018 Cybersecurity Code of Practice for Critical Information Infrastructure defines “information technology” as the “arrangement of interconnected computers that is used in the storing, accessing, processing, analysing and sending of information, for example: computing and telecommunications equipment” (Article 1.2.1). The 2016 Government Technology Agency Act (as amended in 2020) defines “info-communications technology” as “any technology employed in the collection, storage, use or transmission of information, and includes a technology that involves the use of a computer or a telecommunication system” (Article 2).
Constitution and laws: There is no reference to technology in education in Singapore’s 1965 Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (last amended in 2019), 1957 Education Act (last amended in 2020), 1958 Education (Schools) Regulations (last amended in 2013), or 2009 Private Education Act (last amended in 2020).
There is no general ICT Act, but the government has several laws that refer to ICT, or Information Technology (IT) without any specific mention of primary or secondary education, such as the 2016 Government Technology Agency Act (last amended in 2020) and the 2018 Cybersecurity Code of Practice for Critical Information Infrastructure (last amended 2022).
The 1999 Telecommunications Act (last amended 2020)regulates the telecommunications industry in Singapore, with no explicit mention of education institutions or schools. Facilities-Based Operation (“FBO”) licensees designated as Public Telecommunications Licensees (“PTLs”) under Section 6 of the OpenNet’s Media Release by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (now the Infocomm Media Development Authority) are subject to Universal Service Obligations (“USO”) (including universal internet access) as part of OpenNet’s service obligation.
Policies, plans and strategies: Singapore has had five different information and communication technology (ICT) Master Plans since 1997, namely ICT-in-Education Masterplan 1 (1997–2002), ICT-in-Education Masterplan 2 (2003–2008), ICT-in-Education Masterplan 3 (2009–2014), ICT-in-Education Masterplan 4 (2015 – 2019), and Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan (2020 – present).
The first ICT-in-Education Masterplan 1 (mp1) covered the period 1997 – 2002 and laid a strong foundation for schools to integrate ICT by providing basic infrastructure and equipping teachers with a basic level of digital competency.
The second ICT-in-Education Masterplan 2 (mp2) covered the period 2003 – 2008 and built on the strong foundation of mp1 for the effective use of ICT in education. Key priorities included all schools achieving a baseline of effective ICT use and strengthening the integration of ICT in curriculum and assessment.
The third ICT-in-Education Masterplan 3 (mp3) covered the period 2009 – 2014 aimed to enrich and transform student learning environments and equip students with the critical competencies and dispositions to succeed in a knowledge economy. It focused on self-directed learning, collaborative learning competencies and responsible use of ICT by students..
The fourth ICT-in-Education Masterplan 4 (mp4) covered the period 2015 – 2019 mainly focused on quality learning, aiming to help students gain knowledge through mastering subjects, acquiring 21st Century Competencies, and being responsible digital citizens. Competencies include core values (respect, responsibility, resilience, integrity, care and harmony), social-emotional competencies (self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, relationship management), and global skills (civic literacy, global awareness and cross-cultural skills; critical and inventive thinking; communication, collaboration and information skills).
The latest ICT in Education Master Plan, renamed Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan, builds on the foundation laid by past plans, focusing on the development of a technology-enriched school environment for teaching and learning. It maintains a broad 10-year vision for the period 2020 – 2030 and envisions educational technology to help make education in Singapore more self-directed, personalised, connected, and human-centred.
The ICT-Education Masterplans build upon Singapore’s Smart Nation vision of “transforming Singapore through technology” to be a competitive global city that focuses on harnessing digital technologies to build a future-ready Singapore. Education has been recognised as a key domain for transformation using technology, along with health, transport, urban solutions, and finance. According to the Smart Nation Vision, “digital technology unlocks a new realm of self-directed and collaborative learning. Relationships between students, teachers and parents, as well as capabilities of the physical infrastructure are augmented to create a holistic and conducive environment for effective learning. Routine and repetitive tasks are automated to help educators focus on the work that matters. In the long run, we will need to rethink our philosophies, content and modality of learning as technology evolves”.
