Educational reform in Singapore: From quantity to quality

by Pak Tee Ng
Educational Research for Policy and Practice ()


In 2004, Prime Minister Lee called teachers to “teach less” so that students might “learnmore”. In 2005, theMinistry of Education clarified this philosophical statement to mean transforming learning from quantity to quality—“more quality and less quantity” in education. This is in line with the national vision of ‘Thinking Schools, Learning Nation’. This policy initiative, which began in 2004, is set to change the fundamental nature of edu- cation in Singapore. This article discusses this initiative, its major implications for schools in Singapore and the challenges to be addressed in the implementation of the policy. In particular, the article discusses the issues of understanding an engaged learning paradigm, establishing signposts for the shift from quantity to quality and the difficulties of system-wide transformation. The challenge for schools is to go beyond the form of the initiative to bring real, substantial and sustainable educational change through this movement.

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