Social Studies Education in South and South East Asian Contexts: Perspectives from East Asia 9780367523688, 9780367523701, 9781003057598

The education of young people is context bound. This edited volume explores the contexts that characterise South and Sou

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Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication Page
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
Series editor’s note
Section 1 A theoretical perspective on social studies education
1 An exploration of social studies education in Asian contexts
Section 2 Politics, culture and reform in South/South East Asian social studies education
2 Postcolonial national identity formation through social studies: the case of India
3 Developing loyal citizens: a case of social studies education in Pakistan
4 Social studies education in Bangladesh: contextual influences, reforms and development and curriculum
5 Social studies education in Singapore: from cultural transmission to social transformation
6 Social studies curriculum in Thailand: a contested terrain
7 Social studies as citizenship transmission in Indonesian schools
8 The development of social studies education in Myanmar
Section 3 Social studies education in South and South East Asian classrooms
9 Marginalised students and their contexts: a case from India
10 Teaching and learning in social studies classrooms in Pakistan
11 Civic and citizenship education in Bangladesh
12 Discussion and inquiry in Singapore social studies
13 ‘Noble character’ as a focus in moral education in Malaysia
14 Adaptive model of social studies learning and classroom culture in Indonesian schools
15 Teaching history in Myanmar: nation building or national reconciliation?
Section 4 Lessons from Asian contexts for social studies education
16 Interrogating the nature of Asian social studies
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Social Studies Education in South and South East Asian Contexts

The education of young people is context bound. This edited volume explores the contexts that characterise South and South East Asia and their influence on social studies education. There is not a single context across this broad geographical expanse, rather different religions, different political systems and different values exert influences that create distinctive programmes that characterise different countries. Yet there are also commonalities such as the post-colonial nature of most of the countries portrayed in this book, determined efforts at establishing new national communities and multiple value systems that lead to distinctive local priorities. There are also voices of resistance in these chapters, recognising the realities of local contexts but also recognising the need for change. Social studies education in these contexts may well be descended from its origins in North America, but in South and South Asian contexts, it has taken on new purposes, new forms and new values. Education researchers, policymakers and postgraduate students in comparative education will find the volume useful in its exploration and comparison of the social studies curricular and reforms that shaped them. Kerry J Kennedy is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Advisor (Academic Development) at The Education University of Hong Kong. He is also Distinguished Visiting Professor in Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg.

Routledge Series on Schools and Schooling in Asia Series editor: Kerry J Kennedy

1 Minority Students in East Asia Government Policies, School Practices and Teacher Responses Edited by JoAnn Phillion, Ming Tak Hue and Yuxiang Wang 2 A Chinese Perspective on Teaching and Learning Edited by Betty C. Eng 3 Language, Culture, and Identity Among Minority Students in China The Case of the Hui By Yuxiang Wang 4 Citizenship Education in China Preparing Citizens for the “Chinese Century” Edited by Kerry J Kennedy, Gregory P. Fairbrother, and Zhenzhou Zhao 5 Social Studies Education in South and South East Asia Edited by Kerry J Kennedy

Social Studies Education in South and South East Asian Contexts

Edited by Kerry J Kennedy

First published 2022 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2022 selection and editorial matter, Kerry J Kennedy; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Kerry J Kennedy to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-367-52368-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-52370-1 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-05759-8 (ebk) Typeset in Galliard by Apex CoVantage, LLC

I would like to dedicate this book to the late Professor Colin Marsh who was a leader of social studies education in Australia. He was well known for his writing and professional engagement. He was also a keen contributor to broader curriculum issues, and his voice was often heard on a range of professional issues that challenged Australian educators. He also worked in Asia – especially in Singapore and Hong Kong – where he was well known by teachers and professional communities. He was a personal friend and a mentor who continues to be missed and whose memory is cherished.


List of figures List of tables List of contributors Series editor’s note

x xi xii xvii


A theoretical perspective on social studies education 1 An exploration of social studies education in Asian contexts

1 3



Politics, culture and reform in South/South East Asian social studies education


2 Postcolonial national identity formation through social studies: the case of India



3 Developing loyal citizens: a case of social studies education in Pakistan



4 Social studies education in Bangladesh: contextual influences, reforms and development and curriculum



5 Social studies education in Singapore: from cultural transmission to social transformation EE M O I KH O


viii Contents 6 Social studies curriculum in Thailand: a contested terrain



7 Social studies as citizenship transmission in Indonesian schools



8 The development of social studies education in Myanmar




Social studies education in South and South East Asian classrooms 9 Marginalised students and their contexts: a case from India

117 119


10 Teaching and learning in social studies classrooms in Pakistan



11 Civic and citizenship education in Bangladesh



12 Discussion and inquiry in Singapore social studies



13 ‘Noble character’ as a focus in moral education in Malaysia



14 Adaptive model of social studies learning and classroom culture in Indonesian schools



15 Teaching history in Myanmar: nation building or national reconciliation? TH AW ZI N O O





Lessons from Asian contexts for social studies education


16 Interrogating the nature of Asian social studies






6.1 Display of the 12 core values in the classroom 11.1 Four domains and 12 sub-domains of civic and citizenship education 14.1 Project citizen develops the ability to make insightful, reasoned, and responsible decisions 14.2 Examples of display portfolios and documentation 14.3 Showcasing class portfolios

83 146 195 196 196


1.1a 1.1b 3.1 4.1 4.2 7.1 7.2 7.3 8.1 8.2 8.3 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 13.1 14.1 14.2 14.3 15.1 15.2

Social Studies Education in Selected South East Asian Countries Social Studies Education in Selected South Asian Countries Proposed Components and Dimensions of Social Studies Education Social Studies Education Contents (From Grade I to Grade V) Social Studies Education Contents (From Grade VI to Grade VIII) Three Traditions of Social Studies Status, Goals, Content, and Learning of Social Studies Purpose of Social Subjects at Senior High School Level Social Studies Across the Curriculum Main Aspects of Myanmar’s Teacher Education Provision Levels of Assessment in Myanmar’s Education System Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Primary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Junior Secondary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Secondary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Higher Secondary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Civic and Citizenship Education in Classroom Teaching Current Population Estimates, Malaysia, 2020 Learning Process Based on a Scientific Approach Steps in Learning Social Studies Using the Project Citizen Model International Project Citizen Showcase Delegation and Respective Project Goals Questions Used in Interviews With History Teachers and Researchers Characteristics of the Teacher Interview Sample

10 11 40 52 54 92 93 96 111 111 112 149 150 152 153 156 175 189 192 194 213 214


Takbir Ali holds a PhD degree in education, with specialization in curriculum studies. He is Associate Professor and works as Head, Outreach, at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED), Karachi, Pakistan. He has extensive experience in development education. He has designed and managed several educational improvement projects and programmes. He has experience in course design and teaching both in school and higher education. He has research interest in teacher education and professional development, educational leadership and school improvement. He has edited a book (Lessons Learnt from Implementation of Educational Reform in Pakistan: Implications for Policy and Practice) and published his research in international journals and book chapters. Thithimadee Arphattananon is Associate Professor at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand. Her research focuses on how education and instructional practices in schools can go beyond the recognition of cultural differences and achieve the goal of equality for students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Until present, she has conducted research which examined multicultural education policies in Thailand and the practices in schools that enrolled students from diverse cultures, namely Muslims and migrant students. Currently, she works with schools to develop lesson plans based on the principles of critical multicultural education. Miron Kumar Bhowmik is Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership at The Education University of Hong Kong. Previously, he was Programme Officer at the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also worked for the British Council and several universities in Bangladesh. His research interests include diversity, equity and inclusion in education, “out of school”/dropout/school failure issues, ethnic minority education, critical discourse, information and communications technology in education, and acculturative stress and coping behaviour, and he has published in these areas. Dasim Budimansyah is Professor in Sociology of Citizenship at the Indonesia University of Education. He has had extensive experience in curriculum development and learning. In the last two decades, he developed the Project Citizen



for Civic Education and Social Studies. With the support of Higher Education Applied Research funding, in the last five years, his innovation has been disseminated in Indonesia schools. He also received research funding from the Higher Education Research Consortium to develop a blended learning system in general education courses for three years. The results of his research are presented at the One Asia Convention Nagoya 2017 (4–5 August 2017) and the Asian Conference on Education, Tokyo (31 October–3 November 2019) and published in several reputable international journals. Min Fui Chee is a lecturer in the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group in the National Institute of Education, Singapore. She is currently the PGDE (Post-graduate Diploma in Education) programme leader for primary social studies. Her teaching specialization is in subject knowledge, teaching methods and curriculum leadership. Min Fui is active in professional development courses and has served on syllabus development and curriculum development committees in the Ministry of Education. She has research experience in ethnic relations in schools as well as teacher knowledge in primary social studies. Her other research interest is in classroom discussion. Sahil Jain is a research assistant at the Centre for Comparative and Global Education at O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU). He participated at the first World Youth Conference on Kindness organized by the International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building in collaboration with UNESCO-MGIEP in August 2019, which promoted sustainable development goals through the incorporation of a socio-emotional approach to education, especially with respect to kindness and empathy. He is a graduate in political science from the University of Delhi and a postgraduate in public policy from O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU). For his capstone research project in public policy, he has been studying the work on a renowned NGO working in the education sector in India for the uplift of children from tribal and marginalised backgrounds. His academic interests lie in the area of education and public policy sector. Shahid Karim is currently a postdoctoral fellow at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK). Before he embarked on his PhD journey at EdUHK, he served at the Aga Khan University Institute for Education Development (AKU-IED) Karachi as a research associate and as a project manager at the Charter for Compassion, Karachi, Pakistan. Dr Karim has served in the education sector for several years as a teacher, researcher, school administrator and education project manager. He has studied at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, London, England, and Karachi University, Pakistan, for his postgraduate courses MA in Muslim Cultures and Master of Administrative Sciences, respectively. His research interests include acculturation and intercultural education. Kerry J Kennedy is Professor Emeritus and Advisor (Academic Development) at The Education University of Hong Kong. He is also a Distinguished Visiting

xiv Contributors Professor at the University of Johannesburg. He is the editor of Routledge’s Schools and Schooling in Asia Series, the Asia Europe Education Dialogue Series, the Perspectives on Education in Africa Series and Springer’s Civic and Citizenship Education in the 21st Century Series. In 2012, he was a co-winner of IEA’s Richard Wolf Memorial Award for Educational Research, and in 2019, he was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Citizenship Identity and Citizenship Education European Association (CiCea). Ee Moi Kho was a senior lecturer at the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group of the National Institute of Education, where she was involved in pre-service and in-service education of teachers. She has sat on numerous curriculum review and development committees in the Singapore Ministry of Education and was involved in the conceptualization and development of the Ministry of Education Heritage Centre. Ee Moi has been active in promoting the teaching and learning of history and social studies through her work with schools, providing consultancy services and training in areas of curriculum development and pedagogy. Her research interests are in gender in education, history, social studies and citizenship education. Mousumi Mukherjee is Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building. She is also the member secretary of the Research Ethics and Review Board (RERB) and founding executive director of the Centre for Comparative and Global Education (CCGE) at O.P. Jindal Global University. She is a Fulbright scholar and expert in comparative and international education with 20 years of experience in the school education and higher education sector. She has worked in teacher education and professional development in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Australia and India. She has also worked as an expert consultant with international organizations, such as UNESCO-IIEP, Toronto-based Higher Education Strategy Associates and Australia-India Institute. Recently, she has also worked with the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) in India as an external resource person to help develop and coauthor a Handbook for Upper-primary School Teachers on Global Citizenship Education. This handbook has won an award in 2019 by the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre for Education in International Understanding. She has served as Associate Editor of the Routledge journal – Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education – for four years. She has published edited book chapters and articles in several internationally peer-reviewed journals, including the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Thaw Zin Oo is an economics student at the Yangon University of Economics. In 2019–2020, he was the founder and president of The Economics Club. He has a certificate in business skill for youth program from the Centre of Excellent Business Skill Development, a certificate in mini research training from the Youth Circle, Myanmar, a certificate in digital marketing from the Career Assessment Studio and a certificate in research methodology from the Creative Language and Research Training Centre. In 2019 he was a volunteer for



the American Centre iNature Environmental Club and the Global Platform Myanmar. Theodorus Pangalila has a Bachelor of Philosophy from the Seminary School of Philosophy, Pineleng (Manado-North Sulawesi), completed in 2007. In the year 2008, he was appointed as lecturer at the Pancasila and Citizenship Education Department of Faculty of Social Sciences, Manado State University. In 2011, he continued his master’s degree program at the Graduate School of the University of Indonesian Education, Bandung, graduating in June 2013. In 2015, he continued his doctoral program at the Merdeka Malang University Postgraduate Program in the social sciences study program, graduating in September 2018. Currently, he is actively engaged in the subjects of Pancasila philosophy, citizenship ethics, citizenship education, character education, and political science at the Pancasila and Civic Education Department of Manado State University. Goutam Roy is an assistant professor at the Institute of Education and Research (IER), University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh. He completed his MSc in Educational Science and Technology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and his MEd in Educational Evaluation and Research at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His teaching and research interests include assessment in education, primary and non-formal education and STEM education. Previously, he has worked for two international NGOs as a researcher and has produced a number of publications in the areas of students’ assessment, nonformal education and primary education. Noor Zulina S De Asildo is a moral education teacher who works in a district on the East Coast of Sabah. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree (guidance and counselling) with a minor in moral education and a Master of Science (moral education) from Universiti Putra Malaysia. Due to the deep interest in the field of moral education, she was given the duty to teach the subject of moral education in school, despite graduating in the field of guidance and counselling. She gained experience teaching moral education subjects at the upper secondary school level of Form Four and Five for eight years before continuing her studies for a Master of Science (moral education) under the Federal Training Prize (HLP) program, sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. After three years of teaching, she was offered another HLP to study at the doctoral level, where she is continuing to study moral education. Jasmine Sim is Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Policy, Curriculum and Leadership Academic Group at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She researches in civics and citizenship and social studies education and has published widely in international peer-reviewed journals. Akshay Singh earned his BA degree in English literature from the University of Delhi and a master’s in public policy from O.P. Jindal Global University. He is currently Teaching, Research and Intellectual Pursuits (TRIP) Fellow at O.P.

xvi Contributors Jindal Global University. He is keen to leverage his skill set by undertaking interdisciplinary research to contribute towards the development and policy discourse in the country. His interests lie in examining the delivery of public services, such as health and education, through the lens of program design and evaluation. Foujia Sultana completed her PhD from The Education University of Hong Kong, where she examined how e-portfolios in higher education support students in developing their reflective thinking. Previously, she worked as an assistant professor in the School of Education at the Bangladesh Open University and as a lecturer at the Dhaka International University, Bangladesh. She has also worked for a renowned international NGO as a material developer. Her research interests include pedagogy and e-learning in higher education, technology-enhanced learning, ICT in education, and she has published in these areas. Maizura Yasin is a senior lecturer in the Department of Languages and Humanities Education, Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her expertise is in the field of moral education and values education, especially in the areas of teaching, research, consultancy and community service. She focuses more on researching the psychology of moral education.