The government of Singapore also launched the Digital Readiness Blueprint in 2018, with education-related recommendations focusing on digital access, literacy, and participation. Digital access includes having access to basic digital enablers, and customising digital access. Digital literacy includes identifying basic digital skills, strengthening focus on information and media literacy (identifying falsehoods), ensuring that children and youth form meaningful relationships and use technology to benefit communities. Digital participation includes encouraging different organisations to help with adoption of technology, providing assistance especially to those less digitally savvy, providing support for projects and opportunities for community participation.
Digital competency frameworks: The SkillsFuture for Educators (SFEd) is a Professional Development Roadmap for teachers introduced in the latest Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan that includes the development of teacher digital competencies through its e-Pedagogy strategy. For students, the Digital Literacy Framework was updated in 2020 as part of MOE’s initiative to strengthen students’ digital literacy. Existing digital competencies include information and data literacy, safety, digital content creation and problem solving skills. Students also follow the Framework for 21st Century Competencies and Student Outcomes, which identifies a list of key competencies that are considered essential for students to develop in order to prepare them for the future and digital world. The Digital Media and Information Literacy Framework developed by the Ministry of Communications and Information guides the development of national digital literacy programs.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: MOE has been “reinventing how the education system can be different in a post-COVID-19 world”, with digitalisation as a key enabler and efforts to further personalise learning, enhance digital literacy, and develop cyber security. In March 2020, MOE updated its teacher digital competency framework by introducing the SkillsFuture for Educators (SFEd) framework and refreshed its curriculum to increase time spent on cyber wellness education and strengthen digital literacy in schools and institutes of higher learning (IHLs). Moreover, an increased number of secondary school students were provided with Personal Learning Devices (PLDs) and blended learning was implemented and strengthened to be a key feature of the education system. The 'Refreshing our Curriculum' and 'SkillsFuture for Educators' aim to enhance students' learning and support educators in nurturing future-ready learners.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Singapore’s first ICT-in-Education Masterplan 1 (1997 – 2002) focused on putting in place the basic infrastructure and hardware for all schools, for which future Masterplans would build on. Under Masterplan 1 (mp1), schools were provided with the necessary physical and technological infrastructure to allow students to spend up to 30% of the curriculum time using ICT by 2002. To achieve this target, mp1 set out national standards for the hardware and networking provisions as guidelines for schools from 1997 to 2002.
The latest Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan (2020 – 2030) aims to continually improve ICT infrastructure and systems to support teaching and learning at school and at home.
Electricity: To support mp1, MOE launched the Program for Rebuilding and Improving Existing Schools (PRIME) in 1999 which aimed to redevelop and re-equip schools that were built over the past 20-30 years to the latest building standards by providing them with additional ICT facilities such as computer laboratories, media resource libraries, ICT learning resource rooms, and an upgrade in power capacity where necessary. As part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, MOE has also been progressively equipping schools with solar panels in order to reach one of its key targets of getting at least 20% of schools to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
Computers and devices: MOE has had national standards for hardware use in schools since mp1, during which all schools were provided with the necessary physical and ICT infrastructure for ICT-based teaching and learning. As part of mp1, primary schools were provided with an initial student-computer ratio of 6.6:1, while secondary schools and junior colleges had an initial student-computer ratio of 5:1. Schools were also given computer laboratories (three in each primary school, four in each secondary school, and five in each junior college) and were allowed to opt for a mix of desktops and notebook computers to provide more flexibility in arranging students for group learning and overcoming space constraints. In mp2, ICT standards were improved to provide greater access to computers by students for learning, with a renewed student-computer ratio of 6.5:1 for primary schools and 4:1 for secondary schools, junior colleges, and centralised institutes.
In the 1980s, MOE had also initiated projects such as the School Link Project to bring ICT into schools through the provision of computers for administration and for teachers' use as part of the National Computerisation Plan, one of the first three national ICT master plans (1980s to 1992). In 2007, MOE additionally launched the FutureSchools@Singapore (FS@SG) project as part of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA’s) EdVantage program that supported about 5% of all schools to integrate ICT into their teaching and learning process by 2015. These schools were provided with ICT-enabled teaching and learning environments, including a 1-to-1 computing environment for all students, with the aim to foster and sustain innovations in curriculum, instruction, and assessment that would fully leverage on ICT to bring about engaged learning in students. The successful models and ICT-based learning resources and tools would then be adapted for use by the LEAD ICT schools and, in turn, will then be adapted by the rest of the schools after these models, resources, and tools have been proven to be effective for learning in the LEAD ICT Schools.
