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Education in Singapore

Better Essays
Professor S. Gopinathan provided us with critical perspectives on the Singapore curriculum. His sharing premised on the notion that curriculum is socially constructed and contingent upon socio-economic trends. This paper aims to affirm this notion by discussing curriculum agendas and the tensions that prevail in light of new initiatives such as the renewed emphasis in Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) and the focus on the framework for 21st Century Competencies (21CC).
There is today a proliferation of information arising from global connectivity; and free exchange of diverse views and ideas that has resulted in a paradigm shift where social norms are being redefined, ideologies and identities challenged. While globalisation presents new opportunities, it also increases competition and polarises societies. It is imperative that our youths stay informed of local and global issues, and develops the competencies to respond to global trends and the emergence of technological advancements. In 2010, the Ministry of Education (MOE) introduced the 21CC Framework.1 This can be seen as strategic when placed “in the context of developing the intellectual capital of young citizens in order that Singapore thrives in the new environment” (Lee, 2011, p. 508). because mastery of 21CC will likely bring about benefits at the individual, economic and societal level. “Human capital development and a consistent insistence on its relevance to socio-economic growth was a key driver of education policy and practice.” (as cited in Gopinathan S. & Mardiana A.B., 2013, p. 22). S. Gopinathan (2009, p. 245) noted that in 1992, Mr Goh Chok Tong made a strong direct correlation between national productivity with investment in basic education and skills ...

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...he words of Mr Goh C.T., providing an unwavering emphasis to National Education, the preservation of academic rigour, and inculcation of competencies necessary for national growth. Perhaps the way forward is to consider Lee’s (2012) proposal for a future-oriented citizenship that expects and requires citizens to be active agents who participate in co-constructing a better society together with the state. While she basks in her reputation of having a world-class education system, Singapore would need to acknowledge existing tensions. This could mean extending and deepening the Singapore Conversations6 to consider intimate consultations and co-development with a rising population of active citizens who also question the brand of meritocracy and national identity today. Indeed, it is an arduous task that might challenge the existing curriculum, urging greater reforms.