Series editor’s note

The so called “Asian century” is providing opportunities and challenges both for the people of Asia as well as in the West. The success of many of Asia’s young people in schooling often leads educators in the West to try and emulate Asian school practices. Yet these practices are culturally embedded. One of the key issues to be taken on by this series, therefore, is to provide Western policymakers and academics with insights into these culturally embedded practices in order to assist better understanding of them outside of specific cultural contexts. There is vast diversity as well as disparities within Asia. This is a fundamental issue and for that reason and it will be addressed in this series by making these diversities and disparities the subject of investigation. The ‘tiger’ economies initially grabbed most of the media attention on Asian development and more recently China has become the centre of attention. Yet there are also very poor countries in the region and their education systems seem unable to be transformed to meet new challenges. Thus the whole of Asia will be seen as important for this series in order to address not only questions relevant to developed countries but also to developing countries. In other words, the series will take a ‘whole of Asia’ approach. Asia can no longer be considered in isolation. It is as subject to the forces of globalization, migration and transnational movements as are other regions of the world. Yet the diversity of cultures, religions and social practices in Asia means that responses to these forces are not predictable. This series, therefore, is interested to identify the ways tradition and modernity interact to produce distinctive contexts for schools and schooling in an area of the world that impacts across the globe. Against this background, the current volume dealing with social studies education makes a welcome addition to the Routledge Series on Schools and Schooling in Asia. Like its companion volume, Social Studies Education in East Asian Contexts, this book examines the formal structures, their policies and reforms for social studies education but with a focus on South and South Asian contexts. It also looks into classroom and at times the community to highlight some very distinctive features of learning opportunities in these contexts. Kerry J Kennedy Series Editor Routledge Series on Schools and Schooling in Asia

Section 1

A theoretical perspective on social studies education


An exploration of social studies education in Asian contexts Kerry J Kennedy

In what was likely the first attempt to focus academic attention on social studies education in Asia Grossman and Lo (2008) argued that: it did not seem useful . . . to use the term social studies in an Asian context where its meaning would not be clear. Not all regions/countries offer social science/humanities education through an integrated approach. Some still follow the traditional disciplinary domains, while others cross disciplinary boundaries with minimal integration (e.g. national and world histories). (p. 4) Inherent in this approach is a perspective that defnes social studies as an integrated school subject rather than individual, single disciplines. Often such integration brings together different disciplines although a deeper kind of integration might be based on using major social issues to construct the social studies curriculum. Debates have raged on the topic of what properly constitutes the social studies, particularly in the United States, and this was refected in the Grossman and Lo (2008) earlier statement. Yet the statement can be also seen as problematic. It refects a distinctly Western, and in particular a North American, view of social studies education based on the assumption that such a view is universal. The United States may well lay claim to having “invented” integrated social studies education. Yet this should not preclude the identifcation of any local or indigenous views or any exploration of how social studies education emerged in local contexts. The purpose of this chapter, therefore, is to try and shine some light on the origins of social education in Asian contexts. It will explore the way the modern school curriculum has been influenced by notions of social education/social studies education in the region. As a prelude, it is important to say this approach does not reject the idea that Western forms of social studies education have been influential in Asia. In particular contexts, there is little doubt that Western influences have been very strong. The key issue, however, is to understand how local and global influences regarding social studies education have worked together. In what follows, the following issues will be discussed: • •

Asia as a context for social studies education; Tradition and its influence on the development of social studies education in Asia;


Kerry J Kennedy

• •

The modern school curriculum and social studies education; and Social studies education in Asia – nations charting their own futures

Asia as a context for social studies education To talk of “Asia” is to talk essentially of little more than an acknowledged geographic entity itself characterised by diversity. At the same time, these geographies tell nothing of the diversities that characterise the political, social and cultural characteristics of the entity. Indeed, so significant are these diversities that it may problematic even to use the term “Asian” as an essentialist label. This can be seen particularly in different geographic areas such as East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and South East Asia that can be differentiated along many other lines than simply geographic location. These differences include language, religion, political systems, social systems, cultural values and histories. National boundaries throughout the region have constructed communities that reflect these differences. While all these communities might be labelled “Asian”, this label does not convey the distinctive characteristics of the different communities that inhabit the continent. Asia in its multiple aspects is an image of diversity. In this book, therefore, the focus is not on identifying a single “Asian” way of “doing” social studies education. Rather, the focus will be on how such education has been adapted to the different contexts that shape and influence schooling throughout the region. Regional diversity represents a positive aspect of the region, particularly in relation to its potential for social studies education. Regional diversity highlights the richness of traditions, histories and cultures, all of which go to make up the social fabric of regional societies. Young people in these societies can benefit from understanding the contexts that have influenced social development both currently and over time. Understanding the social world can help to develop a perspective on current events as well as how such events can be constructed by ideas and commitments that have characterised society in the past. At the same time, regional diversity means that there is not a single story that can be simplistically applied to all societies – local contexts will be key determining factors in the way societies develop. Any claims made for the importance of social studies education have to be evaluated against the current status of school subjects that contribute to the school curriculum in Asian contexts. On the one hand, in a world in which technology plays an increasingly important role, where social and political polarisation is increasing and where the future looks to be uncertain in relation environmental issues, political populism and resistance to social diversity, the need for social education can hardly be more important. Yet the importance of social studies is often eclipsed by that of mathematics, science and technology subjects that are seen to have greater economic benefits. The importance of these subjects, either as economic drivers or as academic domains, cannot be easily discounted and their status as key subjects in the school curriculum is rarely questioned. This is particularly so in Asian contexts where recent discourse has often been dominated by the needs of globalised economies and the competitive edge needed to fuel those economies.

Exploring social studies education in Asia 5 The publicity given to international student assessments such as the Program on International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) reinforce the status of science-oriented subjects. The terminology of “high performing Asia” in these studies marks out largely East Asian societies and their high levels of performance in mathematics and science (and in the case of PISA, reading as well) (Chen, Dorm, Krawitz, Lim & Mourshed, 2017, p. 15). At the same time, other Asian countries that do not fit the high performance pattern are referred to as “developing Asia” (Chen et al., 2017, p. 15). Whether “high” or “developing”, the reference in these international studies is explicitly to mathematics and science achievement and the publicity given to them continues to reify those subjects. Efforts have been made to account for the differences between “high” and “developing” Asia, but as shown by Perera and Asadulla (2019), this is an amazingly complex task. Yet this emphasis on achievements in mathematics and science tends to blur the rest of the school curriculum, especially when education systems seek to “remedy” what are often seen to be deficits in students’ achievement in these subjects. This book seeks to highlight the important fact that there is more to the school curriculum than mathematics and science. In an interesting analysis, for example, Ramirez, Schofer, and Meyer (2018) have shown that the current international testing regime rather than narrowing the curriculum, as is often claimed, has gone hand in hand with a broadening of the curriculum with a continuing emphasis on progressive pedagogies. Yet little attention is paid to how the curriculum has been broadened and how those subjects not included in international testing are currently constructed in national education systems. What is needed is a different lens than is provided by international assessments to portray education in Asian contexts, a lens that focuses on the broader societies in which students and schools are embedded. The focus of this book is on the modern school curriculum. Yet it will be instructive to develop in the first place an understanding of how forms of social education developed prior to modern times and to assess what, if any, might have been the impact of these traditional forms on modern developments in social studies education.

Tradition and its influence on the development of social studies education in Asia By “tradition” here is meant pre-colonial influences rather than anything to do with the intrusion and impact of Western colonialism from around the sixteenth century onwards. The focus will be on diverse influences that have operated in different parts of the region at different times. This is in deep contrast with Europe at the same time where Christianity was the single most important influence on education across the content. Asia is more complex, more multidimensional and more challenging to try and summarise, so what follows is a brief overview. Brown Heinz and Murray (2019) wrote with respect to Asia that “the regions we focus on are places of extraordinary and perplexing diversity” (p. 5). Sweeping from East to West are major religions or philosophies of the world – Confucianism,


Kerry J Kennedy

Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. India and China have been the twin influences in the region, but these were fundamentally different societies. Yet the key impact on and attitudes towards learning came not so much from individual countries but from the region’s religions that were both location specific (e.g. Confucianism in East Asia and Hinduism in South Asia) and cross-regional (Buddhism and Islam). What do these major social practices tell us about learning in premodern times? Given the limitations in space, only Confucianism and Buddhism will be discussed. Volumes have been written on Confucianism, neo-Confucianism and the multiple ways it has been constructed and reconstructed, including its initial denigration by the Chinese Communist Party and its subsequent revival to meet the communist state’s objectives. Thus, while Confucianism is a broad social philosophy, its political value has been recognised at different times, suggesting that the political and the social elements are often difficult to separate. Yet for the purposes of this chapter, the main area of interest is its impact on education and learning. Tan (2013, 2017) provided considerable insight into Confucian concepts of education. Based on an analysis of original texts, she outlines a view of education that is directed to creating “good people”, or in more modern terms, “good citizens”. It is important here to mention “citizens” because education from a Confucian perspective is seen to be the responsibility of the state and in particular the ruler who is seen to be the one who can shape those viewed at the time as subjects, but whom today we would regard as citizens. There is little in Tan’s explanation that constructs subjects/citizens as freewheeling individuals. They need to be committed to “self-cultivation” (p. 4), becoming the best they can be, and “social interaction” (p. 5), working with and respecting peers and colleagues, including teachers. Yet the purpose is not so much individual development as social development – being a part of society, taking on board its moral values and acting in moral ways consistent with society’s standards. This moral framework for education is explained in detail by Tan (2017). It is important to understand because even after the impact of colonialism and the development of modern education systems, this moral dimension of education is still relevant and in many ways is a distinguishing characteristic of the region (Kennedy & Fairbrother, 2004). In terms of school “subjects”, Tan (2017) pointed out that in Ancient China these were referred to as the “six arts (liuyi) consisting of “music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy or writing, and mathematics” (p. 5). She goes on to point out that the expectation was that these would be experienced in an integrated way, “inter-connected, mutually reinforcing and practice oriented” (p. 5). What is more, it was expected that these would be taught in such a way as to promote the moral qualities of students, encouraging them to love learning, work hard and always striving to be better and better. Finally, this approach to education was not for any mass system – in pre-colonial times (as well as colonial times) education remained an elite activity in East Asia. While modern revivals of Confucianism, in the form of neo-Confucianism, sought a broader application of Confucian principles, originally these were class based and were designed for scholars. There have been cases reported of a broader

Exploring social studies education in Asia 7 range of students in Confucian academies (Fan, 2019), but this was not mass education. It seems to have been a way to create social mobility by creating an elite irrespective of family circumstances (p. 202). Perhaps the irony is that what was conceived as elite education has come to influence modern-day education systems across many societies in East Asia. While Confucianism spread throughout much of East Asia, Buddhism, starting in India, “crossed (the) Indian subcontinent and expanded up to China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Korea, Thailand, Tibet, Mongolia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam (and) Malaysia” (Khakhlary, 2019, p. 6). It did not always take the same form, adapting to local contexts and often running into conflicts with existing religions/philosophies in different parts of the region. At the same time, there could also be syncretism as well, so in China it was often not unusual for individuals to be both Buddhist and Confucian. As Buddhism spread in India, then across the region, “sangha”, or Buddhist communities, developed. These communities were often housed in monasteries that across countries became the focal points for Buddhist teaching as well as personal contemplation and development. At the same time, there were also lay people committed to the principles of Buddhism and who often supported the monasteries with the necessities for life and living. While it is acknowledged that Buddhism does not worship a particular deity, it nevertheless developed an infrastructure that enabled teaching, learning and contemplation to take place. Often, however, the sangha spent a great deal of time moving from place to place, talking and interacting with local communities. Buddhism was not a static “you come to us” religion; it went out to the people. It is difficult to catch a single essential essence of Buddhism since different versions over time and in different places have highlighted different priorities and concerns. Gellner and Gombrich (2015) sketched this diversity across time and places, stressing its basic core but highlighting the differences at different times and under different influences. They argued that, it began as a humanist and individualistic soteriology (religious doctrine of salvation) that preached the abandonment of ordinary householder life and its associated rituals. Monks and nuns renounce work and worldly activity; lay people support them in return for spiritual and ritual services. (p. 885) For all, the journey was about moving towards a higher and better way of living and eventually transcending the trials and tribulations and of life through “enlightenment”. Buddhism in this sense was essentially humanist in nature. It eschewed “gods” as agents of salvation, relying entirely on individuals, with the aid of the Buddha’s teachings or “dharma”, to chart their own path through such processes as rituals, sutras, meditation and reincarnation. There was no easy pathway but multiple requirements sometimes referred to as “the Eightfold Path, (1) right view, (2) right intention, (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right livelihood,


Kerry J Kennedy

(6) right efforts, (7) right mindfulness, and (8) right concentration” (Koenig, King, & Carson, 2012, p. 591). There is an essential morality at the heart of Buddhism, irrespective of the multiple traditions associated with it. Individuals need to pursue this morality throughout life and whatever comes afterwards in the search for enlightenment and eventually Nirvana. The focus on Confucianism and Buddhism, as outlined earlier, highlights the religious and spiritual values that influenced so much of the region. Yet such a focus also underestimates the spiritual life of the region and much more could be mentioned – Islam, Hinduism, Shinto Jainism, Daoism, Sikhism as well as a range of folk religions. The main point, however, is that in premodern times there was a richness and diversity in the lives of the region’s citizens, as demonstrated throughout this section. Yet with the arrival of Western colonialists in the sixteenth century and following, this richness and diversity were not recognised. Instead attempts were made to impose Christianity in order to obliterate local and indigenous values. Nevertheless, local values persisted. They provide a lens for both understanding the region in deeper ways and appreciating the contribution of the local in any modernisation process. The West may well have brought modernisation processes to the East, as well as processes of domination and suppression. Yet these processes were overlaid on a rich and diverse history that was never far from the surface and certainly did not disappear.