In addition, MOE has several schemes to support lower-income students obtain digital devices, such as the IMDA NEU PC Plus (NPP) programme which offers affordable computers and broadband access to students and people with disabilities from low income families and MOE Opportunity Fund (OF). In 2015 – 2019, close to 20,000 students in schools under MOE, and 4,000 students from the polytechnics and ITE benefited from the IMDA NPP programme. Further, about 19,000 polytechnic and ITE students benefitted from the OF for the purchase of devices. Students may access more than one scheme. Besides financial support from OF and NPP, schools and institutions may loan devices and mobile routers to students who need them for their classroom lessons or home-based learning.
COVID-19 accelerated efforts in this area. As of June 2020, MOE has progressively rolled out Personal Learning Devices (PLDs) to secondary school students as part of its initiative to strengthen digital literacy in the Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan (2020 – 2030), with an aim for all Secondary One students to own their own school-prescribed laptop or tablet by 2024 and progressively reach all secondary school students by 2028. MOE offers a $200 top-up to Edusave accounts for all eligible Singaporean students to support the purchase of the device (an increase from last year’s $150 top-up). Students from lower-income households receive further subsidies so that they do not incur any out-of-pocket expenses. PLDs aim to enhance teaching and learning through e-pedagogy and personalising students’ learning experience.
Internet connectivity: The first ICT Masterplan (mp1) aimed to connect all schools to the internet with a 5:1 computer ratio. Schools were initially linked through a wide area network, which was eventually connected to the highspeed backbone of Singapore ONE (using fibre-optic technology). Towards the end of the first phase of the plan in 2002, Singapore was ranked second in the world (after Finland) for the availability of internet access in schools according to the then Global Competitiveness Report (2001–2002). In mp2, MOE segregated the schools’ network from that of the ministry to give schools a more flexible network environment. Schools were allowed to experiment with new technologies such as a wireless network as well as higher bandwidth of direct access to the Internet. By 2014, the overall ICT infrastructure in schools had improved to allow for high speed broadband and 4G access island-wide.
Singapore also subjects Facilities-Based Operation (“FBO”) licensees designated as Public Telecommunications Licensees (“PTLs”) under Section 6 of the 1999 Telecommunications Act to Universal Service Obligations. The Universal Service Obligation requires PTLs to provide certain telecom services (including internet access) upon request by end users since 2013 as part of OpenNet.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
From the second ICT-in-Education Masterplan 3 (mp3), MOE has aimed to effectively integrate ICT in different aspects of the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. The focus of the fourth ICT-in-Education Masterplan (mp4) was the end-to-end integration of ICT into curriculum, pedagogy and assessment of subject disciplines and supporting resources. Strategies included the integration of ICT into the national curriculum, the provision of quality online learning resources for students, and the incorporation of ICT in assessment and digital learning. One of the initiatives of mp4was the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS). The SLS is an online learning platform that provides equal access to quality curriculum-aligned resources in major subjects from primary to pre-university level, in line with the development of 21st Century Competencies (21CC). The system allows teachers to conduct lessons both synchronously and asynchronously. The SLS aims to enable learners to be independent and self-directed with the ability to personalise their learning according to their needs and interests. All school leaders, teachers, and students in the national school system have access to the SLS. The SLS also serves as a common online platform for teachers to apply, adapt and share new pedagogies by facilitating collaborations across classrooms and schools. This also allows teachers to cater to diverse learning needs.
In the latest Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan (2020 – 2030), there are various strategies to empower students’ self-directed learning. This includes the Personal Learning Device (PLD) Initiative, the use of blended learning as a regular feature of the schooling experience through Home-Based Learning (HBL) days, as well as harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance teaching and learning through the AI-enabled Student Learning Space (SLS) for digital resources and e-assessments. The Classroom of the Future (CotF) initiative also supports the delivery of user-centric technological solutions to support connected and personalised learning.
