Education Reform in Singapore: Towards Greater Creativity and Innovation?
by Jason Tan and S. Gopinathan
he beginning of the twenty-first century is an exciting time for education in Singapore. There is constant talk of the need to reexamine old ways of thinking and doing things and of the concomitant need for flexibility, creativity and innovation. Although education policy has been a prime instrument for the fostering of socioeconomic development ever since the ruling People’s Action Party came to power in 1959, in the past decade the pace of change has greatly quickened. It is therefore not surprising that education policymakers, schools, principals, teachers and students are being swept along in a literal tide of newly launched policy directives.
global economy. It examines several key policy initiatives such as Thinking Schools, Learning N a t i o n, the Masterplan for Information Technology in Education , and revisions to university admission criteria. We also discuss the move toward the marketization of education, as manifested for instance in the push for intense interschool competition. CALLS FOR GREATER CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION The growth of the global economy has added urgency to calls to upgrade education and training as prime sources of national economic competitiveness. The Singaporean government can be said to have taken these calls seriously. Such efforts received added impetus in the wake of the 1985-86 economic recession. The Ministry of Trade & Industry’s Economic Committee recommended the education of each individual to his or her maximum potential and the development of
This article poses questions about several ongoing and future challenges and dilemmas facing Singapore’s education system as it moves into the twenty-first century. It focuses on the ways in which schools are being urged to foster creativity and innovation to enhance national economic competitiveness in the 5 NIRA Review
creativity and flexible...