The modern school curriculum and social studies education It is a big leap from premodern to modern times, and in terms of the region, it is a leap over what was essentially the colonial period that will not be dealt with here. That period has been described as one in which education was “traditional, elitist, competitive, exam-dominated, and bureaucratic” (Kennedy, 2005, p. 101). While his reference was specific to Hong Kong, McClelland (1991) argued that such a description was “typical of territories under British administration”. This grammar school approach to education was not unimportant, but it did not provide the foundation for a modern education system. From around 1990 onwards, there has been a growing interest in the school curriculum across Asia (Marsh & Morris, 1991; Morris & Marsh, 1992; Lee et al., 2006; Kennedy, 2007; Kennedy & Lee, 2008; Lee, 2010; Lim & Apple, 2018; Law, 2018). The work presented here represents different theoretical perspectives ranging from poststructuralism to functionalism. Overall, however, the literature paints a picture of intense interest at a time of significant social and economic development. Kennedy and Lee (2008, p. 24) reviewed curriculum reform across the region showing that between 1997 and 2001 fundamental curriculum reforms were being undertaken in ten regional societies, signalling the beginning of a major curriculum reorientation. This was no coincidence. The regional movement to curriculum reform extended from the need to create “in virtually every country . . . the strategic imperative to transition from manufacturing-based economies to ‘knowledge-based’ economies” (Ritchie, 2003,

Exploring social studies education in Asia 9 p. 4). This transition required knowledge and skills far beyond those that characterised the existing school curriculum. A future curriculum was needed for a new technologically oriented world, increasingly fuelled by globalisation and the neoliberal principles that underlie it. This economic impetus for the new school curriculum has been outlined more fully in Kennedy and Lee (2008), and it continues to be the key influence across the region. Thinking School, Learning Nation in Singapore in 1997, the National Education Act, 1999 in Thailand, the Competency Based Curriculum in Indonesia in 2002 and the Smart School Curriculum in Malaysia in 1999 (Kennedy & Lee, 2008, p. 24) are all examples of this new approach to curriculum. Tan and Gopinathan (2000) described Singapore’s Thinking School, Learning Nation policy this way: It focuses on developing all students as active learners with critical thinking skills and on developing a creative and critical thinking culture within schools . . . key strategies include . . . (1) the explicit teaching of critical and creative thinking skills; (2) the reduction of subject content; (3) the revision of assessment modes; (4) a greater emphasis on processes instead of on outcomes when appraising schools. (p. 7) This typifed new approaches to curriculum development across the region. There were other global approaches such as twenty-frst century skills, transversal competencies and generic skills. What these approaches had in common was not the old century’s concerns with school subjects and examinations but the new century’s concerns with knowledge and skills that can fuel innovation and creativity that in turn fuel the economy. What has been the fate of these initiatives? A review of social studies curriculum across the region is shown in Tables 1.1a and 1.1b. The data in these tables need to be regarded cautiously since it has been derived from multiple sources, not all of them official. Yet they provide an initial overview of social studies across the region. When a similar and much more ambitious international review of social studies as a school subject was conducted towards the end of last century, the results indicated “a worldwide shift from the traditional history and geography content to a new form of integrated subject matter called ‘social studies’” (Wong, 1991, p. 44). The results of the current review do not support this conclusion and suggest a much more nuanced understanding of social studies education in South and South East Asia as well as the identification of what might be considered a distinctive approach in broadening what is meant by social education in these contexts. Where the term “social studies” is used it more likely to be found in the primary school, although not all countries use it in this way (e.g. Malaysia and Bangladesh). Some countries use it as an umbrella term to cover multiple disciplines or even other integrated studies (e.g. Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh). History and geography as school subjects feature significantly across the region in almost all countries in both junior and senior secondary school. Even where they do not (e.g. in India), policy documents make it clear that these disciplines have


Kerry J Kennedy

Table 1.1a Social Studies Education in Selected South East Asian Countries Country


Junior Secondary

Senior Secondary

Singapore education/syllabuses curriculum/syllabus/

Social Studies

Geography History Social Studies

Geography History Social Studies

Character and Citizenship Education History Geography Civics and Citizenship

Malaysia menumedia/mediacetak/penerbitan/ dasar/1207malaysia-educationblueprint-2013-2025/ file Chapter 4, p. 3 Myanmar myanmar/curriculum_ framework_v5.pdf

History Social Sciences (E)

Islamic Studies Moral Education

Social Studies

Social Study (Geography) Social Study (History)



Social Studies Geography History People, Places & Environment Global Development Economics Global Economics Moral Education and Civics Indonesia https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Education_ in_Indonesia#2013_ Curriculum

Grades 4–6

History Grades 7–9

Grades 10–12

Geography Grades 4–6 Grades 7–9 Economics (Grades 4–6) Grades 7–9 Religion Pancasila and Civics

Thailand document/1741.pdf

Social Studies, Religions and Culture

Exploring social studies education in Asia 11 Table 1.1b Social Studies Education in Selected South Asian Countries Country


Junior Secondary


Environmental Social Studies Sciences (Classes 3–5) (Classes 6–8)

Pakistan https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/ Education_in_Pakistan class-12-pakistan-studiesnotes-fbise/

Social Studies (Grades 4–5)

Bangladesh Secondary: ejune2015/1_National_ Curriculum_2012_ Moving_Towards_ the_21_Century.pdf Primary (Hossain, p. 67)

Bangladesh and Global Studies (Grades 3–5)

Senior Secondary

History (Grades 6–8) Geography (Grades 6–8)

Social Sciences (Classes 9–12) Pakistan Studies (Grades 9–12)

Islamic Studies Bangladesh A variety of choices and Global depending on 1 of Studies 3 possible streams: (Grades 6–8) e.g. History of Bangladesh and the World; Geography and Environment; Bangladesh and Global Studies, etc.

Religious and Moral Education

an important role to play in school education. Integrated subjects are evident (e.g. see Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand), but they are not labelled “social studies” (although in Thailand there is an interesting integration between social studies, religion and culture across all years of schooling). It can be concluded from this analysis that American style “social studies” is not a feature of education systems in South and South East Asia. Social studies education appears to be more discipline based, especially in the later years of schooling, and at times supported by integrated studies of a distinctly local nature. This is an important feature of regional social studies education but not the most distinctive. Every country except India has a focus on religious, moral or civic education as a core component of the school curriculum. Usually it is a standalone component, but as mentioned previously in the case of Thailand, it is integrated with both the disciplines and civics. This form of education is certainly not “social studies education” in terms of the school subjects described earlier. Yet it is this broad form of social education that provides the starkest contrast with Western forms of secularised social studies education. In some countries, it is confessional religion (Thailand, Pakistan, Malaysia); in others, it is more inclusive, spanning all major religions (Bangladesh). It takes a more secularised form in Singapore, linked to citizenship education. In general, it could be argued that such a focus harks back to the pre-colonial societies and values referred in the “Tradition and its influence on the development of social studies education in Asia”.


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Colonialism may well have been rife throughout the region, but it did not wipe out centuries of spirituality and religious attachment. Modern school systems have reclaimed that attachment, in addition to their own style of largely subjectbased social studies education linked especially to national needs. Where does this leave the agenda for the twenty-first century referred to earlier? It seems that critical thinking, problem-solving and innovation are cross curriculum priorities rather than exclusive subject domains in themselves. Many of the curriculum documents make this point. In reality, the subject-based school curriculum remains in place. Much more local research is needed to gain a better idea of how these new cross curriculum priorities are being implemented and with what effect. This will be an important line of research for the future.

Social studies education in Asia – nations charting their own futures The remainder of this book will provide deeper insights into the nature and purposes of regional social studies education. What has been demonstrated here is that in general, apart from some primary school social studies programmes (Singapore, Myanmar and Pakistan), traditional school subjects such as history and geography dominate the school curriculum. Is this likely to change as the century progresses? Given that the countries that make up the scope of this book have already demonstrated some independence in charting their curriculum futures, it is most likely the case that they will continue to adopt an independent stance. Sometimes the anti-colonialism can be detected as when India’s national curriculum argues against any continuing use of civics as a school subject because of its colonial connotations and opts for political science instead. At the same time, Singapore does not refrain from using the very western-oriented “character education” because it suits the country’s desire to focus on the production of “good citizens”. What is more, it seems there will be little movement away from the focus on moral and religious education despite the influence of secularism in much of the Western world. Of course, it could be argued that the adoption of a largely discipline based social studies education is in fact an imitation of the West’s “grammar school” curriculum rather than an independent stance on the part of South and South East Asia’s nations. This is an issue well worth debating, but my sense is that the subjects largely featured (history, geography, economics) are more related to national aims and needs than any support for an older form of curriculum formation. Ironically, these discipline-based subjects may as much be a strong form of anti-colonialism. Nations have sought to re-establish their own histories and geographies as well as ensure that young people know about economic and social priorities needed for state development in a competitive global environment. The future of social studies will build on this foundation. National needs will continue to dominate curriculum planning, and school subjects will be chosen and

Exploring social studies education in Asia 13 developed to meet those needs. The combination of traditional academic disciplines, ancient religions and a focus on moral education will continue to characterise development. On top of this will be an attempt to incorporate twenty-first-century skills. Yet social studies subjects will likely remain in place as the chief way of providing modern curriculum experiences for South and South East Asian students.

Bibliography Brown Heinz, C., & Murray, A. (2019). Asian cultural traditions (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. Chen, L. K., Dorm, E., Krawitz, M., Lim, C. S. H., & Mourshed, M. (2017). Drivers of student performance: Insights from Asia. London: McKinsey & Company. Retrieved on 25 March 2020 from public-and-social-sector/our-insights/drivers-of-student-performance-asia-insights Fan, R. (Ed.). (2019). The renaissance of Confucianism in contemporary China. Dordrecht: Springer. Gellner, D., & Gombrich, R. (2015). Buddhism. In J. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioural sciences (886–893, 2nd ed., Vol. 2). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Grossman, D., & Lo, T. Y. (2008). Social education in Asia: Critical issues and multiple perspectives. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Kennedy, K. (2005). Changing schools for changing times. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press. Kennedy, K. (2007). Curriculum reforms and instructional improvement in Asia. In T. Townsend (Ed.), International handbook of school effectiveness and improvement (807–822). Dordrecht: Springer. Kennedy, K., & Fairbrother. G. (2004). Asian perspectives on citizenship education in review: Postcolonial constructions or precolonial values? In W. O. Lee, D. Grossman, K. Kennedy, & G. Fairbrother (Eds.), Asia-Pacific perspectives on citizenship education: Concepts and issues (289–302). Hong Kong: Centre for Research in Comparative Education & Kluwer Academic Publishers. Kennedy, K., & Lee, J. C. K. (2008). The changing role of schools in Asian societies: Schools for the knowledge economy. London & New York: Routledge. Khakhlary, M. (2019). The importance of Buddhist education system. Retrieved on 20 April 2020 from Importance_of_Buddhist_Education_System Koenig, H., King, D., & Carson, C. (2012). Handbook of religion and health (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Law, E. H. F. (2018). Reorienting curriculum practices in changing Asian societies. In K. Kennedy & J. C. K. Lee (Eds.), Routledge international handbook of schools and schooling in Asia (75–76). New York & London: Routledge. Lee, J. C. K. (2010). Asian curriculum studies, continental overview. In C. Kridel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of curriculum studies (54–58). Los Angeles: SAGE. Lee, J. C. K., Loc, N., So, K. H., Subramanism, R., Yen, P., & Yin, H. B. (2006). Curriculum and assessment. In Y. Zhao (Ed.), Handbook of Asian education (215– 216). New York & London: Routledge. Lim, L., & Apple, M. (2018). The politics of curriculum reforms in Asia: Inter-referencing discourses of power, culture and knowledge. Curriculum Inquiry, 48(2), 139–148.


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Marsh, C., & Morris, P. (Eds.). (1991). Curriculum development in East Asia. London & New York: Falmer Press. McClelland, J. (1991). Curriculum development in Hong Kong. In C. Marsh & P. Morris (Eds.), Curriculum development in East Asia (106–128). London: Falmer Press. Morris, P., & Marsh, C. (1992). Curriculum patterns and issues in East Asia: A comparative survey of seven East Asian societies. Journal of Education Policy, 7(3), 251–266. Perera, L., & Asadulla, M. (2019). Mind the gap: What explains Malaysia’s underperformance in Pisa? International Journal of Education Development, 65, 254–263. Ramirez, F., Schofer, E., & Meyer, J. (2018). International tests, national assessments, and educational development (1970–2012). Comparative Education Review, 62(3), 344–364. Ritchie, B. (2003). Progress through setback? The Asian financial crisis and economic reform in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Retrieved on 4 February 2006 from Tan, C. (2013). Confucius. London: Bloomsbury. Tan, C. (2017). Confucianism and education. In G. Noblit (Ed.), Oxford research encyclopedia of education (1–18). New York: Oxford University Press. Tan, J., & Gopinathan, S. (2000). Education reform in Singapore: Towards greater creativity and innovation? NIRA Review, 7(3), 5–10. Wong, S. Y. (1991). The evolution of social science instruction, 1900–86: A crossnational study. Sociology of Education, 64(1), 33–47.

Section 2

Politics, culture and reform in South/South East Asian social studies education


Postcolonial national identity formation through social studies The case of India Mousumi Mukherjee and Akshay Singh

Introduction Colonial historians and anthropologists often found the communities within the Indian subcontinent more diverse as compared to the different European nation-states. Citing noted Indian historian, Ramachandra Guha’s (2008) work, Mukherjee (2015a) argued that the concept of the Indian nation-state emerged out of the freedom movement against British colonial rule. Joshee (2008) argued that a pedagogy of subjugation was slowly replaced by a pedagogy to instil a sense of belonging to an independent Indian nation-state. However, this nation-building agenda of schooling as a social process has led to an “us” versus “them” ideology with regards to the relationship with neighbouring South Asian nation-states (Kumar, 2001; Ghosh, 2012; Mukherjee, 2015b). This “us” versus “them” ideology has been a hinderance for the formation of a more active form of citizenship based on democratic rights and duties necessary for social relationships in a fast globalising world in the 21st century, as argued by Sharma (2015). Academics have particularly criticised the cultural nationalist approach of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2000, which sought to establish a Hindu nationalist curriculum in schools across the country (Batra, 2010; Kamat, 2004; Nambissan, 2000). This chapter argues with evidence that the National Curriculum Framework (2005) recommended several progressive learner-centric pedagogic and inclusive approaches to teach about linguistic and cultural diversities within India, as against National Curriculum Framework (2000). Yet, the nation-centric approach to social studies remained quite predominant even in NCF 2005. In order to understand this postcolonial approach towards social studies, it is, therefore, important to first contextualise social studies within the colonial and then the postcolonial Indian context.

