The rise and fall of religious knowledge in Singapore secondary schools

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This paper examines the short-lived imposition by the Singaporean government of Religious Knowledge as a compulsory subject for upper secondary students. The move to introduce Religious Knowledge arose out of concern on the part of senior cabinet members that the moral values of the wider society were under threat from modernization and undesirable 'Western' values. Six options- Bible Knowledge, Islamic Religious Knowledge, Buddhist Studies, Confucian Ethics, Hindu Studies and Sikh Studies- were made available in 1984. However, barely five years later, in 1989, the government announced that Religious Knowledge would no longer be a compulsory school subject from the following year onwards and would instead be an optional subject to be conducted outside curriculum hours. Among the several interesting issues posed by the short-lived experiment in introducing Religious Knowledge in Singapore are: (1 ) questions surrounding curriculum knowledge; and (2) the importance of treating curriculum as a contextualized social process instead of as a mere technocratic document or plan.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 1997

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