In April 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the MOE directed the closure of all schools in Singapore, which were required to shift to Home-Based Learning (HBL) for a specified period. During this period, students were provided with both online and hardcopy HBL materials.
As a result of COVID-19, blended learning was made a key feature of the schooling experience, with regularly scheduled HBL days which complement teaching and learning in schools. HBL days are supported by the use of ICT such as the Singapore Student Learning Space, and by device provisioning under the National Digital Literacy Programme (NDLP), which aimed for all secondary students to own a personal learning device (PLD) by the end of 2021. Students who require additional support for their learning, or whose home environment is not conducive for HBL can return to school for HLB days, during which they will still be learning independently, wih the freedom to organise their learning schedule but in a school setting.
MOE has been supporting the development of students’ digital skills through its various ICT-in-Education Masterplans. The ICT-in-Education Masterplan 3 (2009 – 2014) aimed to equip students with critical competencies and dispositions to succeed in a knowledge-based economy, while ICT-in-Education Masterplan 4 (2015 – 2019) supported students in acquiring 21st Century Competencies and being responsible digital citizens. The vision of the fourth ICT-in-Education Masterplan is to nurture “Future-ready and Responsible Digital Learners”, with objectives including deepening digital learning in the areas of cyber-wellness and fostering responsible and safe media literacy.
The Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan (2020 – 2030) aims to make students future-ready digital learners that are self-directed, connected and who leverage technology for learning to digitally create and navigate the digital space in a safe and responsible way. One of the strategies of the latest EdTech Plan is to provide students with opportunities to create artifacts using digital technology, including programming robots, coding applications, producing music, creating visual art, and learning digital fabrication techniques like 3D printing. In March 2020, MOE embarked on an initiative to refresh the curriculum through strengthening digital literacy to better prepare students for an increasingly complex, interconnected and tech-driven world. Strategies for strengthening digital literacy under the National Digital Literacy Program included expanding the ‘Code for Fun’ program at primary level (which teaches students computational thinking and coding through visual programming-based lessons), enhancing cyber wellness education such as handling peer pressure andusing PLDs. There is also an increase ing the number of schools offering O-Level and A-Level Computing subjects, with revision of the Lower Secondary Science syllabus in 2021 to help students develop a better understanding of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other advancements in technology. This includes enhancing support for the development of Computational Thinking in the secondary Mathematics curriculum and providing instructional materials that help students build a better understanding of emerging technologies in their daily lives.
The ICT-in-Education Masterplan 2 was the first Masterplan to set a baseline of ICT standards that every student in the system was expected to attain at a certain education level. In 2020, as part of MOE’s initiative to Strengthen Student Digital Literacy, the Ministry introduced an updated Digital Literacy Framework for students. The Digital Literacy Framework includes four components as different skills that learners of all ages are expected to acquire: 1) 'Find’ (gathering, evaluating and using information from digital resources in a safe, secure, responsible and ethical way), 2) ‘Think’ (interpreting and analysing data, and solving problems), ‘Apply’ (using software and devices to facilitate the use of knowledge and skills and keeping up with technological developments) and ‘Create' (producing content and artefacts, and engaging and collaborating with others digitally). The 2018 Digital Readiness Blueprint additionally aims to prepare students to navigate the online environment and equip them with socio-emotional competencies and sound values so that they are able to “exercise self-management, form positive peer relationships and resolve conflicts, and make responsible decisions online”. In addition to cyber wellness-related values and skills, the government places emphasis on the development of attitudes and values that will be essential in the context of a Smart Nation and helping children and youth “see how technology can be an enabler for doing good”.
Students are also expected to acquire skills within the Framework for 21st Century Competencies and Student Outcomes, which are a set of core values and competencies that MOE considers essential for students to be prepared for the future. These are mainly divided into core values (respect, responsibility, resilience, integrity, care, harmony), social-emotional competencies (self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision -making, social awareness, relationship management), and 21st century competencies for a globalised world (civic literacy, global awareness and cross-cultural skills, critical and inventive thinking, communication, collaboration and information skills). Together, these core values and competencies are expected to help students embody the Desired Outcomes of Education at key stages of their education so that they are able to capitalise on the rich opportunities of the digital age.