Contextualising social studies As it happens in many parts of the world, the action of designing and formalising the educational curriculum within India has been influenced by the ideological orientation of the political regimes in place. During the colonial period, the British regime was solely geared towards reproducing law-abiding obedient


Mousumi Mukherjee and Akshay Singh

citizens of the Raj. At the heart of the colonial enterprise of state-machinery had been that of an “adult-child relationship” (Kumar, 1989), wherein the state had taken it upon themselves to initiate the people into new ways of acting and thinking. This may be a simplistic idea, but it has deeper implications for the overall creation of local and national identities. Initially, the Indian leaders and intellectuals living inside the bubble of the colonial education policy endorsed anglicised values and development of personal character. Even during the colonial era, however, in the writings of Vivekanand, Sri Aurobindo, and Lajpat Rai, educational discourse acquired a national slant. These social reformers had taken up the agenda of initiating social reforms and social regeneration alongside the struggle of Indian masses to establish the independent Indian identity free from bondage as British colonial subjects (Kumar, 1999). The critique of Western education and call for an indigenously developed model in which there was a return to radical indigenous and anti-colonial perspective was put forward by nationalist leaders and intellectuals such as Mahatma Gandhi. He emphasised developing a positive cultural identity for the colonised subject as an integral aspect of the struggle towards decolonisation. For anticolonists, the persistence of “colonialism of the mind” could only be overcome by challenging the hierarchies of knowledge and values of Western superiority. However, this led to the creation of a narrative of the idealised pre-colonial past. It was invented to “animate the nativism and orientalist utopia of present-day Hindu nationalists” (Kamat, 2004, p. 274). Mahatma Gandhi’s political philosophy of basic education as expressed in Nai Taleem (literally meaning, New Education) created an image of “harmonious village society indifferent to the inequalities of patriarchy, caste, and class”, which was diametrically opposed to the image of “backward India” as envisaged in the colonial imagery (Kamat, 2004, p. 274). Fifty years later, in the National Curriculum Framework 2000, this imagery was resurrected in the curriculum development and education policy of India, with no mention of exploitative and oppressive structures and ideologies that are still there in many parts of the idealised agrarian society (Kamat, 2004). The project of designing the “National Curriculum Framework”, therefore, has its roots in the colonial era, continuing well into the post-independence period, which called for the need to form national integrity and identity. The conditioning of the Indian mind via curriculum and textbooks brought in the category of the individual into effective beings, who, through the inculcation of standardised national (Indian) norms of citizenship, would become ideal subjects of the state. Hence, it can be argued that the nationalistic framework of curriculum and social studies emerged as an aftermath of the independence struggle. Irrespective of ideological orientation, the agenda of postcolonial Indian national identity formation has been the primary objective of successive governments engaged in designing a curriculum framework for reforming the education system post-independence from British colonial rule. In the postcolonial period, the policymakers have been busy addressing the issue of national unity, producing conflicts and debates. These debates try to

Postcolonial national identity formation


answer a pertinent question like – Who constitutes the body of subjects in a newly independent nation? The discussions end up re-establishing citizens as “subjects” of the nation-state, who are supposed to be ambassadors of Indian national unity. It manifests itself in the form of interventions in the educational sector, which still poses as an important tool for manipulation and cultural homogenisation.

National identity and the curriculum As it has been already highlighted in the introductory section of this chapter, the nation-building agenda has been very strong in the successive postcolonial National Curriculum Frameworks (1975, 1988, 2000, 2005). The National Curriculum Framework (2000), however, has been particularly criticised for taking a Hindu Nationalist approach in framing the curriculum (Batra, 2010; Kamat, 2004; Nambissan, 2000). Hence, there have been widespread criticisms of NCF 2000. Many scholars and critics have stated that in the name of the postcolonial nation-building agenda, NCF 2000 sought to promote majoritarian Hindutva ideology through the social studies curriculum. Moreover, National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks, following the NCF, brought forth the utopian concepts of secularism, equality, liberty, as professed by the tenets of the constitution. Yet this rarely translated to the level of individual citizens, owing to the historical and regional differences that manifested as a consequence of popular political narratives. The categorisation of national versus regional curriculum in social sciences specially brought out the fact that curriculum cannot attain a universality that is free from the socio-cultural constructs and historical differences between different communities (Chakrabarty, 2002). There will always be contestations and reconciliations as part of the broader underpinnings of a nation-state. It is important, however, to accommodate broader regional and sub-regional imaginations within educational frames to enlighten learners and students. During the first three decades after India’s independence, there were consistent changes initiated in the curriculum of social science subjects. It reflected the recommendations of reports of committees and commissions which were largely concerned with pan-Indian viewpoints, nation-building, and understanding of Indian society, economy, and policy from a national integration perspective. The subjects that were targeted under this perspective included each of the four subjects – history, economics, geography, and political science – particularly for Classes 6 to 10.

Teaching history and civics From the colonial period, history was seen as a primary vehicle for “normalizing the nation” (Joshi, 2010, p. 358), with certain elements of “colonial and communal stereotyped” contents. The Indian educationists took another direction promoting nation-building by professing a particular type of nationalism, particularly glorifying India’s national movement. Periodisation – an essential


Mousumi Mukherjee and Akshay Singh

method to study history – moved from classification based on colonial constructs of Hindu, Muslim, and British India to ancient, medieval, and modern India (Srinivasan, 2015, p. 54). Communal periodisation, however, continues to play to the populistic tendencies in India. After the National Curriculum Framework 2005 was adopted, the history curriculum changed from “mainstream political narratives” to “socio-cultural narratives”, for the learners to recognise the “multiplicity of histories and narratives which constitute India’s past” (Bhattacharya, 2009, p. 106). Civics as a subject in the social sciences played a key role in promoting ideas of national unity and acculturation of learners to how the nation-state imagines itself within contemporary time. The learners of the subject were to be conditioned as identifiers of a larger social collective and consciousness of the nations. Several national curricular initiatives have consistently emerged for developing the student’s knowledge in civic and political institutions and to expand their understanding of contemporary social and political issues (Jain, 2004). Following the National Curriculum Framework 2000 (NCERT, 2000), within the larger context of the rise of regional and caste loyalties determining electoral outcomes, the syllabus and curriculum were designed to resist heterogeneity and aimed at efforts to homogenise the voices in the national space. Even though regional affairs and histories were brought out in the texts and classes, there was always a modus operandi of operationalising the same to the advantage of the majoritarian Hindutva narrative. The Class 6 civics textbook, for example, included a section on “Rural Communities”, and how they meet their needs, the elements of livelihood, basic infrastructural needs, gender roles, economic resources, and social norms were discussed at length. There was, however, an intrinsic effort at negating the particularistic trends of “rural Indian structures” and integrating these trends within the larger framework of “Hindu” cultural space and understanding. Similar discourses crept into the other social sciences subjects and their pedagogical methods. For the civics book, the reader was quite clearly imagined as an upper-caste Hindu urban child for whom the nation is constituted through its horizontal unity that works through the tropes of tradition, as well as a strictly cultural engagement with diversity, that does not question the dominance of the upper-caste urban self because it is naturalised within coordinates of physical geography (Balgopalan, 2009). Moreover, as Jain (2005, p. 1941) critiqued: these textbooks demonise illiterates, negatively portray villages and its inhabitants; restrict the discussion on the caste system and untouchability to the discourse of nation-building and progress without questioning the ideology of ‘purity/pollution’, take no note of the overlapping boundaries of pollution and poverty and have no space for discussion on how citizens/dalits themselves oppose and struggle against stigmatised identity. Such a discourse may continue to perform its function in socialisation, labour selection and institutional legitimisation unless challenged.

Postcolonial national identity formation


National Curriculum Framework 2005 The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 ushered in a major epistemological shift in the curriculum majors for social studies. Rather than forging a singular national identity, the focus was on plurality and promoting unity in diversity. The NCF 2005 attempted to chart a fresh epistemological approach in contrast to its predecessors, by grounding itself in a set of guiding principles to steer pedagogy into a new paradigm. It can be argued that the NCF 2005 reflected the constitutional values of secularism, egalitarianism, and pluralism. In the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, there was an emphasis on the process of learning that aimed to divorce itself from the notion of rote learning. The student is provided with a greater agency as constructors of knowledge, rather than being just passive recipients of information. Additionally, the framework revisits the role of educators in a globalised world. NCF 2005 required educators to help the learners move beyond the confines of a textbook and a classroom. This was designed to enable the students to develop a critical mindset which would result in questioning the accepted reality (NCERT, 2005). Further, the social sciences curriculum required educators to create linkages between the personal, local, and global spheres through various strategies to provide an interconnected perspective of knowledge. The epistemological framework of the NCF 2005 aspired to move towards the ideals of a just and peaceful society, by encouraging plurality in perspectives. The designers of the framework, however, emphasised the need for a balance between the pluralistic content and local flavours. This is immensely thoughtful because the different strata of stakeholders do not often find representation in the learning process and the textbook; this runs a risk of alienation which would render the whole process futile. This is further reflected when the NCF (2005) acknowledged that even though India comprises multiple imaginations, the national outlook must be balanced with the local. Hence, though the NCF 2005 was in many ways a departure from its predecessors and progressive in its vision, the agenda for postcolonial Indian national identity formation was still very strong. This agenda of NCF 2005 is further evident from a remarkable epistemological shift to the civics curriculum based on the following quote (NCERT, 2005): It is suggested that instead of Civics, the term Political Science be used. Civics appeared in the Indian school curriculum in the colonial period against the background of increasing ‘disloyalty’ among Indians towards the Raj. Emphasis on obedience and loyalty were the key features of Civics. Political Science treats civil society as the sphere that produces sensitive, interrogative, deliberative, and transformative citizens. (p. 51) The quote from section 3.4 on social sciences in the NCF 2005 document reveals a strong nation-building agenda with respect to the postcolonial Indian nationstate. Indeed, the entire document has several examples to demonstrate how the


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NCF 2005 upheld the postcolonial nation-building agenda. As mentioned in the earlier quote, NCF 2005 suggested renaming the subject civics as political science because the baggage of obeying law and order as docile citizens under the colonial masters was associated with the older term – civics. The social sciences curriculum under NCF 2005 further sought to expose the students to multiple social issues such as poverty, child labour, illiteracy, caste, and class inequalities. The NCF 2005 framework viewed textbooks as the means to open avenues of transformational learning, rather than a confined set of arguments. It also emphasised challenging the patriarchal narrative that had been prevalent in the social studies framework until that point and informing the learners about the agency of women. The designers of the framework highlighted the importance of including topics like human rights and dignity in the curriculum. This would not only sensitise the learners towards universal values but at the same time contribute to the vision of a just and peaceful society. The shift in the epistemic framework of the curriculum aimed to use education as a tool for global peace that was extremely relevant due to the strife and violence-affected nature of global dynamics. However, though the authors of NCF (2005) state that, “Indian History should not be taught in isolation, and there should be a reference to developments in other parts of the world” (p. 51), the curriculum framework did not provide a clear guideline about how this could be achieved.

The challenges The NCF 2005 attempted to revisit the role of the educators. Despite being a visionary document, however, it failed to address the problems of social studies education within the postcolonial Indian context. The NCERT textbook cartoon controversy (Singh, 2012; Wankhede, 2012) is evidence of the fact that, without integrating school curriculum and textbook development process with research and development in the higher education sector and without institutionalising critical thinking and critical pedagogy as part of a rigorous teacher education curriculum, the problems would persist. Srinivasan (2015) stated: “We need to help social science teachers develop understanding of basic social science concepts, the philosophical foundations of each of the four disciplines and modes of inquiry. The present 5–21 days inservice teacher education programmes are insufficient” (p. 57). Even though, NCF 2005 adopted many visionary changes, it continued to ignore teachers as key stakeholders for transformational change through education. It failed to address the problem related to the absent “voice and agency of teachers” (Batra, 2005, p. 4347). Yet Batra (2005) has argued that the traditional perceptions that regarded Indian teachers as “agents of personal transformation” (p. 4347) is indicative of the potential agency of teachers to usher in transformative change through teaching. However, teachers pan-India are “undertrained, undercompensated and underqualified” (Batra, 2005, p. 4347), a systemic flaw that has not been addressed since colonial times. One of the reasons is that there has been little effort to

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address this. It is because after the colonial masters left, the power dynamics were hijacked by caste and class – divides within the indigenous Indian society. This is against the vision of the founding fathers of postcolonial Indian national imaginary, like Tagore and Gandhi, who viewed education as vehicles of transformative social change and nation-building through inclusive education. The ethos of Tagore’s Shantiniketan, Gandhi’s Nai Taleem, and the ideas of Nehru, Ambedkar, and Maulana Azad were centred around the concept that education would help alleviate the status of the people who were relegated to the fringes of the society due to caste and class divides (Batra, 2005). There is an urgent need for the future NCF to remove these systematic barriers for the educators and democratise their participation. Even though the previous NCFs (1975, 1988, 2000) had emphasised the training of teachers to keep up with the ever-altering landscape of education, there was little or no evidence of it being effectively implemented. The teacher training institutes continued to exist in silos. The NCF 2005 too, like its predecessors, continued this legacy. It viewed teachers as “passive agents” who are trained to accept rather than to question complex social narratives like poverty, child labour, caste-based discrimination, and gender violence. This percolates through their teaching, which ultimately affects the perspectives of the learners. The Indian government is in the process of drafting the National Curriculum Framework 2021 as a follow-up to the legislation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, where reforming teacher education has been given major emphasis. It has been proposed in NEP 2020 that the stand-alone teacher training institutes will be progressively brought under the umbrella of multidisciplinary universities. It has been further proposed that the Departments of Education in the university should work in sync with the need of the neighbourhood school education systems to train teachers to practise critical pedagogy in their classrooms. The future will tell us how much these recommendations in NEP 2020 will be implemented and translated into the classrooms through NCF 2021.

