Globalization: Impact on Education and Teacher Development
In the most recent Teachers’ Day address of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, he underscored the vital importance of education – teacher development – in the continuing march of Singapore towards the 21st century. Specifically, he implicated education as an “effective strategy which will enable us to survive and to thrive in a changing world.” This importance stressed upon by PM Lee is consistent with the Teaching Schools Learning Nation (TSLN) initiative that ushered an accelerated era of educational investment for the nation’s future exemplified as a centrepiece of the Singapore government in the late 1990s.
As the year 2007 progresses, the imperatives of TSLN and the exhortations of PM Lee are even more urgent. Globalization and its implications on an ever changing and fluid educational landscape create ripples into the stripling Singapore education system in general and to the fledgling NIE in particular. Burbules and Torres have acknowledged similar imperatives when they discuss globalization and the consequent paradigm shift in “educational aims that have more to do with flexibility and adaptability.”
It has been argued that with rampant globalization several overriding threats would steadily increase and require flexibility and adaptation in education. Some of these are (1) the impact of ubiquitous Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and the threat of information overload; the effects of dissipating borders and the perils of multiculturalism and citizenship; (3) the consequence of highly mobile and ageing populations and repercussions to lifelong learning; and (4) the increased recognition of new economic and social capitals and its significance to innovative meritocracy.
 Lee Hsien Loong. 2006. Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Teachers’ Day Rally, the Max Pavillion, Singapore Expo. Singapore: Ministry of Education.
 Diane K Mauzny and R.S. Milne 2002. Singapore politics under the People’s Action Party. Edited by Michael Leifer. Politics in Asia series. Singapore: Routledge. p.105.
 Nicholas Burbules and Carlos Alberto Torres. 2000. Globalization and education – Critical perspectives. Carlos Alberto Torres and Raymond A. Morrow (eds.). Social Theory Education & Cultural Change. New York: Routledge. p. 22.