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Towards a transnational model of critical values education: The case for literature education in Singapore
Literature education
Globalization and English
Values education
Issue Date: 
Choo, S. S. (2015). Towards a transnational model of critical values education: The case for literature education in Singapore. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 35(2), 226-240.
Once regarded as the most essential subject in the national curriculum vital for civilizing the public, English Literature has now lost its place of prominence. In this paper, I focus on Singapore where the subject was a core aspect of the colonial curriculum and where it is currently facing declining enrolment at the national examinations. In the first part of the paper, I discuss how Literature initially functioned to propagate colonial values education in Singapore and how, following Singapore's independence, its goals were overtaken by a nation-state model of values education. Limitations of this model provide the grounds for a transnational model of critical values education that, as I argue in the second part, may be powerfully conveyed through Literature. It is Literature’s capacity to facilitate transnational critical engagements with values and explorations of identity especially involving highly sensitive aspects related to gender, race, and religion that represents the strongest justification in the light of its present demise. What Literature offers is the possibility of engaging with values beyond the confines of Empire or nation by grappling with essential questions about what it means to be a cosmopolitan as opposed to a nationalistic citizen inhabiting the world.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Asia Pacific Journal of Education. The published version is available online at
0218-8791 (print)
1742-6855 (online)
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