The way forward Prior to the legislation of the NEP 2020 and commencement of drafting the NCF 2021, however, a recent initiative was led by Regional Institute of Education, Bhopal, under the NCERT. This initiative sought to reform social studies by incorporating perspectives from global citizenship education to incorporate it in the in-service teacher’s training programme. Global Citizenship Education: A Handbook for Teachers at Upper Primary Level in India (GCED) was drafted and published in 2019 by NCERT. Realising the problem that teachers have become “passive agents” trained to accept rather than to question complex social narratives, the GCED handbook was structured to provide conceptual understanding about the concept of citizenship from a global perspective, which sought to move beyond the “passive” acceptance of status quo as normalised through the colonial civics curriculum and also the postcolonial political science curriculum. Through the GCED handbook, the concept of global citizenship sought to incorporate


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the “active” element of citizenship praxis/practice as a teacher into the teacher’s training programme. The epistemic framework of the NCF 2005 aspired for social justice that could have been leveraged by educators to sensitise the learners about the importance of accountability for private as well as government functionaries. Educators could have situated the local context within the national and global contexts for the learners to act locally and think globally. However, without any concrete road map and necessary improvement in teacher’s training programmes, NCF 2005 failed to achieve the lofty goals. The GCED Handbook for Upper Primary School Teachers (NCERT, 2019) sought to address this gap by designing and publishing the handbook to be followed for necessary teacher training through the different regional State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT). Drawing on examples from existing NCERT textbooks, the GCED handbook for teachers sought to demonstrate how many social, political, and environmental problems related to poverty, inequality, discrimination, gender, terrorism, and climate change are global in nature, though locally relevant solutions needs to be found in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (Mukherjee, 2019). The existing NCERT textbooks referred to the social and political problems framed within the framework of the Indian nation-state, while providing examples of similar problems from “other” democracies. Hence, the GCED handbook sought to trace historically the “interconnectivity” and “interdependence” of our lives as citizens of the world. Referring to the social and political life curriculum in the NCERT textbooks, the GCED handbook sought to demonstrate to the teachers how the framers of the Indian Constitution did not function in isolation and how social movements around the world informed each other. For example, Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence, which became the hallmark of the Indian freedom struggle were borne out of his experience during apartheid in South Africa. Similarly, Martin Luther King’s struggle for equality in the United States was heavily influenced by Gandhi’s interventions during the Indian freedom struggle. The chief architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr Ambedkar was deeply influenced by the ideas of his teacher at the Columbia University in the United States, John Dewey, and his book, Democracy and Education (Mukherjee, 2019). In this way, the GCED handbook for teachers sought to train teachers to think globally and act locally to achieve the lofty goals of NCF 2005. The planned teachers’ training programme following the release of the GCED handbook, however, was halted in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

Conclusion The schools are part of the society in which they operate, and the social studies curriculum reflect the priorities of the authorities in power within that society. The national curriculum framework, pedagogic approaches, and evaluation methods create the kinds of subjectivities and citizens that the powerful authorities in society seek to reproduce – whether they are colonial authorities or postcolonial authorities. As Apple (1979) stated:

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Through their curricular, pedagogical, and evaluative activities in day-to-day life in classrooms, schools play a significant role in preserving if not generating these inequalities. They may perform economic and cultural functions and embody ideological rules that both preserve and enhance an existing set of structural relations. These relations operate at a fundamental level to help some groups and serve as a barrier to others. (pp. 63–64) With the recent release of the new National Education Policy 2020 (MHRD, 2020) and the commencement of the drafting of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2021, it is most likely that the NCERT textbooks written following NCF 2005 guidelines will be revised soon to align with NCF (2021) curriculum framework. Considering the historic trend of the National Curriculum Framework in postcolonial India, however, one can predict that the NCF 2021 will once again take a very nation-centric approach. Moreover, it might also seek to promote a more singular narrative through education and forge national identity formation based on majoritarian ideology and values, like NCF 2000, taking into consideration the political ideology of the current government. Time will tell us whether the NCF 2021 and the future NCERT textbooks will align social studies within a more nation-centric postcolonial framework or a global citizenship framework following the UN Sustainable Development Goals. An approach towards striking a balance between these two curricular priorities for social studies is of course the need of the hour.

Bibliography Apple, M. (1979). Ideology and curriculum. London: Routledge. Balgopalan, S. (2009). “Unity in diversity”: Social cohesion and the pedagogical project of the Indian state. In M. Nkomo & S. Vandeyar (Eds.), Thinking diversity, building cohesion: A transnational dialogue on education. Pretoria, South Africa: UniSa Press. Batra, P. (2005). Voice and agency of teachers: Missing link in national curriculum framework. Economic and Political Weekly, 40(October), 4347–4356. Batra, P. (Ed.). (2010). Social science learning in schools: Perspective and challenges. New Delhi: SAGE Publications India. Bhattacharya, N. (2009). Teaching history in schools: The politics of textbooks in India. History Workshop Journal, 67(1), 99–110. Chakrabarty, D. (2002). Habitations of modernity: Essays in the wake of subaltern studies. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Ghosh, S. (2012). Activating citizenship: The nation’s use of education to create notions of identity and citizenship in South Asia. International Journal of Progressive Education, 8(3), 128–139. Guha, R. (2008). India after Gandhi: The history of the world’s largest democracy. New York: Harper Perennial. Jain, M. (2004). Civics, citizens and human rights: Civics discourse in India. Contemporary Education Dialogue, 1(2), 165–198.


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Jain, M. (2005). Social studies and civics: Past and present in the curriculum. Economic and Political Weekly, 40(19), 1939–1942. Joshee, R. (2008). Citizenship education in India: From colonial subjugation to radical possibilities. In J. Arthur, I. Davies, & C. Hahn (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of education for citizenship and democracy (175–188). London: SAGE Publications. Joshi, S. (2010). Contesting histories and nationalist geographies: A comparison of school textbooks in India and Pakistan. South Asian History and Culture, 1(3), 357–377. Kamat, S. (2004). Postcolonial aporias, or what does fundamentalism have to do with globalization? The contradictory consequences of education reform in India. Comparative Education, 40(2), 267–287. Kumar, K. (1989, January 28). Colonial citizen as an educational ideal. Economic and Political Weekly, 24(4). Retrieved on 21 November 2020 from www. colonial-citizen-educational-ideal Kumar, K. (1999). Political agenda of education: A study of colonialist and nationalist ideas. New Delhi: SAGE. Kumar, K. (2001). Prejudice and pride: School histories of the freedom struggle in India and Pakistan. New Delhi: Penguin India. MHRD. (2020). National education policy 2020. GOI: Ministry of Human Resource and Development. Retrieved on 21 November 2020 from sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/NEP_Final_English_0.pdf Mukherjee, M. (2015a). Indian education at the crossroads of postcoloniality, globalization and 21stC knowledge economy. India Special Issue I. Policy Futures in Education, 13(2), 165–170. Mukherjee, M. (2015b). Empowering the subaltern: Resources of hope for those left behind within the Indian system. [Editorial] India Special Issue II. Policy Futures in Education, 13(3), 289–293. Mukherjee, M. (2019). Embedding GCED in social and political life textbooks. In S. Pethiya & S. Sebu (Eds.), Global citizenship education: A handbook for teachers at upper primary level in India. Bhopal: Regional Institute of Education, NCERT. Nambissan, G. (2000). Dealing with deprivation. Seminar 493, September. NCERT. (2000). National curriculum framework 2000. New Delhi: National Council of Educational Research and Training. NCERT. (2005). National curriculum framework 2005. Retrieved on 21 November 2020 from pdf NCERT. (2019). Global citizenship education: A handbook for teachers at upper primary level in India (S. Pethiya & S. Sebu, Eds.). Bhopal: Regional Institute of Education, NCERT. Sharma, N. (2015). Can active citizenship be learned? Examining content and activities in a teacher’s education module engaging with Gandhi and Makiguchi. Policy Futures in Education, 13(3), 328–341. Singh, M. (2012, May 26). Cartoons, caste and politics. Economic & Political Weekly, 47(21), 13–14. Retrieved on 21 November 2020 from journal/2012/21/commentary/cartoons-caste-and-politics.html Srinivasan, M. (2015, October 17). Reforming school social science curriculum in India: Issues and challenges. Economic & Political Weekly, 50(42). Retrieved on 21

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November 2020 from Wankhede, H. (2012, June 9). Ambedkar, NCERT textbooks and the protests. Economic & Political Weekly, 47(23). Retrieved on 21 November 2020 from www.


Developing loyal citizens A case of social studies education in Pakistan Shahid Karim and Takbir Ali

Introduction Social studies is an integrated field of study that draws on social sciences and humanities subjects. In the United States of America, social studies education advocates ‘civic competence’ and aims to help children develop the knowledge, skills and disposition for making ‘informed and reasoned decisions’ in collective life (Levstik & Tyson, 2008). Its primary purpose is to create competent, concerned and reflective citizens (Martorella, 1985). In the case of Pakistan, citizenship education takes place through the social studies curriculum (Ahmad, 2008). It is taught as a compulsory subject up to the higher secondary level, with different subject titles. Its curriculum encompasses three different school subject titles, including general knowledge from Grades I to III, social studies from Grades IV to VIII and Pakistan studies from Grades IX to XII. Unlike liberal democracies, the notion of citizenship is a much-debated topic in Pakistan. The national curriculum depicts it as a project of nation-building and national identity formation based on religion – Islam (Durrani & Dunne, 2010; Lall, 2012). Both the curriculum and textbooks of social studies hardly make a distinction between religious education and citizenship education (Dean, 2005). Indeed, social studies education has been a battlefield for two competing political ideologies and visions – theocracy and liberal democracy since independence (Ahmad, 2008). Consequently, social studies education “has failed to create an intelligent mindset that addresses problems objectively and searches solutions competitively and collaboratively” (Anjum, 2009, p. 119). This chapter focuses on the theoretical and historical dimensions of the social studies curriculum. The chapter starts with a brief description of the Pakistani society, education and social studies curriculum in the country. It then examines the major factors that facilitated the Islamization of social studies education and its fallouts and underscores the existing issues in the curriculum. Finally, the chapter proposes a dynamic policy reform framework for social studies education to respond to the emerging challenges in globalized sociopolitical contexts.

Developing loyal citizens 29

Some salient features of Pakistan Society Pakistan appeared on the world map as an independent state on 14 August 1947. It was the outcome of the struggle for a sovereign territory for the Muslims of the subcontinent after the departure of the British colonial power. Its founding fathers thought that Hindus and Muslims of India were two different nations with different faiths and cultures who could not live side by side as a single polity. Today Pakistan is the second-largest country with a Muslim majority population after Indonesia and the fifth largest country in the world, with nearly 207.8 million people (Government of Pakistan, 2017b). The population growth is reported to be over 2 per cent, which is higher than in many developing countries. It has a bearing on both access and quality of education when there is a vast gap between the diverse needs created by the fast-growing population and limited available resources. Over the last two decades, Pakistan suffered from low economic growth due to the deteriorating security situation in the country and in the neighboring country – Afghanistan –which left the country with few resources to invest in education. Pakistan’s public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP was estimated at 2.4 per cent in the fiscal year 2018–19, the lowest in the region (Amin, 2019). According to United Nations’ Human Development Report 2019, Pakistan ranks 152 in the list of 189 countries with 0.560 Human Development Index, 67.1 years of life expectancy at birth, 8.5 expected years of schooling, 5.2 mean years of schooling, and USD 5,190 gross national income (United Nations Development Programme, 2019). The same report also revealed that Pakistan claims a workforce with 27.9 per cent of the skilled labor while 38.3 per cent of its population is suffering from multidimensional poverty. Compared to the developed countries, there exist gender disparities (0.747) with a low level of inequality-adjusted (0.386) and a greater sense of human insecurity (4.2 per 100,000). These statistics suggest that a majority of the population lacks access to quality education and healthcare and suffers from poverty coupled with unequal distribution of achievements in health, education and income across the social groups and gender. From an etymological perspective, Pakistan means the Land of the Pure. Islamabad, its current capital, refers to the land of Islam. In official books, its name appears as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Its constitution claims the supremacy of the Quran (one of the revealed books) and Sunna (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH) in conducting the everyday affairs of the state. Thus, religion plays a central role in shaping the day-to-day social behavior and conduct of its citizens. Islam “being the bedrock of a collective life, feeds into a pluralistic national ethos and, with a strong accent on traditional values, significantly translates itself into a powerful national characteristic” (Malik, 2006, p. 46). Demographically, Pakistan is a multiethnic and multicultural society. Its population is comprised of diverse ethnic groups with unique linguistic and cultural


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traditions. The majority of the population (70%) lives in rural areas. Several dozen different languages are spoken across the country, four of which are the regional languages characterizing its four provinces that represent four major different cultural groups with strong ethnic identities (Rahman, 2003). Both Urdu and English are the official languages, with Urdu being the national language and the mother tongue of 7.08 per cent of the population (Government of Pakistan, 2017b).

Education There exist a multitude of education systems, both secular and religious, with opposing objectives and philosophies of education (Ali & Farah, 2007). There are three types of schools functioning in the country, namely public, private and madrasa schools targeting students from different strata of the society. Numerically the majority of the young people attend public schools which mainly serve children from the poor socioeconomic background. Children coming from the rich and upper class of the society attend expensive private and international schools. The third stream comprises religious education schools, commonly known as madrasa education, often run by religious organizations from different schools of thought within Islam. Most of these schools offer free religious education, and some also provide food and shelter to students from the poor and religious family backgrounds.

Social studies curriculum The social studies curriculum in Pakistan has evolved over a period of time, and it has been a favorite and hot topic of debate, discussion and politics. Historically, curriculum development has been the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Education (renamed after 2010 as MFE & PT – Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training). It works through its auxiliary department, known as the National Curriculum Council (NCC), and in collaboration with the provincial curriculum bureaus. Together these entities develop, review and update the curriculum and oversee its implementation. Through an amendment (18th Constitutional Amendment) in the constitution, the concurrent list of some federal government ministries, including the Education Ministry was abolished; as a result, greater legislative power and resources were devolved to the provinces. Hence, after 2010 the development of education policy and delivery of educational services became a provincial responsibility. This change included curriculum development and implementation. Similar to many developed and developing countries, the social studies curriculum is dealt with as a multidisciplinary field of inquiry in Pakistan. In primary grades, the social studies curriculum predominantly deals with concepts of history, geography and civic or value education. In different grades, it deals with a wide range of topics organized according to the model of the spiral curriculum, where the progression of content knowledge is organized according to grade or age level of students. International research, practices and trends shape the process of curriculum development. Indigenous research and local environment and needs are hardly considered while designing a social studies curriculum. This is indicated

Developing loyal citizens 31 from the fact that in its approach, structure and content, the social studies curriculum resembles the curriculum used in many other developed and developing countries. This is due largely to the fact that curriculum planning in Pakistan is also influenced by ‘educational lending and borrowing’, an emerging theory of transfer of knowledge and best practices under the popular ideology of neoliberalism (Zaman, 2008). Hence, the social studies curriculum (mainly prescribed standards, benchmark and student learning outcome) used in schools in Pakistan is more compatible with any modern curriculum used in any part of the world but less harmonious with the local realities. It may not necessarily reflect idiosyncratic societal characteristics, local needs and socio-cultural nuances. Besides the issues of curriculum development, the challenges associated with the ‘implementation’ of the curriculum are more complex and daunting than the planned curriculum itself. Nevertheless, despite the role of provinces in curriculum planning and implementation, the present-day federal government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (the political party that first came into power in 2018) is pursuing the agenda of a Single National Curriculum (SNC) and textbooks. It is striving hard to develop consensus around the need of having SNC and textbooks to help address myriad educational and social disparities and promote social cohesion and national identity that are believed to be at risk owing to multiple education systems, amounting to ‘educational apartheid’, working in the country. SNC and textbooks for various subjects and grades are to be developed in three phases (primary grades, middle, secondary and higher secondary) and completed by 2023. The work on SNC and textbooks for primary grades is in the advanced stage; draft SNC and textbooks have been prepared for validation by the third party, which will be piloted and rolled out by August 2021. The SNC and textbooks, when available for primary grades, will be implemented across schools run by public, private (low, middle and high-income elite commercially-run schools and trust-based not-for-profit schools) and madrasa (religious seminaries) system. The federal government appears to be highly committed to develop and ensure the implementation of SNC at any cost. Time will tell if the government can overcome resistance and challenges in the way of SNC and materialize the dream of reducing educational disparities and ensuring equitable access to quality basic education for all children regardless of their backgrounds and identities. Foreseeably, the tough resistance will come from the madrasa and elite school systems. However, to reduce this resistance, the federal government has been making all-out efforts to get them on board from the initial stages of planning in order to get their buy-in of SNC.

