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Educational policy trajectories in an era of globalization: Singapore and Cambodia
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Tan, C. (2009). Educational policy trajectories in an era of globalization: Singapore and Cambodia. Prospects, 40(4), 465-480.
This paper explores the educational policy trajectories of Singapore and Cambodia in an era of globalisation. Drawing upon Johnson (2006)’s five metaphors to describe the historical and political forces that shape educational policy trajectories, the paper argues that Cambodia's educational policy trajectory is characterised by the ‘politics of compelling’ as Cambodia is obligated to accept and implement policy reforms as part of the conditions for foreign aid. In contrast, Singapore’s situation is more akin to the ‘politics of selling’ as it is controlled by a strong state that is keen to adapt pro-globalisation educational policies but at its own terms. The paper points out the common challenge for Singapore and Cambodia to shift from a traditional teacher-centred textbook-based approach to a student-centred ICT-based approach in a
globalised world. The last section of this paper recommends that this challenge can be overcome if Singapore and Cambodia move to the ‘politics of gelling’ where a new agenda for education combining foreign and indigenous sources of knowledge involving various interest groups can be set.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Prospects. The published version is available online at
1033-1538 (print)
1573-9090 (online)
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