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Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1751-1917
  • E-ISSN: 1751-1925


History education has often been associated with the inculcation of citizenship values, especially in the forging of national identity. In instilling a sense of pride in the common past, the teaching of a nation’s history contributes to the creation and strengthening of nationalism and national identity. This article examines the politics and policies concerning the formulation, implementation and changes regarding the teaching of Singapore’s history between 1984 and 2001, focusing on the lower secondary history curriculum. The Singapore state initially regarded the teaching of the recent national past to be divisive, which resulted in a near neglect and de-emphasis of Singapore’s past in the first decade or so following its independence. However, the state did an about face and started to emphasize history education in the 1980s. This intensified towards the end of the 1990s with the introduction of the ‘National Education’ programme in schools. With that, the role of history in nation building and citizenship education in Singapore found its fullest expression. Thus, the Singapore case is unique compared to the newly independent states after World War II in that history education was used for nation building much later – two decades after its independence.


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