MOE strongly supports STEM education through a partnership with STEM inc, a unit under the Science Centre Singapore to help with improving STEM education in Singapore. STEM education in Singapore integrates the four disciplines into one cohesive learning model that focuses on real-world examples, known as the Applied Learning Programme (ALP). The Applied Learning Programme (ALP) was started by the MOE in 2013 to promote more authentic and practice-oriented learning experiences for students in Primary (Grades 1-6, aged 7-12) and Secondary schools (Grades 7-10, aged 13-16), emphasizing the relevance of what is being taught to the current and future social and industry needs and trends. Schools may design their own ALP curriculum or work with the industry, community-based entities, institutions of higher learning, and/or professional training bodies to offer the curriculum. Among the ALP, which could cover STEM, languages, humanities, business, entrepreneurship, aesthetics, and so on, STEM ALP is one of the most popular programme in schools. All primary schools have been directed to set up ALP programmes by 2023.
All students (regardless of gender) are encouraged to join STEM courses, with special encouragement for more female students to take up courses and careers in STEM. MOE additionally supports the Promotion of Women in Engineering, Research and Science (POWERS) Programme launched in 2021 which seeks to create a supportive ecosystem to build the next generation of women leaders in STEM. The POWERS programme also conducts research to address diversity barriers, and provides education and skills training for career advancement in STEM for women.
The SkillsFuture for Educators framework is an enhanced Professional Development Roadmap for teachers introduced in the latest EdTech Plan that aims to improve their competencies and encourage lifelong learning. Teachers will focus on enhancing their practice in six key areas, which include e-Pedagogy. E-Pedagogy builds teachers’ capacity to design, enact and assess with technology for active learning in class and online. The rationale is to create new learning possibilities afforded by digital technologies, with implications on teaching practices being that teachers leverage digital technologies to accelerate and deepen learning by making it more active and personalised.
Since the first ICT-in-Education Masterplan, MOE has aimed to equip teachers with digital skills and competencies. The ICT-in-Education Masterplan 1 (1997 – 2002) equipped teachers with a basic level of digital competency, with teachers being required to complete a few modules of over 30 to 50 training hours of ICT training over a one-year period. In the ICT-in-Education Masterplan 4, teacher professional development included ICT skills, with the National Institute of Education (NIE) having revised its teacher preparation curricula so that graduating trainees had basic ICT skills and some core pedagogical training to be able to use the ICT resources. In the latest Educational Technology (EdTech) Plan (2020 – 2030), the vision is for teachers to be “designers and facilitators of meaningful tech-mediated learning experiences” who leverage technology to empower students and customize learning to cater to each student’s needs. Teachers are considered “digital learners” who continually develop themselves professionally to learn and share digitally and keep up to date with technological developments for teaching and learning. After COVID-19, MOE focused on exploring new ways for teachers to deliver “personalised and adaptive” teaching and learning experiences by further utilising technology.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2012 Personal Data Protection Act (as amended in 2020) provides a baseline standard for the protection of personal data in Singapore. It includes educational institutions in its definitions, defined as “an organisation that provides education, including instruction, training or teaching, whether by itself or in association or collaboration with, or by affiliation with, any other person” (Article 2). Under the provision on Disclosure of Personal Data Without Consent, the Act includes the “disclosure of personal data about an individual who is a current or former student of an educational institution to a public agency for the purposes of policy formulation or review” (Part 3, Article 2). When using technology in classrooms, the Act states that educational institutions must notify and obtain consent from students, parents, and teachers, before collecting and using personal data. Data usage practices and data protection policies must be clear and transparent in schools. Users of these platforms can request to access, update, or withdraw consent for processing their personal data. Instructions have been given to schools to either securely dispose or anonymise data once it is no longer necessary for the purposes of which it was collected. Staff also receive regular training in personal data protection to understand their responsibilities regarding data protection.
