Who Wanted To Promote Education Through Vernacular Languages?
Opposition in London suppressed – On the news of the Act reaching England, a despatch giving the official response of the company’s Court of Directors was drafted within India House (the company’s London office). James Mill was a leading figure within the India House (as well as being a leading utilitarian philosopher ).
Although he was known to favour education in the vernacular languages of India, otherwise he might have been expected to be broadly in favour of the Act. However, he was by then a dying man, and the task of drafting the response fell to his son John Stuart Mill, The younger Mill was thought to hold similar views to his father, but his draft despatch turned out to be quite critical of the Act.
Mill argued that students seeking an ‘English education’ in order to prosper could simply acquire enough of the requisite practical accomplishments (facility in English etc.) to prosper without bothering to acquire the cultural attitudes; for example it did not follow that at the same time they would also free themselves from superstition.
- Even if they did the current learned classes of India commanded widespread respect in Indian culture, and that one of the reasons they did so was the lack of practical uses for their learning; they were pursuing learning as an end in itself, rather than as a means to advancement.
- The same could not reliably said of those seeking an ‘English education’, and therefore it was doubtful how they would be regarded by Indian society and therefore how far they would be able to influence it for the better.
It would have been a better policy to continue to conciliate the existing learned classes, and to attempt to introduce European knowledge and disciplines into their studies and thus make them the desired interpreter class. This analysis was acceptable to East India Company’s Court of Directors but unacceptable to their political masters (because it effectively endorsed the previous policy of ‘engraftment’) and John Cam Hobhouse insisted on the despatch being redrafted to be a mere holding statement noting the Act but venturing no opinion upon it.
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Who introduced learning education in the vernacular language in India?
In 1911 Gopal Krishna Gokhale tried to make primary vernacular education free and compulsory. Education in the Government of India saw many changes in 1913 but could not be implemented because of the First World War. Calcutta University Commission was appointed at the end of the First World War.
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Who was in Favour of vernacular education?
Macaulay was in favour of vernacular education.
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What is vernacular system of education?
Vernacular education In Singapore, vernacular education refers to education conducted in the native languages of the main resident communities, namely Malay, Chinese and, From the early 19thto the mid-20th centuries, formal vernacular education was started by philanthropists, clan associations and missionary groups with limited assistance from the British colonial government.
- After Singapore gained independence in 1965, enrolment in vernacular schools began to dwindle as more parents chose to send their children to English-medium schools.
- Tamil schools had disappeared by the 1970s, followed by Malay and Chinese schools in the 1980s.
- By 1987, all Singapore schools taught English as a first language, although mother tongue languages are still included in the curriculum as part of the government’s,
Colonial period In the early 19th century, education in Singapore was limited to Koran classes and Chinese writing schools.1 Children were also taught by way of apprenticeship to their parents or others who could teach them various arts and craft.2 In 1823, planned for the establishment of an institution in Singapore “for the cultivation of the languages of China, Siam and the Malayan Archipelago and the improvement of the moral and intellectual condition of the inhabitants of those countries”.3 The school was to include studies in English, Chinese, Malay and Siamese to educate, firstly, local leaders and public servants, and then all the people of Singapore.4 Although funds were raised and land was set aside for its establishment, the institution, as conceived by Raffles, did not materialise.5 The first formal school to be established on the island was the Singapore Free School, which was founded in 1834 by Reverend R.J.
Darrah. This school was to consist of a central English school and elementary-level vernacular schools.6 Although the school ran vernacular departments in Malay, Chinese and Tamil, these classes were short-lived.7 The Free School subsequently became known as the Singapore Institution Free School and later,,8 For most of the 19th century, the colonial government showed a general lack of interest in promoting education.
Its limited involvement came in the form of financial support for Malay schools and giving small grants to English schools.9 Other than the English schools, funding was provided only for Malay education as the British regarded the Malay language as the vernacular of Singapore.10 Malay schools The first formal Malay class was started in August 1834 at the Singapore Free School with an initial cohort of 12 Malay boys.
- The school’s Malay department eventually closed down in 1842 due to a lack of interest and some prejudice among the Malays towards foreign teachers.
