Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University Singapore
PP5229 Education Policy in Singapore: Comparative Perspectives
1st Semester 2015
Instructor: S Gopinathan
Education is a significant area of public policy, and one in which Singapore has a high reputation. The transformation of Singapore education, from a segregated and divisive colonial system to one which has high legitimacy, is well resourced and where student achievement is world class offers many lessons for other countries. Internationally, there is much interest in capacity building, within both developed and developing economies, in and through education, to meet more demanding societal expectations within a globalising context. Education reform, access and equity issues, relevance of industrial-era schooling models for economic modernization and social cohesion, employability concerns, among others, are on the top of the policy agenda in many countries.
‘Education Policy in Singapore: Comparative Perspectives’ is designed to cover key areas in education policy and processes in Singapore and East and South East Asia. The primary focus will be on policy responses and their consequences to education challenges in Singapore since 1956. Where feasible, comparisons and contrasts will be drawn with similar issues and responses in other countries.
Topics covered include: language-in-education policies; policies for building a skilled labour force; meritocracy and equity issues; education and social cohesion; higher education; policies for meeting globalization/ knowledge economy challenges and policy development; implementation and evaluation issues.
At the completion of the module, students would have a deeper understanding of the ways in which context, history, stage of socio-economic development, relative power of stakeholders, etc. impact on the crafting of and implementation of education policies in general, and in Singapore in particular. They would be able to analyse education policy using current theoretical models, identify strengths and weaknesses of current policies in their countries, and suggest possible alternatives to current policies.