Singapore's Education System
I have frequently been asked what Sociology is about when I tell others I am taking NUS's "Making Sense of Society" module. When I give a brief explanation on what Sociology is about, the next question I often get is whether it is all just common sense. Although at surface level, this may seem to be true, Sociology however equips one with the ability to think beyond the obvious purpose of a particular issue. Singapore's education system can be used to support this stand.
In terms of the functions of education, one can easily prescribe that the most obvious function of education would be to equip the population with the necessary tools to become a productive workforce. However, besides training up a productive workforce, our education system also assists in the youths' socialization into Singapore's society. By interacting with others, children learn how to behave in an appropriate manner and to respect authority.
This is also enhanced through life-lessons such as Civics & Morale education which is a mandatory course in primary and secondary schools.
Compulsory Mother Tongue lessons here act as a platform to develop the students' knowledge of their culture as the culture's traditions and history are discussed in the schools' textbooks (National Library Singapore, 2009). This assists the various races in continually preserving their culture.
Education is also used as a platform to promote certain ideologies and values the government wants to inculcate in the population. For example, the emphasis on multiculturalism in its education system encouraged races to work together cohesively. Through the use of a sanitized curriculum, the government may be able to further promote their ideas by choosing what to promote in the content taught to students.
Using the conflict perspective, one may suggest that Singapore's education system is elitist as...