- Following the department’s closure, little was done by the colonial authorities to promote Malay education until 1856 when two Malay day schools were established at Telok Blangah and,11 Although both schools lacked books, school equipment and qualified teachers, the school in Telok Blangah produced better results due to the patronage of the sultan of Johor.12 In 1872, A.M.
Skinner was made Inspector of Schools of the (which Singapore was then a part of, along with Malacca and Penang). Although Skinner considered Malay schools as subsidiaries of English schools, he nevertheless saw the need to expand Malay education.13 Skinner established the Malay High School at Telok Blangah in 1876.
- However, the high school project did not last long because the colonial government subsequently converted the school into the Malay Teachers’ College in 1878 to meet the growing demand for Malay teachers.
- This college produced the first formally trained Malay teachers in Singapore and Malaya.14 In 1893, the Isemonger Committee, led by then colonial treasurer E.E.
Isemonger, was formed to examine the system of Malay schools in the Straits Settlements. The committee’s report noted that the number of Malay schools had increased from 16 in 1872 to 189 in 1892.15 Despite the growth in numbers, 22 Malay schools and the Malay Teachers’ College closed down in 1895 due to low student enrolment.16 When became the assistant director of education of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States in 1916, he made substantial changes to the Malay school curriculum.
Under the new curriculum, arts and craft were given more prominence. Accordingly, subjects such as gardening, sewing and basketry were introduced to cater to the needs of the rural communities in the Malay states.17 In 1919, the government allowed Malay boys in Singapore who had passed Standard III (Primary Three) to transfer to English schools.18 Chinese schools Chinese schools were reported to have been in existence in Singapore from as early as the 1820s.19 Established by wealthy Chinese businessmen, clan associations and Christian missionaries, most of these schools adopted a classical Chinese curriculum similar to what was taught in China.
Students were also taught letter-writing skills and the use of the abacus. The exception was the missionary schools, where the focus was on teaching the Christian doctrine and gaining student converts.20 When China adopted a modern system of education modelled along Japanese lines at the turn of the 20th century, schools based on such a system emerged in Singapore.21 Between 1900 and 1919, the number of modern Chinese schools in Singapore grew rapidly.
- Tuan Mong, and Ai Tong schools were all established during this period.
- In 1919, the first Chinese-medium high school – (now part of Hwa Chong Institution) – was established.22 In these modern schools, Mandarin replaced Chinese dialects as the medium of instruction.23 They followed the curriculum taught in China and included subjects such as arithmetic, science, history and geography.
Most teachers in these schools were also from China. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese schools became hotbeds of patriotism and Chinese nationalism.24 In 1919, the politicised Chinese students and teachers participated in anti-Japanese activities. In response, the colonial government sought to increase control over the Chinese schools through the Education Ordinance introduced in 1920.
The ordinance was a law that required the registration of all private schools, their managers and teachers. The ordinance also gave the government power to make and enforce regulations relating to the conduct of school staff and students and to declare a school unlawful if it was found to be engaged in revolutionary activities.
In 1923, the government began giving grants-in-aid to Chinese schools as an additional means of exerting control over these schools.25 Despite these efforts, the Chinese schools continued to be politically active and were strongly influenced by events occurring in China.26 Tamil schools Formal Tamil education for children in Singapore began at the Singapore Free School with a class of 18 pupils in 1834.
- The class did not survive long due to various reasons, including lack of teachers and the apathy of parents and students towards Tamil education.
- The class permanently closed down in 1838.27 Subsequently, the colonial government and Christian missions also attempted to start Tamil schools.
- These schools struggled to survive due to various challenges such as the small Tamil-speaking population as well as a lack of suitable teachers and premises.
In 1920, the only Tamil school registered in Singapore was the Missions Estate School established by the Methodist Mission in 1913. By 1941, there were, however, 18 registered Tamil schools with an enrolment of nearly 1,000 students.28 Just before the outbreak of World War II, there were 5,800 students enrolled in Malay schools, 38,000 in Chinese schools, and 1,000 in Tamil schools.29 Japanese Occupation (1942–45) Most Malay and Tamil schools continued to operate during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, though with lower enrolment numbers compared to just before the war.30 Some Chinese schools remained open, but attendance at these schools was drastically lower than before.
