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ERIC Number: EJ1290741
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2021-Feb
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0256-0100
Lessons for South Africa from Singapore's Gifted Education -- A Comparative Study
Milne, Annari; Mhlolo, Mike
South African Journal of Education, v41 n1 Article 1839 Feb 2021
Since 1999 South African learners have participated in various international studies but sadly the learners have continued to perform dismally, which brings to question the quality of their education. Meanwhile, Singaporean students have been among the top achievers in all these competitions. Many comparative studies have been done between different nations and Singapore, but in few, if any, of these studies the focus has been on comparisons regarding gifted education. Singaporean policies and practices on gifted education generally prioritise a commitment to engaging learners from all ability levels with appropriately challenging curricula and instruction. In this article we report on a comparative study between the Singaporean and South African education systems. Three frames, (a) political context (b) curriculum structure and (c) loose coupling shaped the analysis. Results show that both countries had similar challenges at the point of independence from colonial rule and yet, they responded differently to those challenges. Singapore implemented inclusive education driven by excellence while South Africa's inclusive education is driven by equity without excellence. South Africa has a one-size-fits-all curriculum, whereas Singapore has alternatives that create multiple pathways for learners to reach their full potential. Although gifted education is being proposed in current South African pronouncements, there is no evidence of coherence in terms of its implementation. Meanwhile, Singapore has a coherent system that ensures their policies move from theory into practice. All these are lessons that South Africa can learn.
Education Association of South Africa. University of Pretoria, Centre for the Study of Resilience, Level 3, Groenkloof Student Centre, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, George Storrar Road and Lleyds Street, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore; South Africa
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A