Islamization of social studies education The current status of social studies education in Pakistan has a lot to do with the political ideology that shaped the historical trajectory of educational policies and reforms since independence. As Siddiqui (2016) notes: the overarching ideology of Islam remained present in the educational policies of Pakistan . . . the vision of all the educational policies seems to


Shahid Karim and Takbir Ali emerge from Islam, the official religion of the country. Without disturbing the religious vision, policies in different times had different preferences and positions. (p. 34)

According to religious scholars and many political scientists, worldly life and religious or spiritual life are inseparable in Islam. Thus, Islam, as a political ideology rather than a belief system, has been central to the national curriculum formulation during the process of nation-building and character education in Pakistan. Siddiqui (2016) underscores two major dimensions of policy formulation. Accordingly, policymakers and curriculum developers consider both the internal and external factors while devising an educational policy and school curriculum. In the case of Pakistan, however, there has always been an imbalance between national considerations and global demands for education in general and social studies education in particular. As in any other nation-state with immense ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversities, national integration was a major educational task after independence. Islam, as the faith of the majority, played a central role during the process of a single identity formation. As Durrani and Dunne (2010) argue that “Pakistan is no exception in the use of curriculum and/or religious discourse as a tool for promoting internal coherence and building national identification in order to protect the citizens from some scary ‘other’” (p. 235). Thus, from early on, Islam has been used to develop a sense of citizenship, and the overarching ideology of Islam informed all the educational policy and reform initiatives with a vision of developing loyal and patriotic Muslim citizens. Moreover, education in general and social studies education in particular has been the victim of both national and regional politics resulting in various socioeconomic challenges for the nation. Consequently, citizenship education in Pakistan “has undergone a historical evolution from a more open, forward-looking and civic notion of nationalism in the initial post-independence period, to a more closed, inward-looking and alienating version of nationalism later on, especially since the 1970s” (Saigol, 2014, p. 191). Although policy documents and reform initiatives underscore the need for addressing the gaps in the delivery of educational services at various levels, little or no efforts have been made to address these gaps. As a result, the education system in general and the public school system in particular has failed to produce reflective, responsible, intelligent and concerned citizens. The extent to which different governments and rulers have used religion as a political tool varied throughout the history of reform in education. Such differences can be noticed even among the military dictators and the so-called democratic leaders due to conflicting political ideologies such as theocracy and liberal democracy. Both the public-elected governments as well as military dictators misused religion either for public support or for political legitimacy. None of the governments has had a genuine interest in religious education for the

Developing loyal citizens 33 masses except political motives. Although Islam had been central to the policy framework throughout the educational reform endeavors, the Education Policy 1979 during the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq completely Islamized the entire education system. He came into power after toppling the democratic government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and remained in power for over a decade. The Cold War in Afghanistan supported by many Western democracies and the need for freedom fighters during the Russian invasion based on religious narratives paved his way to power. During his rule, greater emphasis was placed on Islam as the ideology of Pakistan. Islamiat and Pakistan studies were made compulsory from Grade I through XIV, and extra emphasis was placed on the Arabic language. Steps were taken to ensure the incorporation of Islamic content in the curricula, textbooks and pedagogy across the levels of education. Unlike earlier policies, the Islamization policy “claimed a shift to the indigenous models of education” (Siddiqui, 2016, p. 12). General Pervez Musharraf, yet another military dictator (1999–2007), attempted to de-Islamize education and touted a new slogan of ‘enlightened moderation’ (Musharraf, 2004). After 9/11 Pakistan became an ally to the United States of America in the ‘war on terror’, and under tremendous international pressure, he tried to revise public policies, including the education policy of 1998. With financial support from the United States of America and other donors, the Musharraf Government launched a comprehensive, multidimensional Education Sector Reform Assistance (ESRA) program (2002–2007) and came up with a new education policy. Under this program, the national curriculum of 2002 was comprehensively revised, and a new standards-based curriculum (Grades I–XI) was developed in 2006. Subsequent to the work done under the ESRA program in 2009, the then democratically elected government launched a new national education policy. The National Education Policy 2009 envisioned education as follows: Our education system must provide quality education to our children and youth to enable them to realize their individual potential and contribute to development of society and nation, creating a sense of Pakistani nationhood, the concepts of tolerance, social justice, democracy, their regional and local culture and history based on the basic ideology enunciated in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. (Government of Pakistan, 2009, p. 17) Although this policy envisioned a society based on tolerance, social justice, democracy and diversity, it could hardly avoid making references to Islam as the ideology of Pakistan. Despite the attempt to de-Islamize education by General Musharraf, religious parties were successful in adding a separate chapter on Islamic education in the policy document, making it as the ‘duty of the society and the state’. Unlike the previous policy, which was engineered during Musharraf’s rule but implemented during the Pakistan People Party’s government, the National


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Education Policy 2017 draft, formulated and implemented by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government, re-iterates the role of Islam as a political ideology. The policy draft makes frequent references to all previous educational policies as well as the Constitution of Pakistan in order to make Islam a cornerstone of the national education policy framework. While highlighting the importance of education in nation-building, the policy states that: The only justification for our existence is our commitment to Islam to be adopted in our practical life. Therefore, our Education Policy should focus on Islamic Education and suggest how to translate the Islamic Ideology into our beliefs, worships and actions in daily life. (Government of Pakistan, 2017a, p. 20) The policy aims to fulfil the constitutional requirements of Article 31, which guarantees citizens’ way of life under the teaching of Islam prescribed in the Quran and the Prophet’s teachings. It also underscores the need to prepare the citizen for the changing times. For this purpose, however, the policy seeks to “educate and train the future generation of Pakistan as a true practising Muslims to face the challenges of 21st Century with confidence, tolerance and courage” (Government of Pakistan, 2017a, p. 24). The policy relies solely on the teaching of Islamiat and the Holy Quran to become responsible citizens and respond to the emerging demands of globalization. Although the preparation of the citizens for the future merely through religious education is questionable, all the education policies, in general, aimed to develop Muslim citizens by constructing a single identity through religion (Durrani & Dunne, 2010). This type of citizenship education not only obscures other forms of citizens’ identities but also differs from the concept of citizenship often cherished in liberal democracies (Ahmad, 2008; Saigol, 2014). To address the existing gaps and to respond to the needs of younger generations, the current government will need to formulate an educational policy beyond a narrow conceptualization of citizenship education that aims to develop citizens who are loyal to an Islamic state. In the past, such a focus on religion in citizenship education has resulted in discouraging social consequences in the country.

The fallouts from the educational reforms Despite several educational reform initiatives since independence, the education system in Pakistan is currently facing numerous challenges. While some identify over-reliance on religion as the major cause of social problems, others blame the lack of religious literacy which has been instrumental in fostering social unrest, intolerance and extremism (Ahmar, 2011). It would be unrealistic, however, to associate every issue with extremism. Indeed various factors related to poor governance and weak political system as well as the widespread social injustices and ignorance are also responsible, which provide a fertile field for religious and other extremists to thrive.

Developing loyal citizens 35 Javaid (2010) traces the causes of extremism to the use of religion for political and economic gains. Ahmar (2011, p. 47), however, argues that Pakistan has never been an extremist country; instead, it has grown gradually over time due to various factors. These include the use of religion for political purposes, preaching of intolerance and hate from mosques and religious schools, social backwardness and frustration, illiteracy and ignorance, under-development and poverty, absence of the rule of law, absence of reasoning and rational approach, unemployment and frustration among the youth, lack of a viable democratic culture, state’s failure to curb extremist and militant groups, the proliferation of drugs and weapons and lack of tolerance and moderation. These reasons are largely related to education in general and citizenship education in particular. A critical turning point in the education history of Pakistan was the educational reform agenda maliciously pursued by the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. Various regional and international political forces such as the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the United States of America using Pakistan as a proxy, the Wahabi ideological movement in Saudi Arabia and the national politics motivated General Zia to embark on such an educational agenda. He created an environment congruent to both national and international politics that facilitated the penetration of radical thinking among the masses. His claims of restructuring the society on an indigenous model through Islamization promoted the fundamentalist view of Islam that left a long-lasting impact on national, regional and global politics. His education policy based on Islam, the ‘the ideology of Pakistan’ made civic or citizenship education and religious education synonymous with each other (Ahmad, 2008; Roof, 2015). Moreover, his policies promoted ‘Talibanization’ a mindset that has resulted in insecurity, intolerance, sectarian violence, political rifts and economic instability. His Islamization policy paved the way for extremism and fundamentalism in the country. Consequently, Pakistan had to pay the cost and has been “fighting an internal war of extremism, sectarianism, corruption, economic deterioration, poverty and illiteracy” (Javaid, 2010, p. 59). While critics underscore the downsides of emphasis on religion in state affairs, some also highlight the potential role of religious literacy for peace. They propose alternative religious narratives to counter the extremist ideologies that prevail in society. Since extremists use religious arguments to justify their actions by distorting the religious teachings and misinterpreting the religious text, the majority of the population can be taught the real message of Islam to counter their misinterpretations. Accordingly, greater religious knowledge can help the younger generations to evaluate the everyday challenges and make appropriate decisions for their common well-being. For many, the real issue of radicalism and extremism is not Islam per se; instead, it is the success of extremists in using religion for political purposes. As Sajjad (2015) notes: A major factor that enables extremists to use religion to their advantage is the State’s inability to promote the intellectual, liberal and compassionate aspects of Islam. Due to a variety of political and historical factors, popular


Shahid Karim and Takbir Ali discourse and public education in Pakistan largely ignores these dominant themes of religion which if promoted through education, may serve as a key to resolve the problem of extremism. (p. 76)

Similarly, a recent study proposes religious literacy as a potential tool to address misunderstanding and ignorance (Ashraf, 2018). Ashraf (2018) believes that religious literacy can play an essential role in developing students’ personalities in Pakistan. Since different education systems adopt an exclusionary approach to teaching Islam that supports their world view and reject the other, educating young people about intra-religious diversity and world religions can help young people respond to globalization intelligently. Ashraf (2018) fears that “the exclusion of facts about other religions may give students a false impression about the people who believe in other religions and may suggest that their beliefs are insignificant or unimportant” (p. 11). Besides military actions to combat the militants in the country, Sajjad (2015) proposed developing alternative narratives of Islam to counter the extremists through education: Education remains the key. For de-radicalization of the society the national curriculum, in general, and the Social Science curriculum in particular, must be redesigned to reduce rhetoric, develop critical thinking skills and promote the religious values of tolerance, respect for diversity and compassion. (p. 88) Likewise, bringing about religious tolerance and moderation in society through education can help Pakistan cope with extremism and radicalization (Ahmar, 2011; Javaid, 2010). Without addressing the issues inherent in the social studies curriculum, however, it is hardly possible to nurture a peace-loving mindset in children who will need to respond to the emerging problems of their times with knowledge and mutual understanding. This will require policymakers to examine both the gaps in social studies curriculum and the global social landscape critically and make collaborative efforts in developing a contextualized curriculum of social studies education that is sensitive to both the local and global forces of social development.

Issues with social studies curriculum While the curriculum content of social studies relies heavily on Islam, it also lacks an inclusive approach towards highlighting social issues that prevail in society. For instance, in a comparative study of content analysis of English textbooks in four Muslim majority countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Islam and Asadullah (2018) found less representation of female characters both in text and pictures. Compared to other countries, the underrepresentation of women in secondary school English textbooks was only 24.4 per cent in Pakistan. Similar studies also suggested that there existed significant gender

Developing loyal citizens 37 disparities in the curriculum that may affect the quality of not only social studies education but also the goal of universal education (Roof, 2015). In an empirical study, Durrani (2013) found a high degree of resonance between social studies curriculum objectives and students’ construction of ‘self’ and ‘others’. Since the curriculum heavily relies on Islam for national identity formation and denies multiple identities based on ethnicity, religion and culture, most of the students in her study identified themselves as Muslims and constructed negative attitudes towards non-Muslims and non-practicing Muslims. Durrani (2013) argued: Directing a singular Islamic identity in opposition to all other identities undermines its unifying potential in an ethnically and culturally plural Pakistan, in which Islam is practised in different ways. . . . Thus, the over emphasis on Islam and the failure to validate the range of multiple and diverse identities within Pakistan have serious implications for social cohesion, equitable social relations and peaceful co-existence between the various groups in Pakistan. (p. 16–17) Similarly, Javaid (2010) underscores the negative consequences of social coercion, fragmentation and polarization due to intolerance. This would require the state to embark on re-visioning the national curriculum in general and the social studies curriculum in particular for the sake of creating a social fabric that values diversity and pluralism. As Javaid (2010) underscores: Tolerance in society is required especially when it comes to the various religious, sectarian and ethnic groups prevailing in the society. A more tolerant society will definitely bring about more cohesiveness and unity in Pakistani’s fragmented society, which has on its part played a very crucial role in militarization in society. (p. 59–60) Furthermore, yet another recent study by Muhammad, Masood, and Anis (2019) has revealed that the social studies curriculum lacks the content to facilitate the development of a global identity among secondary and higher secondary school students in Pakistan. Accordingly, Pakistan studies teachers emphasize students’ national identity construction than developing a global identity. While some of the teachers, from both public and private schools, were least concerned about the content and knowledge beyond the country, a small number of teachers advocated for global identity development among the younger generations. For them, a limited approach of citizenship education divides humanity, often resulting in the hostility that erodes world peace, and it may hardly lead to prosperity in a multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural and religiously diverse society. It appears that teachers are still preoccupied with the traditional role of social studies education in terms of preparing students for a single national identity at the


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cost of their regional or ethnic identities. They are less concerned about making students prepared for their social interactions beyond their national boundaries. While children need to be aware of the diversity at the national level, it is also vital to help them learn about diverse religious world views at a time of unprecedented intercultural encounters. Younger generations with limited knowledge of world religions and cultures can hardly benefit from their everyday intercultural encounter through media and technology. Thus social studies curriculum needs to consider both the local and global realities so that the students will acquire the knowledge, values and skills to respond to the emerging needs of their time. Today an essential aspect of social studies education should be the development of a citizenry that is equipped with the required knowledge, social values and humanistic ideologies to guide their everyday behavior. To this end, the following section proposes a national policy framework that seeks to integrate both the national and global considerations and emphasizes the social competence of the students along the cognitive, affective, behavioral and ethical dimensions of their personality.