In 1943, there were 4,572 students attending Malay schools, 787 attending Indian or Tamil schools, and approximately 3,000 attending Chinese schools.31 Postwar developments Reforming vernacular education In 1946, the government introduced a 10-year plan for education in the colony that aimed to provide six years of free primary education in a language medium of the parents’ choice – English, Malay, Chinese or Tamil.32 The plan also pledged financial support for vernacular schools.33 However, the plan had not borne fruit by 1955 and vernacular schools demanded changes to the education system.34 In response to unrest among Chinese students, an all-party committee of the was formed in May 1955 to investigate and make recommendations regarding Chinese education in Singapore.35 The committee recommended equal treatment of all schools (English and vernacular), and called for vernacular schools to be eventually integrated into the general education system, which would ideally feature bilingualism at the primary level and trilingualism at the secondary level.36 These recommendations were incorporated into the Education Ordinance that was passed in 1957.37 In 1958, the first Chinese-medium tertiary institution outside China – – was officially opened.
The university aimed to provide higher education for Chinese-stream high school graduates as well as train high school teachers.38 Emphasis on Malay language When the (PAP) formed the government in 1959, Malay was declared the national language and the government increased opportunities for students and adults to learn the language.
This policy was adopted mainly to increase the chances of merger with Malaya.39 When Singapore left the in 1965, there was a diminished interest in the Malay language and English was accepted as the de facto working language of the country.40 Integration Another policy thrust of the government was integration through the creation of integrated schools where students from two or more language streams would study in the same school under one principal.
The aim of this policy was to foster better understanding between students of the different language streams through sports and,41 The integration scheme began in 1960 with two schools, Bukit Panjang High School and Serangoon Garden High School, each enrolling 1,200 students – half from the Chinese stream and half from the English stream.
By 1970, there were 106 integrated schools out of 526 schools in Singapore. These 106 schools had a combined enrolment of 166,000 out of a student population of 514,000.42 Bilingualism While bilingualism was encouraged in schools, learning a second language was at the time still regarded as optional due to emphasis being placed on other examinable subjects in the curriculum.
In 1960, the government made the study of a second language compulsory for all primary schools, 43 and this was rolled out at the secondary level in 1966.44 Subsequently, efforts were made to increase student exposure to a second language by using the mother tongue as a medium of instruction in selected subjects.
For example, in 1974, the government announced that a new primary school subject, Education for Living, would be taught in the mother tongue.45 End of vernacular schools Tamil schools Tamil education underwent a short period of rejuvenation in the 1960s when Tamil schools became fully aided by the government.
Enrolment increased and the first government-aided Tamil secondary school, Umar Pulavar Tamil Secondary School, was opened. Believed to have started in 1946, the school received government aid for its new building completed in 1960.46 But by 1971, there were reports of Tamil schools suffering from inadequate facilities and teachers, resulting in rapidly falling enrolment.47 By 1975, there were no Primary One registrants for the Tamil stream.48 Malay schools A similar decline in enrolment was experienced in Malay schools.
- In 1966, over 5,000 pupils were enrolled in Malay schools.
- This dropped to about 2,000 pupils by 1969.49 By 1982, there were no new students enrolling in Malay schools.50 Chinese schools Enrolment in Chinese-medium schools also began to fall during the postwar period.
- In 1959, 45.9 percent of the student population was in Chinese-medium schools, but this figure had fallen to 11.2 percent by 1978.
The shift to English schools came about due to better job prospects for those with an English education.51 In 1980, merged with the University of Singapore to form the, which offered English-medium tertiary education.52 Given the falling enrolment in Chinese schools, the government introduced the (SAP) in 1979.
The plan initially aimed to develop nine Chinese secondary schools into effectively bilingual schools that had the values and traditions of a Chinese school.53 In December 1983, the Ministry of Education announced that all pupils in Singapore would be taught English as a first language in a new national stream by 1987.
