Adaptivity in the Singapore Education System: Policy Developments Relating to Low Achievement

Part of the Education Innovation Series book series (EDIN)


This chapter discusses the evolvement of low-achievement policy in Singapore as the education system adapts to changing manpower needs of the times. It argues that the earlier phases of education (survival-driven phase and efficiency-driven phase) were characterised by an approach to level up the low-achieving system as a whole, establishing structural curriculum differentiation in the form of streaming. The later phases (ability-driven phase and student-centric, values-driven phase) saw a shift towards more targeted initiatives for low achievers in the form of focused financial assistance schemes and diversification of pathways. Engaging both international literature and local studies in the discussion, the paper points to some key features observed from low achievers, instructional practices, high-stake examinations, and beliefs about low-achievers that have implications for further efforts and initiatives relating to low-achievement. Further deliberation on streaming, teacher’s attitudes, engaged learning for low-achievers and school–family–community connections suggest that a revisit of long-held assumptions and paradigms are needed for further adaptivity to the education system in challenging times.


Education System Normal Technical Bilingual Education Great Diversification Express Stream 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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