A framework for re-visioning social studies curriculum Unlike the traditional function of education in general and social studies education in particular, today the younger generations need to develop civic competencies to cope with the challenges of both local and global life. They need to build competencies for social functioning not only in their respective communities and societies as national citizens but also require the skills and knowledge to interact with people from different national, religious, cultural and linguistic backgrounds as global citizens. Consequently, the traditional role of social studies in the formation of national identities and patriotism needs to consider the urgency of preparing young children for globalized economies. Since the existing curriculum has been less effective in citizenship education, it needs to take into account all the possible dimensions for the sake of developing informed, concerned and responsible national as well as global citizens. Scholars believe that the ultimate purpose of social studies education is helping younger generations grow as informed and rational decision-making adults for the common good (Levstik & Tyson, 2008). Since our contemporary social life is not limited to national boundaries, social studies education should have both local and global dimensions. By preparing children for both national and global life, social studies education can fulfil its dual objectives of citizenship education. In the face of unprecedented international interdependence, interconnectedness and transnational intercultural social interactions, social studies education must focus on both developing local/national and global citizens (Cantón & Garcia, 2018). As Portera (2011, p. 12) notes: [Today] emigration is no longer a prerequisite for interaction between citizens with different languages, behavior, valor and religion. In a scenario of

Developing loyal citizens 39 globalization and interdependence, any person’s life is directly or indirectly influenced by contemporaneous events in the rest of the world. Consequently, the phenomenon of globalization should extend the scope of social studies education beyond the traditional focus on preparing students for civic life at the national level. Today students need to learn about the social world beyond national boundaries and need to acquire social competencies for global interactions. An approach of intercultural education seems promising in preparing children for a global life. Intercultural Education is based on the advantages of trans-cultural education (education to common humanities, human rights, human ethics and human needs) and Multicultural Education (education to acknowledge and respect other people and cultures), but it adds the opportunity of interaction: direct exchange of ideas, principles and behaviors, with comparison of preconceptions. (Portera, 2011, p. 20) Besides an intercultural approach to education, the social studies curriculum should also focus on the holistic development of the students’ personality. Social psychologists argue that the everyday social behavior of a person is the result of one’s affective and cognitive dimensions of the personality (Jhangiani, Tarry, & Stangor, 2014). Accordingly, students’ attitudes, emotions and behaviors in their everyday social life are interconnected (Sutton & Douglas, 2013). From this perspective, social studies education should prepare students for how they feel and think about self and others and how they behave towards others. In other words, it should focus on the three interrelated aspects of students’ personality, including social cognition, social affect and social behavior. Social cognition focuses on human thinking and its relationship with social behavior, whereas social affect refers to the feeling people experience in their everyday lives that include their mood and emotions, often resulting in social exchange (Jhangiani et al., 2014). As people develop either positive or negative attitudes and feelings based on the knowledge and information available to them that together inform their social behavior, these three aspects of personality development should be the core components of social studies education and curriculum. In the case of social studies education in Pakistan, the curriculum places more emphasis on the affective domain with little or no consideration to the acquisition of the required knowledge and attitudes about self and others (cognitive domain) that guides citizens’ everyday social functioning (behavioral domain). Ahmad (2008) notes that the social studies education in Pakistan seeks to develop Muslim citizens through creating love and respect for Islam, Islamic teachings, the Islamic way of life and the ideology of Pakistan. It portrays good citizens as good and practicing Muslims and constructs the image of the ‘other’ through antagonism (Durrani & Dunne, 2010). Similarly, Saigol (2014) describes citizenship in


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Table 3.1 Proposed Components and Dimensions of Social Studies Education

Knowledge & Attitude

Local/National Considerations

Social Affection

Interaction with others

Global/International Considerations

Ethnic Diversity Linguistic Diversity Religious Diversity Cultural Diversity National Citizenship Patriotism

Feelings towards others

Social Behavior

Social Cognition


Interconnectedness Interdependence Migration Interculturalism/ Multiculturalism Global Citizenship Cosmopolitanism Human Rights Compassion Empathy

Recognition of and respect for diversity; Equity, Equality, Intercultural exchange and dialogue at the national as well as global level

Pakistan as a personalized emotional relationship than a legal contract based on rights and responsibilities. Given Islam is understood and practiced differently in Pakistan, the narrow focus on love for Islam and specific Islamic teachings rather than a complete code of social life neither fulfils the affective domain holistically nor gives due importance to cognitive and behavioral domains. Social studies education will need to educate the younger generations across the three domains of their personality to prepare them for national and global life. Table 3.1 summarizes the curriculum focus along the three personality dimensions as well as both the national and global considerations. By providing children with factual knowledge about diversity, world cultures and religions and helping them understand the benefits of respect for humanity and compassion towards disadvantaged, marginalized and less educated segments of the society, social studies education can help build nations and communities that uphold the universal value of social justice, democracy, pluralism, human rights and peaceful co-existence.

Conclusion Historically, Islam, as a political ‘ideology’ has played a critical role in citizenship education in Pakistan. The main goal of social studies education has been the creation of loyal and practicing Muslims with specific attributes rather than developing competent, informed and concerned citizens. Despite tremendous ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversity, the teaching of Islam and Islamic values has been the cornerstone of national identity formation, integration and social cohesion. The role of religion in state affairs has deepened to the extent that even powerful military rulers failed in leading the nation towards

Developing loyal citizens 41 an ‘enlightened moderation’ (Musharraf, 2004). Although the Islamization of education by General Zia-ul-Haq was a political step, his policies resulted in the deep penetration of religious thinking among the masses over the period of time despite the de-Islamization efforts by the latter governments. Today, there is a lack of interest among young people in studying social sciences (Ahmed & Maryam, 2016), resulting in ignorance towards emerging social issues such as extremism, intolerance, injustice and gender disparities coupled with the lack of respect for diversity and pluralism. The causes of these social dilemmas may include poor quality of educational reforms as well as the politicization of education. At a time of unprecedented international interconnectedness, interdependency and transnational mobility coupled with intercultural encounters and exchange, striking a balance between internal and external considerations in educational policy initiatives is the right way forward for Pakistan. To respond to the emerging needs of globalization and to develop competent, concerned and reflective citizens, social studies education in Pakistan needs to be re-visioned and restructured along the interrelated dimensions of citizens’ social life with a dynamic approach to intercultural education. The intercultural approach to education not only recognizes and celebrates diversity but also promotes intercultural exchange and dialogue for the common good (Hajisoteriou & Angelides, 2016).

Bibliography Ahmad, I. (2008). The anatomy of an Islamic model: Citizenship education in Pakistan. In D. L. Grossman, W. O. Lee, & K. J. Kennedy (Eds.), Citizenship curriculum in Asia and the Pacific (97–109). Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, University of Hong Kong. Ahmar, M. (2011). The challenge of extremism in Pakistan: Are there lessons to be learnt from the experience of Singapore. IPRI Journal, 11(2), 44–63. Ahmed, U., & Maryam, S. (2016). Secondary school students’ attitude towards the social science studies in Sargodha city, Pakistan. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, 5(2), 67–76. Ali, S., & Farah, I. (2007). Schooling in Pakistan. In A. Gupta (Ed.), Going to school in south Asia (143–166). London: Greenwood Pub Group. Amin, T. (2019, June 11). Economic survey 2018–2019: Public expenditure on education estimated lowest in region. Business Recorder. Retrieved from’s%20 public%20expenditure%20on%20education,2019)%20released%20here%20on%20 Monday Anjum, R. (2009). Social studies curriculum in elementary public schools of Pakistan. Journal of Research, 3(2), 103–122. Ashraf, M. A. (2018). Islamized ideologies in the Pakistani education system: The need for religious literacy. Religious Education, 113(1), 3–13. Cantón, A., & Garcia, B. I. (2018). Global citizenship education. New Directions for Student Leadership, 2018(160), 21–30. Dean, B. L. (2005). Citizenship education in Pakistani schools: Problems and possibilities. International Journal of Citizenship and Teacher Education, 1(2), 35.


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Developing loyal citizens 43 Sajjad, F. (2015). Countering extremists’ narrative in Pakistan. NDU Journal, 24(4), 76–79. Siddiqui, S. (2016). Education policies in Pakistan: Politics, projections, and practices. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sutton, R., & Douglas, K. (2013). Social psychology. London: Palgrave Macmillan. United Nations Development Programme. (2019). Human development report 2019. Zaman, A. (2008). On improving social science education in Pakistan. Lahore Journal of Policy Studies, 2(1), 125–134.


Social studies education in Bangladesh Contextual influences, reforms and development and curriculum Miron Kumar Bhowmik, Goutam Roy and Foujia Sultana

Introduction Bangladesh emerged as an independent country in 1971 after nearly 200 years of British colonialism followed by a quarter century of rule by Pakistan. Following the assassination of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the majority of his family members in 1975, the Bangladesh era saw military regimes for a decade and a half. Since then, democratic governments have ruled the country. Up until now, little is known about how these major historical and political events, as well as economic, social and religious contexts, have shaped social studies education in Bangladesh. This chapter, therefore, will focus on the development of social studies education in these contexts. We used document analysis to pursue this objective. We reviewed and evaluated a range of documents in order to explore social studies education in Bangladesh (Bowen, 2009, p. 27). The documents included legal constitution, historical education commission reports, previous and current education policy documents and various reports from government and international organisations. We also analysed social studies curricula and textbooks in both the general and madrasah education systems. The next section highlights contextual influences including history, politics, society, religion, economy and education system under which social studies education is provided. This is followed by the reforms and development of social studies education in the last five decades of Bangladesh as an independent country. We then describe the current policies and practices of social studies education in both general and madrasah education systems and related teacher education.

Contextual influences: history, politics, society, religion, economy and education system Located in the South Asia region, Bangladesh is surrounded by India, Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal. It is commonly known as a part of the Indian subcontinent. The region was colonised by the British for nearly 200 years. When the British colonial rulers left the Indian subcontinent in 1947, they divided it into

Social studies education in Bangladesh 45 two countries – India and Pakistan – based on the Hindu religion majority and Muslim religion majority, respectively. Pakistan consisted of two parts: East Pakistan (currently Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (currently Pakistan), separated by a long 2015 km Indian territory in between. Because of economic inequality, oppression and discrimination in all areas (Chowdhury & Sarkar, 2018), people of East Pakistan started various protests and movements from the onset of Pakistani rule. The first notable protest was the language movement. Several people were martyred in this protest on 21 February 1952, while demanding for Bengali as one of the state languages. UNESCO recognised the movement, and 21 February is currently observed as the International Mother Language day worldwide. Because of continued oppression and thus protests and movements, an armed liberation war erupted on 26 March 1971. After nine-month-long bloodshed, Bangladesh gained the victory on 16 December 1971 and emerged as an independent country. The birth of Bangladesh was based on four fundamental principles including secularism, nationalism, socialism and democracy, as reflected in the founding constitution (Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, 1972). Following the assassination of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the majority of his family members in 1975, the country was ruled by military governments for about 15 years. Democracy was restored in the early 1990s. One significant change that happened during this period of political turmoil was the elimination of secularism from the constitution and the addition of Islam as a state religion. Secularism, however, was restored again by a court ruling in 2011. The current form of the constitution has both Islam as a state religion and secularism as a fundamental principle. Indeed, the previously mentioned major historical and political events and changes in the constitution have a profound impact on the way social studies education evolved in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. More than 162.7 million people are living in a small area of 147,570 km2 (Ministry of Planning, 2018). The majority of the population is ethnically Bengalese, while a small percentage of the population belongs to Chakma, Santal, Marma, Garo, etc. minority ethnic groups. Bengali is the most widely spoken language in the country, while minority ethnic groups speak their heritage languages. About 90 percent of the Bangladeshi population are Muslims, followed by 8.5 percent Hindus and the rest are Buddhists, Christians and others (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 2015). From an economic perspective, Bangladesh is a developing country with an annual GDP growth of 7 percent over the last few years. The country is making notable progress in areas such as poverty alleviation, increasing life expectancy, infrastructure development and enrolment in education (The World Bank, 2019). Because of high GDP growth, the country is considered as one of the emerging economies in the world (Rooney, 2019). Although Bangladesh has recently showed a leap of economic development, the country is still facing economic inequality marked by the fact that 24.3 percent of the population are living below the poverty line (Ministry of Planning, 2018). Currently, the country


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focuses on reducing all kinds of discrimination and inequalities by achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform, n.d.; UNESCO, 2015). In terms of education, primary education is free and compulsory by law for all children in Bangladesh. Although the constitution mandates providing uniform basic education to all children, there are several streams available in primary education including a general education system provided by the government and private schools, Islamic faith-based madrasah education, NGOs-run non-formal primary schools and elite English-medium schools. The duration of primary education is five years from Grade I to Grade V. Secondary education in Bangladesh spans seven years including Junior Secondary from Grade VI to Grade VIII, Secondary from Grade IX to Grade X and Higher Secondary from Grade XI to Grade XII. Similar to primary, streaming continues at the secondary level except for the NGOs-run non-formal schools. A separate technical and vocational education and training (TVET) track is also available for the students from Grade IX to Grade XII. Post-higher secondary education is mainly offered by public universities and associated colleges and private universities. Bangladesh has had success in terms of increasing enrolment and closing gender gaps in primary education (BANBEIS, 2018). The current literacy rate is 72.3 percent (Ministry of Planning, 2018) with the achievement of a 100 percent enrolment rate in primary education. Elimination of gender difference in enrolment in primary education is considered as an exemplary achievement for the country (Ministry of Planning, 2017). Challenges, however, persist on several fronts. First, not achieving higher enrolment of students in the secondary level is still a big issue coupled with high dropout rates in both primary and secondary levels. Second, the quality of learning is questionable (Richards & Islam, 2018). Third, providing equitable opportunities for all children is yet to happen irrespective of their age, gender, readiness, dis/ability, ethnicity, geographical location, socio-economic background and parental awareness (Banu, Roy, & Shafiq, 2018). Finally, all of these together are holding back the country from achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) “inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030 (Bhowmik & Roy, 2020). Against the backdrop of these contextual influences including historical, political, economic and social changes as well as the religion, constitutional mandate and education system, we now explore social studies education in Bangladesh by detailing its reforms and development and the latest policy provisions and practices.

