Managing Diversity: The Singapore Experience

  • Jason Tan
Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 2)

This chapter outlines the relationship between education and social cohesion in Singapore, an ethnically and culturally diverse country of some 4 million people at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula, and the only one with a Chinese-majority population in Southeast Asia. It begins by outlining the British colonial government’s general inattention to educational provision throughout most of its 140-yearlong rule. It was not until after the end of the Second World War that efforts were begun to provide some kind of coherence to the education system in preparation for eventual self-government. The chapter then continues with an examination of how the advent of self-government and political merger within Malaysia affected education policy, especially with regard to the fostering of social cohesion. Attention then falls on the period since the attainment of political independence in 1965. Various policy dilemmas and challenges with regard to language-in-education policy, ethnic disparities in educational attainment, and social class disparities in educational attainment are discussed.


Social Cohesion National Education Political Independence Parliamentary Debate Religious Knowledge 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason Tan
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of EducationSingapore

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