Navigating Global-Local Dynamics In Education: A Case Study from Singapore

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The schooling sector in Singapore had been characterised by a high degree of centralised government control from its independence in 1965 until the early 2000s when concurrent policies of educational privatisation and internationalisation signalled a strategic shift. The aim was to reposition Singapore as a ‘Global Schoolhouse’ which would offer quality education services to the world, thereby enhancing the country’s positioning in a global knowledge economy. International full-fee customers would be attracted to Singapore, and also the outflow of local students purchasing education in other countries would be slowed because the government would allow them to enrol in Singapore-based international schools for the first time. This paper presents empirical findings from research into the policy processes involved in the establishment of Singapore’s first two privately-funded international schools in 2005. The concept of a policy trajectory framed the data collection which drew on major policy documents as well as both interviews and surveys with key policy players at macro, meso and micro levels of the policy trajectory. The meta analysis points to ideological tensions, policy hybridisation and risk management strategies as Singapore attempts to navigate both global and local dynamics simultaneously.


Keywords: Globalisation, Education, Policy, Internationalisation, Privatisation, Singapore
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Navigating Global-local Dynamics in Education


Lesley Vidovich

Associate Professor, Education, The University of Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Lesley's work is in the field of education policy sociology. Her research focuses on both schooling and higher education sectors, with a particular interest in educational change in a context of globalisation. Prior to her PhD and appointment as an academic, she was a secondary teacher, curriculum developer and tertiary entrance examiner. She has recently completed an Australian Research Council grant on higher education policy in Mainland China, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) and Singapore.

Meen Sheng Yap

The University of Western Australia
Singapore, Singapore


Ref: I08P0085