Dreams Realised, Dreams Deferred: Understanding and Addressing the Racial Gap in Educational Achievement in Singapore

Many students in Singapore’s Normal (Technical) (or NT) stream do indeed have specific dreams and aspirations.

Some of these students fail to achieve their dreams, but many others succeed – with the help of specific kinds of interventions.

Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE), commonly derided as “It’s the End”, might be better celebrated as “It’s Truly Excellent”.

The ‘Malay stereotype’ – that Malays lack motivation and aspiration – is just that, an unfounded stereotype.

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What is the Foundation of Singapore’s Education Policy?

The Report on the Ministry of Education 1978 or the Goh report, endorsed by parliament on 30 March 1979, was the first to propose an explicit form of ability-based streaming. It is underpinned by the ‘fundamental belief’ that ability grouping is responsive to learners’ diverse capacities and would better fulfil their ‘inherent potential’ (Ng, 2008, n.p.). The education system externalises at the level of this belief. That is, this central belief system creates the conditions of life, to which we structure our lives around.

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Welcoming Subject-based Banding in Singapore’s Secondary School: Reform or Re-formation of Our Superstructure?

There was a momentous, if not overdue, education policy announcement in the first week of March 2019. In five years’ time, secondary school students in Singapore will no longer be streamed into Express, Normal Academic (N (A)) or Normal Technical (N (T)) streams. Beginning 2024, there will instead be full subject-based banding (SBB) and students will take up subjects at higher or lower levels based on their strengths.

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