Singapore’s educational policy through the prism of student voice: recasting students as co-agents of educational change and ‘disrupting’ the status quo?

M. Akshir Ab Kadir

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines the implementation of Singapore’s landmark policy, ‘Thinking Schools, learning Nation’ (TSLN), in developing ‘thinking students’ through the prism of student voice. In the context of twenty-first century education and the growing importance of student voice in education, this paper argues that the time might be right to ‘disrupt’ Singapore’s education status quo and incorporate meaningful student voice in education policies. Instead of perceiving students as mere subjects of educational policy enactment, and seeing policy as something that is done to them, it should be reconceptualised as something which is done with them; importantly, students should be recast as key co-agents of educational change, consistent with TSLN’s reconceptualization of learners as ‘thinking students’. Basing its arguments on findings from a qualitative case study of students’ perceptions and schooling experiences of critical thinking in TSLN, this paper considers the case for the inclusion of significant student voice in Singapore’s educational policy reforms. It fills gaps in research on student voices in Singapore’s educational reforms and TSLN’s research from students’ perspective. The paper suggests that the inclusion of student voice in educational reform might be the next landmark step in ‘disrupting’ its educational landscape after the ‘big bang’ of TSLN.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)547-576
    Number of pages30
    JournalJournal of Education Policy
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • critical thinking
    • educational policy
    • Singapore education
    • Student voice

    Cite this