Policy reports and speeches

Note: The following texts have been taken directly from the reports and speeches.

Curriculum Development in Singapore. A Brief Review 1979

This report of 25 numbered pages (MOE, 1979b) consists of addresses to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education by Robert W. Morris and Gerald P. Thompson, and seven sections: Background to the visit; Working procedures; The curriculum - some general considerations; The curriculum - some particular aspects; Conclusions and recommendations; Acknowledgements; Annexes.

Following the publication of the 1979 report and the appointment of Dr Goh Keng Swee as Minister of Education, discussions took place between the British Council and the Ministry on the possibility of acquiring British expertise to assist with developments of the curriculum needed to meet the demands of the new system (p. 4). The terms of reference required the team to (p. 4):

  • • explore the existing mechanisms through which curriculum development is carried out;
  • • investigate the qualifications and experience of those involved in curriculum development;
  • • examine the constraints on curriculum development in Singapore;
  • • assess the support services for implementing new curriculum materials in schools;
  • • visit schools, teacher training institutions and other resources available to improve the quality of education in schools;
  • • make recommendations to the Ministry and to the British Council for continued cooperation.

Towards Excellence in Schools, 1987

This report of 85 numbered pages (MOE, 1987) consists of: Address to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam Minister for Education by the principals in the study team; Address to the principals by Dr Tan; Key findings and recommendations;

Executive summary; Introduction; Chapter 1 - The schools in perspective; Chapter 2 - School philosophy and policy; Chapter 3 - Organisation and school structure; Chapter 4 - The headmaster; Chapter 5 - The staff; Chapter 6 - The school community; Chapter 7 - The curriculum; Chapter 8 - Finance; Chapter 9 -Physical resources; Chapter 10 - Conclusions and recommendations; Appendices and acknowledgements.

The 1987 report was based on the report by principals on the schools that they had studied during their visit to the United States of America and the United Kingdom in November/December 1986 that identified the factors which go to make a good and effective school, and considered how such factors could be developed in Singapore’s schools (n.p.). While the reference is mainly to secondary' schools, some of the issues are relevant to primary' schools and junior colleges as well (n.p.).

Improving Primary School Education: Report of the Review Committee, 1991

The report of 29 numbered pages (MOE, 1991a) consists of: Address by Dr Tony' Tan Keng Yam, Minister for Education, at the conclusion of the schools council meeting held on 9 March 1991 to discuss the Review Committee’s report; Executive summary'; Chapter 1 - Introduction; Chapter 2 - Review of present system; Chapter 3 - Proposed improvements to primary' education; Chapter 4 -Consequential changes; and Chapter 5 - Conclusion.

This report provides recommendations that will give more children at least ten years of general education before they proceed to junior colleges or vocational or technical training in polytechnics and technical institutes. It was proposed that a new secondary' level Normal (Technical) course will be introduced for pupils who are not academically inclined to better orientate and prepare them for vocational training (n.p.). The Minister for Education set up a Review Committee in July 1990 to review the system and take measures to ensure that it continues to meet the nation’s needs in die 1990s and beyond, as Singapore becomes a developed nation (p. i). In its review, the Committee was guided by the curriculum needs of pupils. It considered the demands and expectations of the school system, streaming of pupils, and vocational education and training. In addition, it studied the primary' school systems in Germany and Japan, which are models of successful modern economies, to consider features and practices which could be adopted or adapted for implementation in Singapore’s system (p. i) as well as the provision of streaming and vocational education in Germany as practised in the state of Baden-Württemberg (p. 2).

Upgrading Vocational Training (Vocational and Industrial Training Board, 1991)

The report of 43 numbered pages (MOE, 1991b) consists of: Executive summary; Chapter 1 - Introduction; Chapter II - Review of present vocational training system; Chapter III - Proposed changes to upgrade vocational training; Chapter IV - Implementation plan and interim arrangements; Chapter V - Conclusions.

This report formulates plans to upgrade vocational training for a new secondary level Normal (Technical) course that will be introduced for pupils who are not academically inclined to better orientate and prepare them for vocational training. The review was guided by the following aims:

  • 1 a system which enables secondary school leavers to achieve higher-level skills;
  • 2 wider options in occupational choices;
  • 3 more opportunities for progression to further education and training;
  • 4 the upgraded vocational training system should be more attractive to school leavers and employers.

It should help produce a better educated and skilled workforce to meet the skilled manpower needs of Singapore in the 1990s and beyond (p. v). The committee took into consideration views expressed by employers, unionists, government officials, the strength of the ‘dual system1 of apprenticeship training in Germany, and findings established in previous relevant reports which include the Perception Study on Vocational Training and the annual VITB Graduate Employment Surveys (p. 2).

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