The Educational Television Service (ETV) was officially launched by then Minister for Education Ong Pang Boon on 29 January 1967. ETV was conceptualised as a teaching aid to introduce dynamism to school curricula through the use of educational broadcasting by the government. Its recording studio was housed at the Teachers’ Training College along Paterson Road. The government provided all secondary schools with a television set for viewing the programmes, although some schools purchased an additional set with their own funds.
The first programme was broadcast on 30 January 1967. It was a mathematics lesson for secondary one students called “Approximation and Error”. For the first school term until 7 April 1967, the programmes were broadcast from Mondays to Fridays over Television Singapura’s Channel 8 in two sessions: 8.30 am to 12.45 pm and 2 pm to 6.10 pm. The morning session featured six 20-minute lessons that were repeated in the second session for the benefit of the afternoon schools. Every programme was repeated six times weekly to make it easier for teachers to fit them into class schedules. Lessons on subjects such as mathematics, science, languages, literature and social studies were featured and produced in all four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. A quarterly magazine, etv Singapura, was also published to provide schools with information on upcoming programmes.
Between 1968 and 1969, attempts were made to improve the quality of ETV programmes, such as introducing film animation and producing colourful charts for teachers to use as teaching aids. ETV also started producing adult-learning programmes such as “English for Everyone” and “Music for You”. Requests from primary schools and a review of ETV in 1968 resulted in the extension of its services to primary schools and pre-university institutions in 1971.
In 1974, the ETV was renamed the Singapore Educational Media Service (SEMS) to reflect its additional functions, which now included the production of audio-visual media. In June 1980, SEMS was reorganised into the Division of Educational Technology (DET) under the newly established Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore (CDIS).
Following CDIS’s restructuring in 1996, DET became a separate entity known as the Educational Technology Division (ETD). ETV programming then came under the charge of ETD’s EdTech Development Branch. As the ETD increasingly focused its efforts on developing new technologies such as CD-ROMs and VCDs for schools, ETV broadcasts ceased from September 1999.
1. Ong: ETV won’t take jobs from teachers. (1967, January 29). The Straits Times, p. 8; Room for improvement in Educational TV: Head. (1967, June 2). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Classroom TV starts in Singapore. (1967, January 31). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. TV lessons to begin in the new term. (1966, December 27). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; The Straits Times, 31 Jan 1967, p. 1.
4. Tan, S. L., & Chen, A. Y. (1990). 25 years of educational technology utilisation. In J. S. K. Yip & W. K. Sim (Eds.). Evolution of educational excellence: 25 years of education in the Republic of Singapore (p. 116). Singapore: Longman Singapore. Call no.: RSING 370.95957 EVO.
5. Tan, S. L. (1982). Education and media in Singapore: A case study. Media Asia, 9(4), 218–220 (218). Call no.: RSING 301.16095 MA.
6. Tan & Chen, 1990, pp. 116–117.
7. English lessons on TV in Malay, Mandarin. (1968, January 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan & Chen, 1990, p. 117.
8. Tan, W. J. (1970, September 17). ETV for 200,000 primary pupils next year. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; First ETV programmes for pre-U students next month. (1970, December 30). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan & Chen, 1990, p. 117.
9. Tan & Chen, 1990, p. 117; Education TV service gets new name. (1974, July 12). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Sems will be CDIS’ education technology arm. (1980, May 30). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Ministry of Education. (1996, November 25). Establishment of Educational Technology and Curriculum Planning and Development divisions [Press release]. Retrieved from Ministry of Education website: http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/press/1996/pr03596.htm
12. Ministry of Education. (1999, November 6). Hop on It! Release of new multimedia resources [Press release]. Retrieved from Ministry of Education website: http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/press/1999/pr991106a.htm
The information in this article is valid as at Sep 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.