Is the secondary school Integrated Programme really as good as people make it out to be? If your child has been offered a place in the Integrated Programme, do you know what is in store for your child?
In this article, let us satisfy your curiosity about the Integrated Programme, including what the programme is about, and what to expect from the programme.
What is the Integrated Programme?
The Integrated Programme is an education track for students in Singapore which lets them do without the O Levels, and sit for the A Levels or International Baccalaureate at the end of a 6-year curriculum. IP students will go through 4 years of secondary school, then 2 years in the junior college that’s affiliated to their secondary school.
Only the top 10% of students according to their PSLE scores are offered places in the Integrated Programme. The rationale is to give these bright students more time and avenues to explore their talents or develop soft skills, for example, through immersion programmes, leadership camps, talent programmes, and more.
There are a number of differences between studying in the Integrated Programme and in the O Level track, which majority of Singapore students will experience. However, in this article, we will be focusing on what you can expect in the Integrated Programme itself.
Advantages of IP
- Students get more time & opportunities to explore their interests
- IP schools generally have more resources and programmes for students
- Students have a near-guaranteed placement into a junior college in Singapore
Disadvantages of IP
- Students who end up deciding to go to poly or overseas for pre-uni studies may need to take additional exams or the O levels, taking up more time
- IP students may have lost the momentum to study by the time the A Levels are near
- Some students may end up doing badly because they are unable to get used to the IP system
What to expect as a student in the IP
Everyone is smart
No surprise here – as only the top 10% of students in Singapore are awarded placed in the IP, you will find that your child’s classmates are generally very intelligent and book smart. What this means for your child is that they will begin to see their grades drop. No longer will they top the class as easily as before.
However, do not despair! The very fact that your child is in the IP means they have the intelligence and potential. Don’t let the initial drop in grades scare you too much. Instead, focus on helping your child develop good studying habits that will help them in the long run.
Teachers expect independent learning
Most IP secondary schools have their own curriculum, which will generally steer towards the A levels or IB diploma syllabus, but may be arranged or taught differently from school to school. It’s normal to have no textbooks for some subjects, and teachers expect students to take charge of their own learning.
Your child may be tasked to read up on a topic independently and journaling their thoughts, do a presentation, take part in a panel discussion, or complete a group project. You should not expect your child to be spoonfed the answers in the IP. What you can encourage them to do is to be proactive in clarifying their doubts or consulting their teachers, or learn to find their own answers from reliable sources.
Subjects you won’t find anywhere else
Your child’s school may not have subjects called social studies, English, or E Math or A Math. What you will find instead are subjects like Integrated Humanities, Language Arts, and Integrated Math. Some schools have their own subjects unique to them, such as Inquiry & Advocacy (in RGS), Governance and Society (NJC), and the Raffles Philosophy Programme (RI).
To know more about the subjects offered by each school, we advise parents to attend the schools’ open houses.
Talent programmes and extra activities
In addition to subjects, all IP schools also have their own slew of talent development programmes to cater to varying interests and talents. With each programme, there will be opportunities for additional training, competitions, and resources provided to further your child’s talents.
These are not limited to academic-related talents. There are also cultural programmes, higher art and music electives, leadership programmes, as well as service learning projects to get involved with.
Your helping hand in the IP
With all that’s happening in the IP, it’s not easy for IP students to cope with all that’s expected of them. As a result, many students start to see their academic performance suffer. But without going through the IP themselves, parents may find it hard to support your child in the IP.
Never worry! As experienced tutors for IP students, our tutors are more than happy to extend our hand to help struggling IP students with their academic woes through tutoring solutions like our IP Math tuition classes. Our team is made up of IP school alumni, ex IP school teachers, and highly experienced tutors who have taught many years of IP students. Often, we also share ideas and updates on the best ways to teach and help IP students.
We’re not your run-of-the-mill tuition centre, but a group of dedicated tutors who want to see our students do well. And we do so by:
- Providing customised lessons and notes
- Imparting thinking and answering skills, not just content
- Fuelling our students’ interest in the subject
- Being highly knowledgeable (we are NIE-trained, some have Master’s/PhDs, and immense years of teaching experience)
Do make sure to check out our classes, including IP Chemistry tuition and more, and contact us to register today!