Curriculum reforms in a changing education system: A case of a physics curriulum package in Singapore

Year: 2001

Author: Kheng, Charles Chew Ming, Tiong, Ho Boon

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper focuses on the design of a Physics curriculum package that is currently in use in a significant number of Singapore secondary schools. It traces the evolution of the Singapore Education System from the survival-driven phase (1965-1978) to the efficiency-driven phase (1979-1990) to the current ability-driven education phase. The impact of these changes in the evolution of the Singapore Education System on curriculum planning and development from the predominantly social reconstructionism conception of curriculum to the academic rationalist, humanistic and cognitive conceptions will be discussed. The Physics curriculum package being examined is designed to incorporate the three major educational initiatives, namely, Information Technology, National Education and Thinking. Of special mention in the package is the incorporation of the 'edutainment' framework into the 'disciplinary knowledge' approach used in the design of the textbooks. This 'edutainment' framework seeks to present Physics as a body of content knowledge of high educational value in an entertaining way. Besides giving a description, an analysis and an evaluation of the various components of the Physics curriculum package will be made from the learner's perspective. The paper concludes with the need to incorporate some other initiatives from the teacher's perspective to improve the Physics curriculum package.