Page 8 - Education Change and Economic Development: The Case of Singapore Dr. Goh Chor Boon National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
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                  teachers resulted in universal primary education, high enrolment in secondary

                  education and an emphasis on science and mathematics, the Singapore education
                  system lacked quality, including a poor perception of teaching as a profession.
                  There was high education wastage.

                       In 1978, a team of system engineers was tasked to conduct a systemic
                  review of the education system and to recommend a series of changes. It marked
                  the start of the “efficiency-driven” phase of education change in Singapore.

                  The primary objective was to reduce education wastage and to increase the
                  efficiency in the education system. In June 1979, Lee himself led a high-level
                  Singapore mission to Britain to look into ways of tapping British expertise to
                  beef up Singapore’s education system. High on the agenda was the recruitment

                  of English language teachers. Lee believed that a large pool of English language
                  teachers and curriculum development specialists would lead to improvement

                  in teaching standards. At the societal level, the use of the English language as a
                  working language also bridges generation gaps and enhances national survival.
                  Lee explained: “One of the things we did which we knew would call for a big
                  price was to switch from our own languages into English. We have Chinese,

                  Malay, Indian schools – separate language medium schools. The British ran a
                  small English school sector to produce clerks, storekeepers, teachers for the

                  British. Had we chosen Chinese, which was our majority language, we would
                  have perished, economically and politically”.
                       In January 1979, a New Education System (NES) was introduced in
                  alignment with the government’s strategy for economic restructuring and

                  sustainable growth. Under the NES, the education system was revamped
                  to make it more efficient. The government maintained a bilingual language

                  7   Interview with the New York Times, 24 August 2007 in Singapore
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