In Singapore’s mainstream schools, it is natural for kids to learn a second language other than English, known as Mother Tongue, and it typically follows the student’s Mother Tongue.

Furthermore, most Singaporean schools allow pupils to study Higher Mother Tongue Languages (HMTL), including Higher Chinese Language (HCL). So what precisely is it, and should your child strive for it?

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about HCL!

What exactly is HCL?

HCL studies is a supplementary topic taught to pupils that focus on an advanced level of the standard Primary or Secondary School Chinese language.

Is it necessary to learn Higher Chinese?

At the elementary level, schools often provide the course at the Primary 4 or 5 standard Chinese level to children with at least a 70-mark grade. The term “Primary” refers to the fact that this is the first time the term has been used.

The criteria get a little more complicated at the Secondary level. If your child is in the top 10-30 percentile with a standard Chinese score of A*, they will be eligible for HCL. In addition, they will be eligible if they already have a merit for HCL on their PSLE score from primary school or are in the top 10% of their cohort.

The distinction between standard Chinese and HCL

HCL incorporates 20-30% more words in its teachings each chapter than standard Chinese and needs a higher level of writing, vocabulary, comprehension, and inference abilities.

While traditional Chinese examinations often contain listening and spoken components, HCL tests do not. Instead, students will concentrate solely on two components: comprehension and writing.

Should You Enrol Your Child in HCL?

Aside from eligibility, whether your child should take HCL truly relies on the direction you and your child want to pursue, or the academic route they want.

First and foremost, if your child is already interested in the Chinese language, they should consider taking HCL since it will help them by boosting their levels and providing them with a firmer foundation in the Chinese language.

If your child desires to attend a SAP or IP Secondary school after primary school, taking HCL for PSLE gives them an edge. Moreover, learning HCL at an earlier level implies they can flourish in the Chinese language at Secondary school since they have already developed a good foundation.

If your child is considering going to Junior College (JC) after high school, they should take HCL. Students who took and passed HCL during their O Levels will be spared from taking H1 Chinese as an A Level subject, allowing them to decrease their load during their JC years.

On the other side, if your child shows little interest in the Chinese language or is already struggling to keep up with the standard number of topics, then taking HCL may not be the best option right now. And that’s all there is to know about HCL!