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Chew, C., & Ho, B. T. (2001, December). Curriculum reforms in a changing education system: A case of a physics curriculum package in Singapore. Paper presented at the AARE Conference, Fremantle, Australia.
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 reconstructionist conception of curriculum to the academic rationalist, humanistic and cognitive
conceptions will be discussed.
The Physics curriculum package being examined is designed to infuse the three major educational initiatives, namely,
Information Technology, National Education and Thinking launched in 1997. 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.
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