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Education and Singapore

Singapore is a small country but one of the wealthiest countries in the world. This country was controlled by England until the second half of the 20th century, but its economy started to multiply after it became independent. There are many reasons behind Singapore's rapid economic growth. One of them is education. In this article, Singapore's education policy will be evaluated.


            In the 1960s, the literacy rate in Singapore was 57%. The number of people who graduated from the university is around 2000, but now the literacy rate is 97.34 %, and the number of graduates is about 15000. This success occurred thanks to long-term planning and reforms by the government. The government knew the importance of education when it became an independent country in the 1960s. It is thought a country becomes developed thanks to a sound education system. Therefore, the government designed the ministry of education very well. Also, the ministry of education and the ministry of trades should be in constant interaction because governors thought it was necessary to train people according to the business world's needs. 


First of all, Singapore was a very multinational country in the 1960s. Therefore, every nation had schools, and the languages ​​of education were different in these schools. For example, the language of instruction in Chinese schools was Chinese, and schools showed a strong china orientation. Also, some schools teach in English and Malay. The government took steps to unify these schools. In other words, it centralized the education system. 


Also, Singapore wanted to attract investment; it thought it was mandatory for its people to know English. Namely, English became the compulsory language of education in all schools, but students were educated in their language in primary school. Furthermore, a standard alphabet was used in all schools and focused on mathematics, science, and technology lessons. In addition, the ministry created a common national exam. Also, the country needed skilled human resources for the industry. Therefore, the ministry of education-built workshops in significant parts of the country, where students learned technical drawing, metallurgy, and basic electricity lessons.


 Moreover, factories urgently needed a skilled workforce. Therefore, the government established training centers with the help of UNDP. Students in secondary school went to these workshops, miles away, every day and received education there. The lectures given here were on more specific subjects. In other words, training related to the company's needs at that time. After the training, trainees could start working directly. From the 1980s onwards, the government began to educate many engineers because companies needed more engineers.


 In addition, the ineffective sides of the first established education system were also eliminated. Instead of bilingual education, most schools have started to teach in English. Also, a pupil data bank was established. Thanks to this bank, changes were made to the education system according to the students' data. In addition, new training centers were established. Workers who did not receive any formal education were trained here, turning them into skilled workers. Hence, the ministry of education educates children and young people, and the middle-aged. 


Moreover, VITB was established. Thanks to this institution, the students who graduated from secondary school went to these places, got technical training, and started their businesses directly. This institution played a very critical role in Singapore's economy. It essentially filled the needs of the skilled workers of the companies in the country. In the 1990s, the government made significant changes in the curriculum. For example, the schools have developed students' creative and innovative thinking. Besides, the ministry established training centers for teachers. Teachers studied here for one year and improved their skills.


 Teachers are more critical to the education system, so they should be educated like children. In 1985, the minister of education said that our education system is successful because our teachers are excellent. Furthermore, the schools are more independent. The ministry of education has started to interfere with schools less, and schools have begun to choose their students and administrators. Finally, in the 2000s, the government realized that the world had changed. Therefore, profound changes were made in the curriculum. 


Teachers would no longer be teachers but guides, and learning would not be limited to school but would be throughout life. In addition, teachers should develop the leadership and teamwork skills of the students. Thus, the government has constantly worked to improve the education system, and thanks to this education system, Singapore has become a developed country today.


All in all, Singapore is a small country located in Asia. It was ruled by the British for a long time. After the British left the region, this young country had to stand on its own feet. The government has taken many steps to develop the country. In the 1960s, it tried to reduce unemployment and gave incentives to attract foreign investments. 


Over time, the country became a substantial production base, and its GDP multiplied thanks to its high exports. Since the 1980s, the government has made significant investments in technology, and its economy has continued to grow. In addition, it constantly reformed the education system because the administrators thought that human capital was significant for a strong economy. Hence, Singapore is now one of the most developed countries globally, thanks to its rational actions.


Lee, S., 2008. Toward a Better Future: Education and Training for Economic Development in Singapore Since 1965 (Development practice in education). The World Bank Group.

Lam, N., 2000. Government intervention in the economy: a comparative analysis of Singapore and Hong Kong. Public Administration and Development, 20(5), pp.397-421.

Lim, L. Y. (2015). Fifty Years of development in the Singapore economy: A preliminary review. The Singapore Economic Review60(03), 1502002. doi:10.1142/s0217590815020026 

Hirschmann, R. (2021, October 28). Singapore: Number of graduates at universities 2020. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/865409/singapore-number-of-graduates-universities/. Accessed January 9, 2022


Hirschmann, R. (2021, July 7). Singapore: Literacy rate for 15 years and older 2020. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/994945/singapore-literacy-rate-15-years-and-older/. Accessed January 9, 2022

Image Source:https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/04/1116812

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