This policy signalled the end of Chinese-medium schools, the last of the vernacular schools.54 This new policy, however, did not mean the end of vernacular education as the Singapore education system would be based on a bilingual national stream with English as the first language and the student’s mother tongue as the second language.55 Mother tongue Currently all Singapore students are required to study their mother tongue, which is usually either Chinese, Malay or Tamil.
- It is an examinable subject for the (PSLE), as well as the (GCE) N-, O- and A-Level examinations.56 1.T.R.
- Doraisamy, ed., (Singapore: Teachers’ Training College, 1969), 6. (Call no.
- RSING 370.95957 TEA) 2. David D.
- Chelliah, (Kuala Lumpur: The Government Press, 1948), 35. (Call no.
- RCLOS 370.9595 CHE) 3.
- Chelliah,, 38.4.J.B.
Neilson, Annual Report of the Department of Education for the Year 1947 (Singapore: Govt. Print. Off., 1948), 1.5. Neilson, Annual Report of the Department of Education for the Year 1947, 1.6. Chelliah,, 40.7. Chelliah,, 43–44.8. Walter Makepeace, Gilbert E.
- Brooke and Roland St.J.
- Braddell,, vol.1 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1991), 431–2 (Call no.
- RSING 959.57 ONE-); Singapore Institution Free School, (Singapore: Mission Press, 1840), 3.
- From BookSG) 9.H.E.
- Wilson, (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1978), 24. (Call no.
- RSING 379.5957 WIL) 10.
Doraisamy,, 23.11. Doraisamy,, 104–5.12. “Report of the Committee Appointed to Enquire into the System of Vernacular Education in the Colony (the Isemonger Report), 1894,” in, ed. Francis H.K. Wong and Gwee Yee Hean (Singapore: Pan Pacific Book Distributors, 1980), 20.
Call no. RSING 370.95957 WON) 13. Doraisamy,, 105; Tan Yap Kwang, Chow Hong Kheng and Christine Goh, (Singapore: World Scientific, 2008), 7, 20. (Call no. RSING 371.26095957 TAN) 14. Doraisamy,, 105; “,” Straits Times Overland Journal, 12 August 1879, 2. (From NewspaperSG) 15. “,” 18–20.16. Doraisamy,, 107.17.
Chelliah,, 71.18. Doraisamy,, 107.19. Doraisamy,, 82.20. Lee Ting Hui, (Singapore: South Seas Society, 2006), 1–4. (Call no. RSING 371.82995105951 LEE); Doraisamy,, 83.21. Lee,, 8–9.22. Doraisamy,, 85–86; “,” Hwa Chong Institution, 2016.23. Lee,, 21.24.
- Doraisamy,, 85–86.25.
- Doraisamy,, 86–88; “,” Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), 29 May 1920, 12.
- From NewspaperSG) 26.
- Lee,, 158–9.27.
- Doraisamy,, 116.28.
- Doraisamy,, 117–8.29.
- Doraisamy,, 38.30.
- Neilson, Annual Report of the Department of Education for the Year 1947, 18–19; Wilson,, 96–97.31.
Wilson,, 98–99.32. Neilson, Annual Report of the Department of Education for the Year 1947, 1.33. Saravanan Gopinathan, (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1974), 8. (Call no. RSING 379.5957 GOP) 34. Gopinathan,, 16–17.35. “,” Straits Times, 22 May 1955, 1.
From NewspaperSG) 36. Chew Swee Kee, (Singapore: Government Printing Office, 1956), 39 (Call no. RCLOS 371.9795105957 SIN); P.M. Raman, “,” Singapore Free Press, 8 February 1956, 4. (From NewspaperSG) 37. “,” Straits Times, 19 November 1957, 4. (From NewspaperSG) 38. Ji Baokun and Cui Guiqiang 纪宝坤 and 崔贵强, Nanyang da xue li shi tu pian ji (Singapore: Times Media for Chinese Heritage Centre, 2000), 23–25.
(Call no. Chinese RSING 378.5957 JBK) 39. Gopinathan,, 33–34.40. Bibi Jan Mohd Ayyub, “Language Issues in the Malay Community,” in, ed. Saravanan Gopinathan, et al (Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1994), 209–10. (Call no. RSING 306.4495957 LAN) 41. Doraisamy,, 64; Gopinathan,, 35.42.
Yap Cheng Tong, “,” Straits Times, 19 April 1970, 10. (From NewspaperSG) 43. Ang Wai Hoong, “Singapore’s Textbook Experience 1965–97: Meeting the Needs of Curriculum Change,” in, ed. Lee Sing Kong, et al (Singapore: National Institute of Education, 2008), 75. (Call no. RSING 370.9595709045 TOW) 44. Gopinathan,, 43.45.
Gopinathan,, 45; Judith Holmberg, “,” New Nation, 13 October 1973, 2. (From NewspaperSG) 46. Doraisamy,, 121–2; The school is also referred to as Umar Pulavar Tamil High School. See A.P. Raman, “,” Straits Times, 24 May 1985, 12. (From NewspaperSG) 47.
- Patrick de Souza, “,” New Nation, 12 March 1971, 2.
- From NewspaperSG) 48.
- Sunny Wee, “,” New Nation, 25 February 1977, 1; “,” Straits Times, 26 February 1977, 6.
- From NewspaperSG) 49.K.
- Ismail, “,” New Nation, 29 April 1971, 7.
- From NewspaperSG) 50.
- Hedwig Alfred, “,” Straits Times, 20 December 1983, 1; “,” Singapore Monitor, 20 December 1983, 25.
(From NewspaperSG) 51. John Yip Soon Kwong, Eng Soo Peck and Jay Yap Ye Chin, “25 Years of Educational Reform,” in, ed. John Yip Soon Kwong and Sim Wong Kooi (Singapore: Longman Singapore, 1990), 11. (Call no. RSING 370.95957 EVO) 52. “,” Straits Times, 13 April 1980, 1.
From NewspaperSG) 53. Leslie Fong, Koh Yan Poh and June Tan, “,” Straits Times, 1 December 1978, 1. (From NewspaperSG) 54. Hedwig Alfred and June Tan, “,” Straits Times, 22 December 1983, 1. (From NewspaperSG) 55. “,” Straits Times, 10 December 1984, 14. (From NewspaperSG) 56. “,” Ministry of Education, accessed 19 August 2016.
The information in this article is valid as of 29 September 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) was established in 1955 by the then newly elected Labour Front government headed by, The Education Ordinance, which applied to all schools in Singapore, was enacted on 13 December 1957. The ordinance (replaced, On 8 December 1953, the colonial government in Singapore issued a white paper titled Chinese Schools Bilingual Education, On 29 December 1869, then Governor Harry Ord appointed a select committee chaired by Colonel R. Woolley to look into, Established on 1 March 1950, the Teachers’ Training College (TTC) was Singapore’s first permanent, fulltime training, The Independent Schools Scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Education in 1987 to give selected leading schools, Bilingualism has been the cornerstone of Singapore’s language policy since the People’s Action Party (PAP) was elected, The Special Assistance Plan (SAP) was introduced in 1979 as a long-term scheme to preserve the best Chinese-stream schools, In 1902, the Legislative Council appointed a commission to study and report on the system of English education in the, Ruth Wong Hie King (b.10 June 1918, Singapore–d.1 February 1982, Singapore) is widely regarded as a pioneer educator, The Chinese High School was founded in 1919 as the first secondary school in Singapore offering a modern education using, Compulsory values education was first implemented in schools in Singapore in the late 1950s through civics, ethics and, For much of the early 19th to mid-20th century, technical and vocational education in Singapore was underdeveloped due, Formal art and music education programmes in Singapore were established by the British colonial government in the 1920s, In August 1978, then Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee was tasked to lead a study team to identify problems in Singapore’s, Sang Nila Utama Secondary School, formerly located at Upper Aljunied Road, was the first Malay-medium secondary school, Education for children (of typical school-going ages) with disabilities is managed by voluntary welfare organisations, Raffles Institution is one of the oldest schools in Singapore, with a history that stretches back to 1819 when Stamford, Nanyang Girls’ High School was founded in 1917 by the Singapore branch of the Chinese United League (Tong Menghui; 中国同盟会), The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a national examination held annually for pupils at the end of their, Yong Nyuk Lin (b.24 June 1918, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaya–d.29 June 2012, Singapore) was the minister for education, The National Institute of Education (NIE) is Singapore’s only teacher