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Singapore Education Policies (1960s to 1980s)

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Wong Wei Cong

on 14 February 2011

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Transcript of Singapore Education Policies (1960s to 1980s)

Singapore Education Policies (1960s to 1980s) Main Aims of Singapore
Education Policies from 1960's to 1970's Providing a place for every child
Building national identity
Fostering social cohesion
Preparing for economic development Providing a Place for Every Child Wong Wei Cong (31) Xavier Neo Qi Xun (17) Large numbers of children
Small number of university graduates & most young people only given primary education
Insufficient schools
Survival-driven (1959-78)
Primarily focused on enrolment Building National Identity Multiracial, multicultural and multilingual society
Language as a resource
Bilingual policy
Speak Mandarin Campaign
English as medium of instruction
Flag raising & Pledge taking Fostering Social Cohesion Four official languages, all of equal status
Textbook loan
Same physical facilities for all govt schools
PSLE
Integrated Schools
Uniform Groups Preparing for
Economic Development Technical education
Singapore population as only natural resource
Develop individual talents so each citizen can contribute to economy
Raise productivity & competitiveness Timeline of Singapore Economy ~1965-1973~
Economic issues:
Expulsion from Malaysia
British military withdrawal
Economic policies:
Promotion of investment
Promotion of labour-intensive manufacturing
Wage restraint


~1974-1985~
Economic issues:
Oil and commodity price shocks
Labour shortages
Economic policies:
Emphasizing capital-intensive industry
Importing foreign workers
High-wage policy How are main education initiatives related to the economic development of Singapore from the 1960's to 1980's? First Educational Reform Decentralised education prior to 1965
Based on ethnic lines
Races exhibited different loyalties outside Singapore
Need for integrated education system
Importance of workforce that could meet the needs of MNCs Centralisation of Education System Equal treatment for four streams of education: Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and English
Emphasis on study of mathematics, science, and technical subjects
Common syllabus for all school subjects in four languages.
Compulsory bilingualism in all schools
Common national examination system for primary schools
Universal free primary education Education Policies 1960: PSLE conducted in four official languages
1966: PSLE conducted for all language streams at School Certificate and Higher School Certificate levels
1966: Compulsory second language in all secondary schools
1968: Science and arithmetic taught in English in most non-English medium primary classes
1969: Second language papers set and marked at a level two years below that of student’s first language. Second language became compulsory subject in examinations at School Certificate level
1974: Equal weightage given to first and second languages in PSLE Growth of Technical Education Need to develop strong manufacturing sector to solve unemployment problem & to attract MNCs
12 vocational schools & 7 technical schools built
Courses designed to meet skilled manpower needs of industrialization Education Policies Technical Education Department (TED) created
Basic workshop subjects made compulsory for all male students and 50% of girls in first two years in secondary schools. Other 50% of girls took courses such as home economics.
Centralized workshops set up to give students hands-on training in use of basic tools & materials
1969: Vocational stream in secondary school education discontinued
Need in industrial sector changed from unskilled or semiskilled labour to technically trained workers EDB Training Centres Time taken for students to complete secondary education & then proceed to technical education was too long
EDB set up training centers with assistance from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Provided direct training for workers through production of actual components needed by manufacturing companies
Graduates could go directly into new factories and be productive in a very short time with minimal on-the-job training EDB & Company-Based Training Centres Need for specialist training that could not be provided through technical schools or training centers
EDB worked with large industries to set up facilities to train personnel for the industries’ needs.
EDB provided facilities for MNCs to set up own training process for type of workers required
Training sought to provide technical education faster & aligned with needs of industries Second Educational Reform Weaknesses in education system
Ineffective bilingual policy
Low literacy levels
High wastage of intellectual potential

