Selecting Scholars for Singapore: The SM2 Program

  • Peidong Yang
Part of the Anthropological Studies of Education book series (ASE)


This chapter uses the case of the “SM2” scheme to illustrate how Singapore recruits foreign talent students. Installed in 1997, the SM2 program is one of the three long-running PRC scholarships that have been channeling Chinese students to Singapore. It annually provides 200–400 teenage senior middle-school students full undergraduate scholarships with living stipends, and in return legally obligates the scholarship-recipients to work in Singapore for six years after obtaining their degree. After a general overview of the SM2 program, this chapter provides a first-hand ethnographic account of the 15th batch SM2 recruitment in 2011 in the southern Chinese province of Jiangxi. It offers unique and rare insights into the ways in which this Singaporean scholarship scheme is perceived and received by its Chinese targets.


SM2 scholarship Recruitment China Jiangxi Nanchang Ethnography 


  1. Bodycott, P. (2009). Choosing a higher education study abroad destination: What Mainland Chinese parents and students rate as important. Journal of Research in International Education, 8(3), 349–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fong, V. (2007). Morality, cosmopolitanism, or academic attainment? Discourses on “quality” and urban Chinese-only-children’s claims to ideal personhood. City & Society, 19(1), 86–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fong, V. (2011). Paradise redefined: Transnational Chinese students and the quest for flexible citizenship in the developed world. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Heng, G., & Devan, J. (1995). State fatherhood: The politics of nationalism, sexuality, and race in Singapore. In M. G. Peletz & A. Ong (Eds.), Bewitching women, pious men: Gender and body politics in Southeast Asia (pp. 343–364). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Kipnis, A. (1997). Producing guanxi. Sentiment, self, and subculture in a North China village. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kipnis, A. (2007). Neoliberalism reified: Suzhi discourse and tropes of neoliberalism in the People’s Republic of China. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 13(2), 383–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kipnis, A. (2011b). Subjectification and education for quality in China. Economy and Society, 40(2), 289–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lee, K. Y. (2000). From Third World to First: The Singapore story 1965–2000. Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore: Times Media Private Limited.Google Scholar
  9. Long, N. (2011). On having achieved appropriation: Anak Berprestasi in Kepri, Indonesia. In V. Strang & M. Busse (Eds.), Ownership and appropriation (pp. 43–64). Oxford/New York: BERG.Google Scholar
  10. Murphy, R. (2004). Turning peasants into modern Chinese citizens: “Population quality” discourse, demographic transition and primary education. The China Quarterly, 177, 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Woronov, T. (2008). Raising quality, fostering “creativity”: Ideologies and practices of education reform in Beijing. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 39(4), 401–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Woronov, T. (2009). Governing China’s children: Governmentality and “education for quality”. Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, 17(3), 567–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peidong Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations