Social Context

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As a trainee teacher, I need to ask myself several questions in relations to Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) syllabus before I begin my teaching journey. What is CCE? Why CCE now? What is the purpose of CCE? How does CCE related to me as a teacher? Are teachers the only one responsible? What are the possible challenges I might face in promoting CCE? I shall discuss these questions in the following.

During my early education years, my teachers taught me what it means being a Singaporean and also inculcate moral values. I learnt the meaning of the Singapore Flag, learnt to sing the National Anthem, to recite the Singapore Pledge, and know about the different racial and culture heritage and practices through my Mother Tongue ‘Good Citizen’, Social Studies and Religious Knowledge lessons. Over the years, the citizenship education programmes in school has been constantly on the ‘move’ with the latest introduction of CCE from 2010: . Ethics (1959)

. Civics (1967)
. Education for Living (1973, interdisciplinary subject)
. Review of the Moral Education (1978)
. Good Citizens (Primary) (1981)
. Being and Becoming (Secondary) (1981)
. Social Studies (Primary) (1981)
. Religious Knowledge (1984)
. Civics and Moral Education (1992)
. National Education (1997)
. Social Studies (Upper Secondary) (2001)
. Character and Citizenship Education (2010/2011)
Now, CCE is a new syllabus that will be introduced in primary and secondary schools from 2014 (MOE, 2012). But, why is there a need for a change? Singapore is a small geographical size multi-racial country with no natural resources and relies on human resources for economic survival. To compensate for the lack of land and natural resources, Singapore embarked on a process of globalizing its economy, its population, and its culture to make the nation relevant to the needs of the rest of the world. Singapore is named, one of the most globalized of nations, based on the AT Kearney/Foreign Policy globalization index in 2001, and it has since remained in the top four (Measuring Globalization 2003). However, the fast pace of globalisation has created a flurry of problems by weakening the emotional ties Singaporeans have for their nation. This problem is demonstrated by a series of phenomena, including a weakening of social cohesion and a pragmatic attitude toward the collective good and self-sacrifice. We can witness this alarming phenomenon from newspaper and internet sources such as STOMP, social media Facebook and even in our daily experiences. Reports on a group of house owner protested against the building of elderly home at their backyard and the incident of Amy Cheong have highlighted the threat to our nation’s social cohesion and inclusiveness. Our government has grown increasingly alarmed by these trends. “Politically, the task was to construct a unified national system of education from the ethnically divided and politically contested provision inherited from the English. Economically, it was to provide a stock of basic education, skills and attitudes required for industrialization” (Sharpe & Gopinathan, 2002). Henceforth, our government over the past 47 years has given schools the important role in helping to build a nation, develop a shared national identity among the diverse racial and cultural groups who made up the Singapore’s immigrant society. According to IEA Civic Education Study conducted in 1995 (Lee., 2012), social cohesion and diversity, democracy and the building of a national identity are three important pillars of Singapore’s citizenship education. We can see that our government is building these three pillars through the aims of CCE which are to inculcate values and build social and emotional competences in students. Our students will learn values through three big overlapping ideas, namely Identity, Relationships and Choices and this new framework is to seek in developing student with the essential 21st Century competences to achieve...
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