A Christian View of Public Education in Singapore
(ETHOS Institute™ Engagement Series)
What is a Christian vision of public education in Singapore? A lot depends on how we define the purposes of education. For instance, the “educating to live a life” approach is essentially pragmatic and involves learning about and improving the human condition and our particular situations for the better. This is how we sustain ourselves through renewal and continuity. Then, again, it’s also important to live well and prepare for useful and meaningful employment. The “educating to earn a living” approach concerns the creation of human capital at individual, societal and global levels. Unquestionably, education has utilitarian value but there are opportunity costs in choosing one path over another.
This booklet shows how balancing secular, tolerant and egalitarian interests means having to make some tough decisions and steering a path that is, at times, highly individualistic, strongly-competitive and performative in nature. In striking contrast, a Christian vision of public education is based on the distinctive characteristics of the faith – unconditional love, community-orientation and spiritual rootedness in a perfect creator God. We do this on the assurance that God is working in all things in the execution of His eternal plan despite our particular circumstances. We also have an immutable basis for dealing with change and a sure foundation for personal and corporate character development in this life and beyond towards eternity.
When events and situations challenge and question existing public educational policies and practices, Christians ought to respond in godly ways that also inform and edify non- and pre-believers. If we are ready to accept God’s free gift of eternal life and take on the responsibilities that this implies, then we need to learn what it truly means to be a child of God and live this out in the realm of public education in consistent, coherent and convincing ways for God’s glory and His glory alone.
Dr. Phillip A. Towndrow (Ed.D., Durham) is a church lay leader with extensive experience in small group work, discipling and Christian education. He’s currently a teacher, teacher-educator, and educational researcher at a tertiary-level institution in Singapore where he specialises in New Media Literacies, Teacher Professional Learning, and Pedagogy and Classroom Practices. Phillip is the author of ‘Walking with God as a Christian Educator: How to Live out your Faith as you Teach’, published by Genesis, an imprint of Armour Publishing. He also hosts the popular website and blog, ‘Christian Educators Together’.
The printed publication is available at the Bible Resource Centre (7 Armenian Street, S179932) or via online purchase by clicking here (retail price: S$10). E-book is also available now (@S$5.35 w/GST) by clicking here.