Centralised-Decentralisation in Singapore Education Policymaking

  • Paul Meng-Huat Chua
  • Yancy Toh
  • Sujin He
  • Azilawati Jamaludin
  • David Hung
Part of the Education Innovation Series book series (EDIN)


Centralised-decentralisation refers to the calibrated application of the forces of centring and calibrated release of the force of centring (resulting in decentring) in order to achieve coherence and optimal results and outcomes for a system. While the phenomenon of centralised-decentralisation is not unique to the Singapore education system, the fact that it is deployed pervasively across all policy contexts and that it recurs in the various levels of the education system (from the Ministry down to the teacher level) might make the phenomenon of centralised-decentralisation—from the perspective of implementation—uniquely Singaporean. This empirical paper, with data collected via interviews from a range of respondents (i.e. policy academics, school leaders, and middle managers), provides, amongst other things, evidence of the fractal nature of centralised-decentralisation, which speaks of the ingrained disposition of this habitual thinking in the daily policy and life of schools. Efforts have been made to ensure the trustworthiness of the findings arising from the research. Other findings of the research include the differentiated nature of centralised-decentralisation, the pragmatic motivation of the notion of centralised-decentralisation, and the need for calibrated trust between the Ministry and schools for the maintenance of the delicate balance between centralisation and decentralisation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Meng-Huat Chua
    • 1
  • Yancy Toh
    • 1
  • Sujin He
    • 1
  • Azilawati Jamaludin
    • 1
  • David Hung
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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