Write a report on the educational system in Japan and why it is considered to be one of the best educational systems in the world. ** Use tables and Figures.** A research done for another country will be attached to have a better understanding. ** Total Word Count = 3000 words ONLY.
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The top Educational Systems in the World
Education in Singapore
This report demonstrates Singapore’s extraordinary successful experience in the
educational system, where in less than 50 years, it has gone from an impoverished
island with no natural resources and population majorities of whom were illiterate to
a country of 4.7 million people with living standards that match those of the most
highly developed industrial nations.
Lee Kuan Yew, the world well-known prime minister who led Singapore to this
attainment, assumed that education would be a crucial element to overcome
inequalities and inequities, creating of a single united nation from a group of clashing
ethnic and religious groups.
The research exhibits the Singaporean schooling system that treated the cultural
diversity as a source of potential growth rather than an inherent hindrance to students’
performance. Singapore used the strength and flexibility of its teachers to draw out
this potential, and provides them with the appropriate support and guidance to
accomplish the required task.
This research highlights the attention given to professional learning community,
equity and quality, believing that “every child can achieve”. The Singaporean
educational system development path went through 3 phases, where its key features
where settled according to the Desired Outcomes of Education, required by MOE.
Furthermore, the report evaluates aspects contributed to the vast success of the
educational outcomes, demonstrating how MOE focused on supporting each child to
his fully potential, considering three broad areas, the curriculum, teaching strategies
and assessment. The overall achievements are included at the end of the research,
evaluating the quality of its educational system, its performance in technology,
mathematics and science.
Singapore was so successful in building a world class education system from such an unpromising
beginning in a short period of time, by selecting many of the most capable people in Singapore to
serve in government, and making sure that policies and practices reinforce each other in their effects,
creating powerful and highly effective educational system.
The Singaporean Ministry of Education vision comprises “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation”,
where their philosophy directed towards “Every child can achieve”. To prepare an intelligent and
committed generation of individuals who are capable of contributing towards Singapore’s sustained
development and prosperity.
Once Lee Kuan Yew took over the reins, Singapore was not a safe place, there were ethnic and
various religious groups clashing and killing each other. He recognized that education is the most
essential element, that would help in an effective implementation of his vision, for a single
economically successful world-class nation, education is prerogative. To insure the best execution of
his vision, he sorted out 3 things:
1. Get the best people to do the job, the civil servants who were graduated from the world class
universities were brought, and paid even better to private jobs.
2. When a policy was set, it was benchmarked globally, making sure the best practices and success
stories are reflected.
3. He took great care of executing the policies, keeping his team on toes.
Things haven’t improved instantly; education policy went through transitions and the following
The Singaporean educational system development phases
The Education policy making in Singapore has gone through three distinct phases. In the
first phase, the focus was to produce basic literacy in a population many of whose members were
In the second phase, the focus of education policy shifted from basic literacy to quality in
learning, the retention of students in school, and to get all students to global education standards. In
this phase of development of the education system, streaming was introduced at the end of the fourth
grade, based on the performance of the students in their native language, so that teachers could pitch
their instruction to the level of mastery of the students. However, after the second phase had been
implemented, the lowest track students in the streaming system were performing above the average
performance of students in the industrialized nations, a remarkable achievement. The Curriculum
Development Institute of Singapore was established to support the development of the different
streams with high quality and consistent educational materials. Much of the curriculum development
was done with an eye to Singapore’s economic development needs.
In the 1990s, the government implemented the “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation”
program, the third phase of the Singaporean educational system development, concentrating on
improving the quality of their workforce and on curriculum that would support the creativity and
capacity for innovation of their students.
In 2004, the government developed the “Teach Less, Learn More” initiative, which moved
instruction further away from the rote memorization and repetitive tasks on which it had originally
focused to deeper conceptual understanding and problem-based learning, making students think and
All this required money and Singapore spends 28.3 percent of its budget to education,
maintaining an efficient corruption free system.
Key features of Singapore’s Education System
The bilingual policy is a fundamental feature of the Singaporean educational structure, under
the supervision of this policy; each pupil acquires English which is considered to be the
common working language. Students also learn their mother tongue language (Chinese,
Malay or Tamil), to help them retain their ethnic, culture, heritage and values.
BROAD- BASED AND HOLISTIC LEARNING
The Desired Outcomes of Education (DOE) articulate the significance of holistically
encouraging students to become well rounded persons- ethically, academically, physically,
socially and aesthetically through:
Core skills and values
– Self- Awareness
– Self- Management
– Relationship Management
– Responsible Decision-Making
– Information and Communication Skills
– Civic literacy, Global Awareness and cross cultural skills
– Critical and inventive thinking
The Desired Outcomes of Education (DOE) are elements that instructors seek for each
Singaporean individual to have by the end of his formal education. These outcomes
inaugurate a mutual purpose for instructors, drive policies and programs, and allow the
determination of how well the education system is doing. Singaporean students embody the
(DOE), by being:
– A Confident person, who thinks independently, communicates effectively, and has good
inter- personal skills.