The Personal Data Protection Commission Singapore has additionally published specific Advisory Guidelines for the Education Sector in 2014 (revised in 2018), which include the application of data protection provisions to scenarios faced in the education sector, developed in consultation with MOE and Council for Private Education (CPE). The guidelines aim to address the unique circumstances faced by the education sector in complying with the 2012 Personal Data Protection Act (revised in 2020) and are relevant to educational institutions that do not fall within the definition of a public agency, such as government-aided schools, specialised independent schools, specialised schools, independent schools, and autonomous universities.
In terms of data security, schools are required to implement security measures such as secure computer networks, encryption, and regular updates of security and equipment to protect personal data from unauthorised access, retention, or disclosure. Third-party vendors providing services in schools must adhere to these data security standards, with additional privacy steps in place to ensure data security. If data is being transferred overseas, schools must ensure that the recipient country has comparable data protection laws to safeguard the data. In the event of a data breach, schools must report to the PDPC and inform individuals affected by the breach, with remedial actions shown to be taken for rectification.
The 2021 Personal Data Protection Regulations do not include educational institutions in their provisions.
MOE has also made several efforts to protect students from software that collects their personal data. This includes the temporary suspension of the use of an online platform until certain security features were added, and the reassurance that software installed on student’s personal learning devices will not track personal data (such as passwords and location), capturing only the students’ online activities to “restrict access to objectionable material”. All data collected are stored in servers managed by authorized device management application vendors that are in accordance with the government’s own personal data rules and policies. In addition, to ensure that students remain protected, teachers have been given a checklist including instructions on how they can sort out security settings of different platforms they have chosen before they invite the students to use it in class (including verification checks). To ensure that their students are safe using these platforms, schools may also add further guidelines for their teachers to follow.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The 2018 Cybersecurity Act establishes a legal framework for the oversight and maintenance of national cybersecurity in Singapore, while the 2018 Cybersecurity Code of Practice for Critical Information Infrastructure aim to regulate owners of Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) in accordance to the Cybersecurity Act. However, neither one of these documents regulates cybersecurity in schools, but mainly relate to Energy, Infocommunications, Water, Healthcare, Banking and Finance, Security and Emergency Services, Aviation, Land Transport, Maritime, Media, and the Government.
According to the 2023 Code of Practice for Online Safety, social media services, as identified in the 1994 Broadcasting Act are required to enhance online user safety, particularly for children, and curb the spread of harmful content on their service. The categories of harmful content include: sexual content; violent content; suicide and self-harm content; cyberbullying content; content endangering public health; and content facilitating vice and organised crime.
The 2014 Protection from Harassment Act (as amended in 2019) criminalises, among other things, cyber bullying, unlawful stalking and harassment within and out of the workplace (without a specific mention of schools). Schools are urged to help stop cyber attacks by adopting an internet safety policy, while school websites have been migrated to the Whole-of-Government Content Websites Platform since 2016, to allow for centralised management of the infrastructure design and implementation of adequate cybersecurity controls for these websites. MOE has also put in place several cybersecurity controls in the design, implementation and management of the Student Learning Space, which is the national digital learning platform for schools. Measures include requiring robust passwords for logins as well as regular security testing and reviews. Moreover, the Ministry is working closely with video-conferencing platform providers to ensure online live lessons are conducted in a safe and secure environment, with the security settings of these platforms being centrally managed by the Ministry.
According to the 2021 Singapore Cybersecurity Strategy, the government will work closely with schools to educate students in cybersecurity and engage youth through cybersecurity bootcamps, competitions, learning journeys, and career mentoring. Moreover, in line with the national SkillsFuture movement, the Government will encourage individuals interested in cybersecurity to further their skills through programmes offered by industry and training institutes, while school teachers and career counsellors will be equipped with knowledge of the cybersecurity sector to guide students in their career choices under the Singapore Cyber Educators initiative.
Cyber wellness education programs have been in schools since 2001, with the government constantly updating the curriculum in line with emerging issues (such as the introduction of a module on fake news in 2018). The current EdTech Plan (2020 – 2030) specifically aims to strengthen digital safety, security and responsibility of students and teachers by enhancing cyber wellness and cyber security education in the curriculum. MOE specifically aims to refresh the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE 2021) by featuring Cyber Wellness education more strongly across the curriculum. The time spent on discussing cyber wellness issues in CCE lessons specifically aims to be increased by 50% at both primary and secondary levels, in addition to cyber wellness lessons being taught through authentic scenarios such as interactive video discussions. The new curriculum will emphasise equipping students with the knowledge and skills to harness the power of ICT for positive purposes, maintain a positive presence in cyberspace, and be safe and responsible users of ICT. It will help them be able to identify and discern negative influences and inappropriate websites, and manage excessive use of social media, using authentic scenarios, such as interactive video discussions. The Cyber Wellness curriculum is organized into 5 main topics, namely, cyber use (healthy balance of online and offline activities), cyber identity (developing a healthy online identity and having appropriate online expression), cyber relationships (netiquette, cyberbullying, developing safe, respectful and meaningful online relationships), cyber citizenship (understanding the cyber world, handling online content and behavior, and having a positive presence in the cyber community), and cyber ethics (creating and sharing online content in a responsible manner, respecting copyright). MOE also offers parents several guides and kits on understanding cyberwellness, setting parental controls, and navigating the cyber world safely.
Moreover, the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore collaborates with MOE and partner agencies such as the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and IMDA to develop initiatives and resources to educate students on the dangers of the cyber world and how they can stay safe online as part of the Cyber Safe Students Program.The CSA also supports schools in the conduct of cybersecurity lessons through giving assembly talks or bringing initiatives like the Go Safe Online Pop-up and Go Safe Online Drama Skit to schools. According to the 2022 Singapore Cyber Landscape, several programs have been launched to raise student awareness on cybersecurity issues, such as the publication of the “Cyber Safety” series of student activity books for primary school students in 2016, the organization of the inaugural Youth Cyber Exploration Programme (YCEP) bootcamp to introduce secondary school students to cybersecurity fundamentals in 2018, and the launch of the National Police Cadet Corps Cybercrime Prevention Proficiency Badge to enhance students’ knowledge on cybercrime prevention in 2019. CSA has also engaged with schools, educational institutions, businesses, and grassroots communities to promote cybersecurity awareness alongside executing its mandate for creating a vibrant cybersecurity ecosystem.
The Educational Technology Division was set up to lead the integration of ICT into the school environment in Singapore. It is responsible for providing thought leadership in the effective application of educational technology, designing and implementing user-centric applications, tools and platforms (including the Student Learning Space), building capacity of school leaders, key personnel and teachers to effectively utilise educational technology to enhance student learning (especially through e-pedagogy), and developing digital media content to support curriculum, assessment, professional development and corporate communications.
The Information Technology Division aims to ensure strategic deployment of IT services and systems, and to provide quality IT services and infrastructure to enable MOE to achieve excellence in administration, management and education. Some of the division’s functions include providing expert advice on the deployment of information technologies in MOE and schools for teaching and learning, educating users on technology trends and applications, and providing accessible, reliable and integrated IT infrastructure.
The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) oversees the development of the infocomm technology, cyber security, and media sectors; the national library, national archives and public libraries; as well as Government’s information and public communication policies.. It includes the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (overseeing cyber security education), the National Library Board (NLB), IMDA (working with the education sector to “spearheard the use of infocomm” and the Personal Data Protection Commission (overseeing data protection standards which also apply to schools). The MCI is also responsible for the development of the Digital Media and Information Literacy Framework, which guides national digital literacy programs.
Finally, the STEM Inc., under the Science Centre Singapore, supports the development of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education in schools through various programmes such as the Applied Learning Program.
MOE has provided guidance for schools to develop policies and rules to regulate the use of mobile devices in schools, based on their student profiles and needs. However, there is no blanket ban of smartphones in schools. MOE monitors developments and works closely with schools to put in place measures and structures pertaining to smartphones to ensure a conducive teaching and learning environment.
Schools are generally responsible for monitoring the use of ICT in classrooms and taking preventive and intervention measures to address cyberbullying incidents. Schools should have developed an anti-bullying and cyberbullying policy which is clearly and regularly communicated, while schools are responsible for guiding students to report cyber bullying incidents to relevant online service providers.
This profile was reviewed by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation.