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date: 25 February 2020

Summary and Keywords

This article provides a perspective on the history of teacher education in Singapore. It starts with a summary listing of the educational milestones Singapore has achieved in international benchmark studies to provide a context and backdrop with which to view the quality of Singapore’s teachers and teaching. This is followed by a historical survey of teacher education in Singapore, beginning with its inception during the country’s colonial past and moving on to its expansion as a teacher training department within the education ministry in a newly independent nation, to its growing status as a statutory board, and finally to its recognition as an autonomous institute within a research-intensive university. The historical survey, particularly over the past five decades, highlights the need for huge numbers of teachers to educate the young nation; due to the need to ensure the survival of a tiny island nation, there was a necessity to educate the population for industry and development. This historical survey revealed three recurring themes: (a) recruitment of huge numbers of teachers and the accompanying quality of their training, (b) collaboration with the Ministry of Education and its attendant tensions, (c) the push for, importance and influence of educational research. The final part of the article looks at some areas which Singapore’s sole teacher education institute might need to address, such as preparing the future teachers for the neoliberal discourse within the school system, strengthening the theory-practice nexus, and the internationalization of its programs, and the roles it has played in the region and can take on in the future.

Keywords: educational achievement, teacher quality, teacher selection, stakeholder tension, educational research

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