Dreams Realised, Dreams Deferred: Understanding and Addressing the Racial Gap
in Educational Achievement in Singapore
Published by AMP Singapore and the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA), 2021
Why, some 55 years after Singapore’s independence, has the progress of the Malay community in Singapore continued to lag behind their counterparts? Despite best efforts by the government, community self-help groups and other leaders, as well as noticeable improvements across the board over the last three decades, this gap remains. Whether measured by income, educational attainment, or even health, the Malays of Singapore have yet to catch up. The debates surrounding this gap have focused on a number of purported factors that explain the unequal progress. Is it due to race? To class differences? To discrimination in society? To structural issues? To culture? This pattern of inequality remains a puzzle among academics, government officials, civil society groups and concerned citizens.
This report focuses on the gap in societal attainment by examining an area that most would agree is crucial: education. After all, Singapore aspires to be a meritocratic society in which education represents a primary conduit for social mobility. A fair and meritocratic education system allowing the most talented and hardest working people among the next generation to advance is the fairest way to distribute social goods. And education is one area in which the gap between the races is most noticeable. Does the education gap reflect a systemic failure, an issue unique to the Malays, or something else?
Please click on the link to read the full report – Dreams Realised, Dreams Deferred: Understanding and Addressing the Racial Gap in Educational Achievement in Singapore