– A Self- directed learner, who takes responsibility for his own learning, who questions,
reflects and preservers in the pursuit of learning.
– An active contributor, who is informed in the world and local affairs, contributes actively,
empathizes with and respects others.
– A concerned citizen, who is rooted to Singapore, has a strong civic consciousness, is
informed, and takes an active role in bettering the lives of others around him.
The DOE are translated into a set of developmental outcomes for each key stage of the
Education System. The key stage outcomes demonstrates what the Education Service aspires
to develop in students through Primary, Secondary, and Post-Secondary education. Each
educational level builds upon the previous stages and lays the foundation for subsequent ones.
The key stage outcomes of Education
Desired Outcomes of Education (DOE)
At the end of primary education,
At the end of secondary
At the end of pre-university
are able to distinguish right from
have moral integrity
are resilient and resolute
have learnt to share and put others first
have care and concern for
have a sound sense of social
are able to build friendships with
are able to work in teams and
value every contribution
understand what it takes to inspire
and motivate others
have a lively curiosity about things
are enterprising and innovative
have an entrepreneurial and creative
are able to think for and express
possess a broad-based
foundation for further education
are able to think independently and
take pride in their work
believe in their ability
strive for excellence
have cultivated healthy habits
have an appreciation of
have a zest for life
know and believe in Singapore
understand what it takes to lead
The table demonstrates the eight outcomes at each key stage, indicating clearly the
aspirations of the Singaporean Educational system outcomes, so as to lay a strong foundation
for them to thrive and achieve success in life as contributing members of society.
“Learning occurs when students and teachers interact. Thus, to improve learning implies
improving the quality of that interaction” Mc Kinsey Report on Education 2009.
Repairing and reaffirming relationships is an essential key feature in the Singaporean
Educational system, it develop relational practices to prevent incidents of inappropriate
Singapore’s Education System tools
Singapore’s national curriculum objects to support each child to his fully potential, to
discover his talents and to develop in him a passion for lifelong learning. Students go
through a broad range of experiences to develop the skills and values that they will
need for life.
Over the years, the curriculum has been reviewed to address the need for a joint set of
values, knowledge and competencies and at the same time, allow differentiation to
meet the needs of students with different talents and abilities. To enable students to
achieve the learning outcomes of each specific subject and the DOE, three broad areas
are considered, the curriculum, teaching strategies and assessment.
Classroom management, pedagogy,
teaching & learning resources
Aims & objectives,
content, skills &
competencies, values &
Formative and summative
The content states the aims and objectives, the content, the skills and competencies required for the syllabi,
values and attitudes that the syllabi hope to impart to students. Appropriate teaching strategies are
designed for successful classroom delivery of the syllabi, using effective teaching and learning materials.
To evaluate if students have learned what had been taught, students are tested through formative and
Every child in Singapore has the opportunity to undergo at least ten years of basic education.
At the primary level, students go through a six-year course aimed at giving them a good
grasp of the English Language, Mother Tongue Language and Mathematics. In addition,
students learn Science, Social Studies, Civics and Moral Education, Music, Art & Craft,
Health Education and Physical Education. At this phase, Singapore’s national curriculum
provides students with a strong foundation in the core areas of literacy, numeracy and
scientific literacy as these core areas provide the foundation of learning. (Annex C)
The secondary school curriculum is differentiated according to the abilities and interest of
the students. Students undergo four courses in 4 years, designed to match their learning
abilities and interest. The Singaporean Ministry of Education at this point focuses on a broadbased education; all students are offered a combination of core and elective subjects. The core
subjects include English Language, Mother Tongue Language, Mathematics, Combined
Humanities, a science subject. The choice of electives includes a humanities subject, a science
subject and literature in Chinese. The study of humanities is reinforced to develop students’
ability to understand and appreciate different perspectives, as well as nurture cultural
sensitivities and civic awareness. (Annex D)
Core subject ensures that students experience a broad-based and balanced education while the
electives cater to a range of student interests and abilities. The Ministry of Education offers
foreign languages in French, German, Japanese, Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia, for students
who have the ability and the aptitude. It has included Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia. This
allows students to tap on opportunities beyond the Singaporean shores.
Students have to sit for major national examinations at the end of their primary and secondary
education. Beyond secondary education, students move on to post-secondary institutions
based on their eligibility and choice.
The Singaporean Ministry of Education will be sanctioning Curriculum decentralization,
allowing schools to customize their curriculum to meet their students’ needs. Certain subjects
can be redesigned as a set of learning outcomes to allow school room to innovate without
having to complete a syllabus. This allows schools greater autonomy, and flexibility of the
integration of subjects to develop new understanding.