Areas for new education reform:
The structure
The curriculum
The organization and procedures within MOE
The management of schools Main Aims of Singapore
Education Policies from 1960's to 1970's Development of individual pupil
Moral values
Encouraging creativity Development of Individual Pupil 1980: Primary 3 streaming
1991: Primary 4 streaming
1984: Gifted Programme
Cater to different needs & learning capabilities of students
Singapore moving towards more value-added goods production
Efficiency-driven education system
Identify talented students early to develop on talents, so to be able to work in capital-intensive industries Moral Values 1981: Education for Living/Primary Civics
1982: Religious Knowledge, replaced later by Civics and Moral Education due to evangelizing
Foster identity, loyalty & social responsibility
Teach pupils racial harmony to prevent conflicts between different ethnic groups
Able to cooperate with colleagues and international business partners of different race & religion Encouraging
Creativity Schools given more autonomy
Independent Schools
Current products met with stiff competition with China products at cheaper price
More skilled workers in areas of research (to aid work), digital animation, computer/electronic applications
Prevent wastage of talents
Prepare for competitive global economy & new advanced technology uses
Standardizing School Work Procedures & Processes Lack of emphasis on quality input of educational process
Quality issues linked to lack of professional management of schools
Need to upgrade & consolidate management mechanism of schools
Systematic work performance obtainable when work procedures and processes were standardized
Education Policies Principals & vice principals responsible for assessing & reporting on all teachers in their schools.
1979: Pupil Data Bank introduced. Schools also had ready access to pupil data for planning & monitoring purposes.
1980: Schools wrote plans for school improvement and incorporated them into School Rolling Plan.
1981: MOE published 252-page Principals’ Handbook.
Financial regulations, procedures, and processes emphasized Setting Up of Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore (CDIS) 1980: CDIS established
CDIS developed all curriculum & teaching materials
Improved teaching-learning process through provision of quality curriculum packages, including printed & audiovisual material
Improved mathematics & science curricula in both primary & secondary schools Education Policies 1980: Creation of schools' appraisal system
School principals given as much autonomy as possible in running their schools, at the same time, MOE held them accountable for quality of education provided
Process to help schools evaluate their effectiveness & to identify areas for improvement
Self-appraisal was an annual exercise carried out by all schools in four main areas:

Management and organization of the school
Instructional programs
Extracurricular activities (ECAs)
Pupil welfare programs

MOE did external appraisal of a school every four to five years, conducted by a team of MOE officials. Certification through Part-Time Training in Technical Education 1973: Formation of the Industrial Training Board (ITB) to centralize, coordinate, and intensify industrial training
As a statutory board, ITB had much greater autonomy & flexibility in operations than TED
1973: Implementation of National Trade Certificate (NTC) & Public Trade Test System
Enabled workers who did not go through formal education courses, but picked up skills through on-the-job training etc, to be certified through standardized system of public examinations
Awarded at three levels: semiskilled, skilled, and master craftsman
NTCs quickly became recognized by employers Education Policies 1979: Vocational and Industrial Training Board (VITB) created through amalgamation of ITB & Adult Education Board (AEB)
Tripartite representation from government, employers & business, and workers & unions
Provide greater involvement of industries & government to meet growing national need for technical & skilled manpower
Technical education promoted across broader front
Use of media helped put public limelight on technical education
Popular new training programs aimed at mature workers with little education or technical training Foreign Company Participation in Institutes of Technology 1979: Establishment of Japan-Singapore Training Centre
Beginning of government-to-government technical institutes
Established with financial & technical assistance of foreign governments under renewable five-year agreements
Provided efficient and effective training quickly
Offered two-year, full-time diploma courses as compared with three-year diploma courses offered by local polytechnics
Locals could tap into foreign expertise & teaching systems and then adapt learning to local context.
Gave rise to Teaching Factory Concept
Manufacturing took place while learning was going on
Conclusion Education is an important tool not only in terms of the development of an individual but also contributes to the well-being of Singapore economically, socially & politically.
It shapes the very society that we live in.
We should not take the education system we have now for granted. The End
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