Singapore kids shed shirts, learn in PJs as weekly homeschooling begins

Singaporean primary school students study online. Photos: Dasukisyaaban/Instagram, Mommymsz/Instagram
Singaporean primary school students study online. Photos: Dasukisyaaban/Instagram, Mommymsz/Instagram

Singaporean primary school students woke up to a different kind of life on April Fool’s Day. 

Instead of putting on uniforms and hopping onto a school bus, they jumped straight into online lessons clad in their pajamas (some without) and faced technical glitches along the way. 

The first of rotating days for students to alternate learning from home didn’t go off without a hitch due to system outages, and social media was afroth with parental anxiety. Singapore’s helicopter parents were “nervous” about the new home-school arrangement implemented to reduce physical interaction amid fears of COVID-19, which has infected at least 926 people and killed three in Singapore as of yesterday.


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First day of HBL. Let’s do this parents and teachers! 💪🏼#firstdayofquarantineschool #homebasedlearning

A post shared by Mrs. Z (@mommymsz) on

“Happy Wednesday at 7:30am! It’s April Fool’s and the joke’s on us! Good luck to all parents out there with multiple primary school-going kids in Singapore! Wednesday Home-Based Learning will be our new Monday. Together we can!” Instagram user and mother @Immeraviya posted this morning with a photo of her three kids who had their eyes glued to their respective laptops. 

Another mother took half a day off of work to supervise her child. 

“Home-based Learning is so exciting and nervous… hahaha for the parents I think!

Got to take half day from work to go through it with her for the ‘first time.’ Luckily I saw there are 2 sessions, AM and PM so I do the latter. Wish me luck!” Instagram user @Zenling15 posted with a photo showing a peek of her child’s assignment.

The new homeschooling arrangement was announced Friday by the Ministry of Education. Primary school students will learn from home Wednesdays, secondary students on Thursdays and tertiary students, including those from junior colleges, on Fridays. 

“With further enhanced measures, we have been able to open schools as planned following the March school holidays. However, the recent spike in imported cases signals a new phase in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” the ministry wrote in its announcement. “To support further safe distancing, schools will progressively transit to a blended learning model, starting with one day of Home-Based Learning (HBL) a week.”

The new measure does not apply to kindergarteners. 

All schools use a centralized platform called Singapore Student Learning Space, or SLS, to conduct the online lessons, which are prepared by teachers in advance. Teachers also prepare a lesson schedule for students to follow when learning from home. 

Homeschooling began with a fair number of technical glitches this morning, mainly due to overwhelming server load. 

Twitter user @Vijayanharidas said the service was “unresponsive” at one point.

“Home Based learning today for Primary schools in #Singapore as planned by #MOE. Guess too much traffic is pouring in that the site has gone unresponsive. A good time to review the stress test of traffic into the site. #COVIDー19 is making all organisations test their IT Infra too,” he tweeted.

Instagram user @Py_liang said the site went down “after 10 mins” and left her staring at a screen reading “I am temporarily unavailable.” 

Schools are expected to provide assistance to students who do not own electronic devices. 

One student appeared to have found an alternative to laptops and tablets – the good old television. 

“Let’s do this #homebasedlearning #SLS #noneedshirt,” read the caption to a photo of the boy sitting in front of what looks like a 30-inch television posted to Instagram by @Dasukisyaaban, using a hashtag referring to the boy’s clothing-optional arrangement.


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Let’s do this #homebasedlearning #SLS #noneedshirt

A post shared by Dasuki Syaaban (@dasukisyaaban) on


Other stories you should see:

Tidy Singapore turns into tape town to keep people divided (Photos)
Decongestion Pricing: Singapore roads to go (mostly) free next week

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