training institution. In addition to engaging, Rankings of secondary schools and junior colleges (JCs) based on academic performance were first published by The Straits, National Junior College (NJC) was opened in 1969 as Singapore’s first junior college. It moved to its current location, The Umar Pulavar Tamil School (UPTS) was founded by the Singapore Kadayanallur Muslim League (SKML) in 1946. It became, The Ministry of Education (MOE) launched the “Teach Less, Learn More” (TLLM) initiative in 2005 to improve the quality, The General Certificate of Education (GCE) was introduced in 1951 in the United Kingdom. In Singapore, GCE examinations, Religious Knowledge (RK) was introduced as a compulsory programme at the upper secondary levels in schools from 1984, The Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme was introduced in 2004 by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to cultivate a flexible, The “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation” (TSLN) vision was launched by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in June 1997. Co-curricular activities (CCAs) are a core component of the holistic education received by youths in Singapore. CCAs, In 2009, the Ministry of Education (MOE) supported the implementation of the Programme for Active Learning (PAL), which, The Tamils make up the largest segment of the South Indian community in Singapore. Originating from the present-day, The Gifted Education Programme (GEP) is an enrichment programme designed to nurture intellectually gifted students to, Singapore’s earliest attempt to introduce compulsory conscription was in 1952. The endeavour was unsuccessful as it, The National University of Singapore (NUS) was officially established on 8 August 1980 through the merger of Nanyang, Outram Road School, now known as Outram Secondary School, was officially opened on 26 February 1906 by then Governor, The premiership of Lee Kuan Yew, which lasted over three decades from 5 June 1959 to 28 November 1990, was a dynamic, Founded as an English class for a handful of Malay students in 1876, Victoria School has produced many notable alumni, Nanyang University was the first university outside of China catering to high school graduates from the Chinese stream. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (b.6 July 1781, off Port Morant, Jamaica–d.5 July 1826, Middlesex, England) is known as, Sexuality education refers to the process of acquiring knowledge and skills, as well as forming attitudes, beliefs and, Literary festivals in Singapore play host to readers and writers alike, and include book festivals, writers’ festivals, Sophia Blackmore (b.18 October 1857, Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia–d.3 July 1945, Australia) was the first, The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Vocational and Technical Education laid the foundation for the development, William Fitzjames Oldham, Bishop (b.15 December, 1854, Bangalore, South India – d.27 March, 1937, Pasadena, California,, Richard James Wilkinson (b.29 May 1867, Salonika, Greece–d.5 December 1941, Izmir, Turkey) was a colonial administrator, M. Balakrishnan (b.18 September 1938, Singapore–), or Mayandiambalam Balakrishnan, is a prominent author popularly, Tea dances were a popular social event in Singapore from the 1920s to the 1960s where patrons socialised over music, Raffles College was set up in 1928 at 469 Bukit Timah Road as a college for higher education in the arts and sciences.
: Vernacular education
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What are vernacular languages Why were they called vernacular?
Etymology of the Term ‘Vernacular’ – The term ‘vernacular’ is a linguistic one. Vernacular derives from the Latin vernaculus, meaning ‘domestic, native, indigenous’; from verna, meaning ‘slave born in the master’s house, native’. Take this analogy between architecture and language: in linguistic terms, the vernacular language of a region is the local standard native language or regional dialect, the language commonly spoken, or a variety of such everyday speech that is specific to a community group or region.
Therefore, vernacular architecture is the local building style, the common way of building. As such, it comprises a range of building traditions as wide as that of the linguistic traditions. They can be traced across regions or even countries, although, like languages, they may develop dialectal differences, in some cases being found only among some isolated communities.
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