Though Singapore boasts one of the world’s strongest school systems as measured by
international comparisons of academic achievement, this has not come at the expenses of
vocational and technical education. The Central government planners were well aware that
they could not achieve the nation’s economic growth unless they could offer the world’s
premier companies highly trained technicians who had globally competitive skills in
everything from factory automation systems to computer systems management. In the 1980s
Singapore invited several of the world’s most advanced industrial nations to establish, at their
own expense, specialized industrial training schools at the upper secondary level in that
country. Some of these schools created programs that have since been consolidated under the
aegis of the Nanyang polytechnic, which has since become the core of Singapore’s worldclass technical education and training program.
Since the focus in Singaporean schools is on mastering knowledge and 21st century skills
relevant to a career in an ever-changing market, the Ministry of Education provided funding
to the Science Centre Singapore, to create a program which develop and implement the
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Applied Learning Program (STEM ALP), the
program enables secondary school students to apply what they have learned in STEM subjects
to innovate solutions to real-world problems.
STEM INC operates from the science center that deploys curriculum specialists and STEM
educators to train teachers and work with them to co-develop and co-teach STEM lessons.
STEM INC programs seek to build a bridge between textbook knowledge and real-world
applications; accordingly, this will stimulate their curiosity and interest in science, where they
will see STEM as an enterprise through which they can create wealth or a future for
STEM INC provides interactive and hands-on experiences within eight domains: engineering
and robotics, information and communications technology and programming, food science
and technology, environmental science and sustainable living, materials science, health
science and technology, transportation and communication, and simulation and modeling.
There is no examination in the STEM ALP, Believing that when students find learning fun
and relevant, they will be motivated to learn and will improve their exam results.
Feedback from school principals and teachers has been encouraging. For example, the
principal of Greendale Secondary School said he witnessed a genuine engagement and
collaborative learning when he visited the classrooms. He also noted that the level of
enthusiasm for learning was equally high in classes of all achievement levels.
In the recognition of “Teach less, Learn More” policy, an initiative that augments open
periods into timetables, giving students more time to delve more deeply into a subject. The
policy seeks to move away from rote learning and repetitive tests, focusing on class room
interaction, individual expression, and innovative teaching approaches to promote greater
creativity. Thus, Singapore shifts from STEM to STEAM, embracing Arts (Drama, design,
humanities, and drama), growing recognition that Arts education is crucially essential to
Singapore’s growing innovation-driven economy. Research shows that young people who
studied Arts subjects tend to have higher employability and are more likely to remain in
employment than those who did not study Arts subjects, where STEAM develops a number of
necessary abilities in workplace, such as:
– Willingness to learn and make sense of scientific knowledge.
– Good manual dexterity.
– Good eyesight and color vision.
– Ability to offer advice and educate others.
– Happy to work within a team.
Singapore’s Education System at Glance
Professional development of teachers
Just as the curriculum evolves to include new learnings that students need for the
future, professional development of teachers becomes critical, as teachers have to
strive to equip themselves with the necessary competencies to guide and facilitate
students learning. To meet the needs of distinct groups of students according to their
ability and learning styles, Singapore has put ever greater emphasis on raising the
quality of teachers and its education leaders, therefor it introduced the TEACH
framework to further support teacher-led professional and work-life balance, where
teachers are consistently equipped with skills of differentiated instruction, to become
reflective practitioners, able to enhance their teaching through research and using
research findings to improve classroom practices.
Singapore goes to extensive efforts to detect the teachers with the greatest potential
and then give them the training and job opportunities they need to progress welldefined profession ladders that offer a variety of career paths to top teaching
leadership positions in teaching, leadership and ministry.
Formative and summative tools are used for assessment practices in Singapore, which are used to
assist with ongoing teaching and learning. Assessment provides a measure of current success and
directs future study. All assessment is formative. Due to additional rigor and placement within the
unit of work, some assessment is summative and utilized for formal academic reporting.
It is no coincidence that Singapore’s educational institutions, from its schools, to its
polytechnics, to its universities, are among the most admired in the world. There is a strong
relationship between the educational resources and key features, and outputs. The flexibility
that has been given to the curriculum, the consistent assessment and the professional
development of teachers has defiantly attributed to the vast success of the Singaporean
The Singaporean education system known to be one of the worlds best performing
– Singapore ranked 1st in quality of the educational system Global Competitiveness
– Singapore identified as one of the worlds best-performing school systems McKinsey
Report, published November 2010
– Singapore students ranked among the top in Reading, Mathematics and Science
Programme for International Student Assessment (PI SA) 2009
– Singapore students ranked among the top in Mathematics and Science Trends in
International Mathematics and Science Study (TI MSS) 2007
– Singapore ranked 4th among 45 education systems Progress in International
ReadingLiteracy Study (PIR LS) 2006
– Both the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of
Singapore (NUS) have been ranked among the top 60 in the 2011 global ranking of
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