Decentralization and marketization of education in Singapore : a case study of the school excellence model

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Journal article

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Journal of Educational Administration

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globalization, markets, education, governance, Singapore


Globalization and the evolution of a knowledge-based economy have caused dramatic changes to the character and functions of education in most countries around the world. In order to enhance the overall competitiveness of individual nation-states in the global market environment, comprehensive education reforms have been launched in different parts of the globe to strengthen manpower training. Realizing the fact that there is only one resource in Singapore - human capital - the Singapore government therefore has tried to maximize the potential of its citizens in the further advancement of its economic modernization. In order to make its citizens more creative and innovative, the Singapore government openly acknowledges the importance of allowing more autonomy for schools in charting their own courses of development. By introducing a policy of decentralization, the Singapore government hopes that schools could have more autonomy and flexibility to develop their strengths and thereby individual schools can evolve with their own unique features. One way to promote quality education is the introduction of the "school excellence model" (SEM) to engage schools in self-improvement and self-assessment exercises. This paper sets out in this policy context to examine and study the newly proposed SEM, with particular reference to examining and studying the philosophy and principles, major features and detailed procedures of this quality assurance model. More specifically, this paper will also analyze this model in light of the global trends of educational decentralization and marketization, reflecting upon the changing role of the Singapore government in educational governance.





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Mok, K.-h. (2003). Decentralization and marketization of education in Singapore: A case study of the school excellence model. Journal of Educational Administration, 41(4), 348-366. doi: 10.1108/09578230310481621