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Contesting reform: Bernstein's pedagogic device and madrasah education in Singapore

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This paper highlights the active role played by various pedagogic agents in contesting the state educational reforms for madrasahs in Singapore. Drawing upon Basil Bernstein's pedagogic device, the paper identifies tensions and challenges that arise from the attempts by the state to implement curriculum reforms. The paper contends that the stakes are high in the struggle in madrasah education as the group that appropriates and controls the pedagogic device exercises power in relation to the distribution, recontextualization, and evaluation of the knowledge forms in madrasah education. The lesson from the Singapore experience is that policy makers and curriculum planners need to be cognizant of the power and control wielded by the various pedagogic agents.

Keywords: Bernstein's pedagogic device; Singapore; common curriculum; compulsory education; madrasah education; reform

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Policy and Leadership Studies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637616

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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