Reforms and development in social studies education In both British and Pakistan periods, several education commissions or committees were formed to help the respective governments to reform and develop the education system. Following a similar tradition, over the last 50 years, a total of six education commissions or committees were formed in the Bangladesh period (Roy, 2015). Each commission or committee was tasked to produce reports and

Social studies education in Bangladesh 47 recommendations that would be considered as the country’s education policy subject to the approval of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB). Yet only two of these were accepted as an education policy on account of political reasons (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2010; MoE, 2000). The first of these reports was published in 1974, but it was not implemented due to the regime change following the assassination of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Political regime change was also the main reason for non-implementation of the other reports. Even the approved reports were subject to modification by the implementation committees of the GoB. Although four commission reports, published in 1974, 1988, 1997, 2003, were not formally accepted, the recommendations of these reports were considered by different government bodies. At times, in the absence of education policy in Bangladesh, these reports acted as an invisible pillar in taking policy decisions. In the following section, we analyse the previous and current education policies as well as the other education commission/committee reports concerning the reforms and development of social studies education. The first Bangladesh Education Commission, chaired by Dr. Kudrat-E-Khuda, was formed in 1972, and a report to the government was provided in 1974. Among the 36 chapters of the report, there was no specific chapter for social studies or social science education. Science education, agriculture education, law education, however, were highlighted as an individual chapter (Bangladesh College-University Teachers’ Association, 1998). Nevertheless, the components of social studies are discussed in different sections of the report. For instance, the report mentioned patriotism and being a good citizen as two primary goals and objectives of the state education. Similarly, the report emphasised producing socially conscious people through education. In both pre-primary and primary levels, no specific subject related to social studies was recommended. In the secondary and higher secondary levels, the committee recommended optional subjects related to social studies such as civics, social welfare or sociology. The committee also suggested developing curriculum and textbooks at all levels in such a way that the goals and objectives mentioned earlier would be reflected. It can be said that although the committee did not specify social studies as a separate subject, they emphasised achieving the goals and objectives related to social studies education through other subjects. The Interim Education Policy, 1978, introduced “social studies” as a separate subject. The policy suggested placing social studies-related topics and issues in a specific textbook and named it Poribesh Porichiti (Introduction to Environment) at the primary level (National Parliament, 1978). Similarly, the committee suggested introducing social studies as a subject in secondary education too. Although the committee, led by the then education minister, used the word “policy” in the title, the report only comprised suggestions documented from several workshops. Due to political unrest, the suggestions from the report were not implemented. The next Bangladesh National Education Commission, chaired by Mofiz Uddin Ahmed, provided their report in 1988. They recommended to include social studies-related topics under the title Poribesh Porichiti from Grade I to Grade V (MoE, 1988). In Poribesh Porichiti subject, the committee prescribed including the topics of both social studies and general science. The committee


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also proposed introducing social science as a compulsory subject in the junior secondary level and as an optional subject in both secondary and higher secondary levels. Like the social science subject, they also recommended offering civics in secondary and higher secondary levels but as an optional subject. From this time, civics was offered as an optional subject for students in the humanities stream at both secondary and higher secondary levels. The National Committee on Education Policy 1997, chaired by Professor M. Shamsul Huq, also suggested introducing social studies under the umbrella Poribesh Porichiti from the primary level (MoE, 1997). The main difference from the previous committee was that while the previous committee included both social studies and general science-related topics, this committee divided this subject into two parts. One is Poribesh Porichiti Samaj (Introduction to Environment: Society), and the other is Poribesh Porichiti Biggan (Introduction to Environment: Science). The committee also recommended extending primary education from Grade V to Grade VIII gradually. When Grade VI to Grade VIII would be considered as part of the primary level, they suggested introducing social science as a separate subject for these grades. For secondary education, which would include Grade IX and Grade X, the students of the science stream would learn social science as a mandatory subject which mainly includes Bangladesh studies. In the other two streams, the humanities and business studies, students would not have access to social science subject. The students of the humanities stream would take history and geography as compulsory subjects, and economics and civics, one as a compulsory subject and the other as an optional subject. The students of the business studies stream would take civics or economics as an optional subject. At the higher secondary level, comprising Grade XI and XII, the students of the science stream would not study anything related to social science. The business studies stream students would study civics as an optional subject. The students of the humanities stream would learn social welfare or social science as well as civics as mandatory subjects. After receiving the 1997 report, the GoB formed another committee to review the report. The committee proposed a National Education Policy 1999 in draft. The GoB then discussed the proposed policy in the national parliament and finally passed it as the National Education Policy 2000 (MoE, 2000). This was Bangladesh’s first education policy. Although some changes were observed in the policy compared to the 1997 report, social studies related recommendations remained the same. In 2003, another commission was formed in which Professor Mohammad Moniruzzaman Miah was the chairman. They submitted their report (MoE, 2004a) in the same year. This commission gave importance to the socialisation process of the children, and therefore, they suggested including the component of the socialisation process from pre-primary education. Instead of introducing Poribesh Porichiti (Introduction to Environment), however, the committee suggested incorporating Bangladesh studies as a compulsory part of social studies from Grade III. On the other hand, the social science subject, a combination of history, geography and sociology, was considered as one of the core subjects for the junior secondary classes. No social studies subject was recommended at the secondary level. Instead, the committee suggested introducing civics and other

Social studies education in Bangladesh 49 related subjects as optional. No such recommendation was found for the higher secondary level. After receiving the report, the then government formed the National Education Commission 2003 Recommendation Implementation Cell which considered all the recommendations mentioned previously (MoE, 2004b). The most recent education committee was formed in 2009, chaired by Professor Kabir Chowdhury. They were tasked to review the commission reports of 1974, 1997 and the first Education Policy 2000 and to provide a draft education policy (Roy, 2015). For this reason, the committee provided “strategy” instead of “recommendation” in their report. The committee submitted their draft report accordingly, and after review and discussion in the national parliament of Bangladesh, the final report was passed as the National Education Policy 2010. This is the second and current education policy in Bangladesh. In this policy, “Bangladesh studies” and “social environment” were considered as two separate subjects for primary education (MoE, 2010). “Social environment”, however, as a separate subject at primary level was not introduced, and “Bangladesh and global studies” is the only subject currently providing social studies education at this level. “Bangladesh studies” was also considered as the core subject for the secondary level. It is important to note that although the subject “Bangladesh studies” was recommended in the previous education commission reports, this is the first time that the GoB implemented the subject in both primary and secondary education. In 2012, on behalf of the GoB, the National Curriculum Textbook Board (NCTB) renamed the subject from “Bangladesh studies” to “Bangladesh and global studies”. From the analysis of all education commission reports and education policies, it is evident that the education commissions or committees highlighted several subject areas, such as science education, business education, agriculture studies, law studies, etc. by allocating a separate chapter for each. A separate chapter for social studies education, however, is not found in any of these policy documents. The absence of any social studies education chapter suggests the status of such subjects in the minds of policymakers. Following the first Kudrat-E-Khuda commission report in 1974, the subsequent reports followed the same organisational style by not providing a separate chapter for social studies education. Instead, social studies education-related objectives and recommendations for subjects at different levels were mentioned in these reports providing the basis for future development.

Social studies education: current policy, curriculum and practices Social studies education in the general education system The latest education policy document (MoE, 2010) does not have any specific chapter focusing on social studies education. The policy highlights that the main aim of the education is to cultivate a range of human values: The primary objectives of this policy are directed toward the cultivation of human values. It seeks to prescribe ways through which citizens can be


Miron Kumar Bhowmik et al. groomed to become leaders in pro-people development programs and progress of the society. They will become rational and intellectually accomplished human beings with ethical perceptions, who have respect for their own religion as well as for others’ faiths. Education will help them to grow up as non-communal, patriotic and efficient persons free from superstitions. And simultaneously, it is only education that can equip the nation to acquire the qualities and skills that will strengthen Bangladesh to work with equal capacity and pace of the global community. (MoE, 2010, p. 8)

In order to achieve these, the policy document set out 30 specifc aims, objectives and principles of education. It can be interpreted that many of these objectives may be achieved, some partially and some fully, by social studies education. In the following section, we will highlight the key features of those objectives as they relate to social studies education. One of the main objectives of education is to retain and promote national history, culture, Bengali language and identity as exemplified below: to inspire the students with the spirit of our war of liberation and develop patriotism, nationalism and qualities of good citizens (i.e., sense of justice, non-communalism, dutifulness, awareness of human rights, cultivation of free thinking and discipline, love for honest living, the tolerance of corporate life, friendliness and perseverance); . . . to promote the continuity of national history, tradition and culture through an intergenerational process; . . . to ensure efficient and correct teaching of Bangla language. (MoE, 2010, pp. 8–10) The objectives in the education policy document also focus on upholding the constitutional mandate of educational opportunities at all levels and make the students aware about freedom, sovereignty and integrity of Bangladesh; providing equal opportunities to education for all regardless of location, ability and class; eliminating discrimination irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status; increasing economic productivity; promoting tolerance for differences in ideologies and opinions; developing moral character based on religious teaching/learning and moral sciences; establishing creative, favourable and joyful educational environment in primary and secondary levels; promoting research culture in higher education; making aware of environment and climate change and developing skills to fght against the challenges brought by climate change and natural disasters; promoting the use of information and communication technology (ICT) at all levels of education; retaining heritage languages and cultures of the indigenous and minority ethnic groups; promoting all-round physical and mental development of students and making them aware of hygienic lifestyle and the danger of drug abuse. Indeed, social studies education is the main tool to instil national culture and identity among the students. Social studies education subjects can also contribute

Social studies education in Bangladesh 51 to all the other objectives mentioned earlier in one way or other but more prominently to issues pertaining to sovereignty of the country, equal opportunities, discrimination, tolerance and climate change. While the earlier section provides a glimpse of objectives of Bangladesh education and the place of social science education in it, we will now examine social studies education curriculum and textbooks from primary through higher secondary level. All curricula and textbooks across the grades are openly available on the NCTB (National Curriculum and Textbook Board) website ( bd/site/page/e6551aa3-2cd8-4e23-89cc-8a49cca3dc69/-).

Primary education The aim of the Bangladesh and global studies curriculum for primary level is to provide concepts related to children’s normal lives including the history, tradition and culture of Bangladesh; the history of the liberation war; human rights and citizenship rights; society; geography; environment; climate change and natural disaster. The curriculum (NCTB, 2012a, p. 217) intends to help students: achieve the qualities for becoming good citizens; become curious and respectful to world-culture; think independently and freely; achieve ethical and societal virtues; differentiate between good and bad; properly utilize and protect (personal, family, societal, state) properties; know about nature and environment and their conservation; [know about] weather and climate change, disaster management, the dignity of labor, ethnic minority groups, and population and human resources; show supportive behaviors towards both female and male children and people with special needs. There is no separate subject for social studies education in Grade I and Grade II because of the age and ability of learners. The contents of social studies education are taught in an integrated way through other subjects (Bengali, English and math) in these two lower primary grades. Social studies education is offered as a separate compulsory subject for all students from Grade III to Grade V. As mentioned previously, the course is titled as “Bangladesh and global studies”. Bangladesh and global studies provide social studies education in an integrated manner by incorporating contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. Table 4.1 lists the contents taught from Grade I to Grade V. Themes are similar across the grades, but concepts are gradually expanded as the students move from lower to upper grades. Special emphasis is given to Bangladesh context when topics and contents are discussed in the textbooks. In terms of actual classroom practices, Bangladesh and global studies classes are held almost every day during the academic terms. Most of the primary schools have shortage of teachers, and also it is not mandatory for teachers to have specialised degree from social science discipline to teach the subject. Therefore, it is common that teachers from different academic backgrounds teach this subject at the primary level. Students get to know the contents and topics in general in


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Table 4.1 Social Studies Education Contents (From Grade I to Grade V) Grade

Grade I

Grade II

Grade III

Grade IV

Grade V

Contents Integrated in Bengali, English and Mathematics Our environment, we are all equal, my family, keeping myself safe, family and our tasks, let us keep the environment clean, small and big families, national flag and anthem of Bangladesh, various national days of Bangladesh (NCTB, 2012a, pp. 227–233) Our environment, we are all equal, duties and responsibilities of children and families, proper use and conservation of assets, children’s tasks at home and school, ethical and social virtues, environmental pollution, small and big families, our liberation war, our Bangladesh (NCTB, 2012a, pp. 234–241) Bangladesh and Global Studies (compulsory) The natural and social environment, living together, our rights and responsibilities, different occupations of society, human qualities, improving our social environments, protecting our environment against pollution, the continents and oceans, our Bangladesh, the father of our nation, our history and culture, the population of Bangladesh (NCTB, 2019a, p. 1) Our environment and society, cooperation in society, ethnic groups of Bangladesh, the rights of citizens, values and behaviour, tolerance, the dignity of work, social and national assets, developing our locality, geography of Asia, geography of Bangladesh, disaster management, population of Bangladesh, our history, our liberation war, our culture (NCTB, 2019b, p. 1) Our liberation war, British rule, historical monuments in Bangladesh, our economy: agriculture and industry, population, climate and disaster, human rights, gender equality, our duties and responsibilities, democratic attitude, ethnic groups in Bangladesh, Bangladesh in world politics (NCTB, 2019c, p. 1)

Grade III, while students start learning this subject gradually at a deeper level in Grade IV and Grade V. Continuous assessments approach is followed for assessing learners in Grade I and Grade II. From Grade III onwards, quarterly, halfyearly and yearly examination systems are in place. At the end of Grade V, a public examination called PECE (Primary Education Completion Examination) is held.

Junior secondary education Bangladesh and global studies is offered as a compulsory subject for all students from Grade VI to Grade VIII. Similar to the primary level, it is provided in an integrated manner by incorporating contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. In addition, another social studies education subject is offered as an optional subject titled “language and culture of minority ethnic groups”. Bangladesh and global

Social studies education in Bangladesh 53 studies curriculum at this level focuses on “social life in the country, history and culture of country and nationality, socio-economic, political situation, cultural life, geographical environment, and relation of Bangladesh with international and regional organization” (NCTB, 2012b, p. 26). There are around 2.5 million people from different minority ethnic groups living in Bangladesh besides majority Bengalese people (NCTB, 2012b, p. 224). The minority ethnic groups have their own rich culture and heritage. Majority Bengalese people do not know much about their lifestyle, economical condition, diversity of their languages, religious beliefs, etc. (NCTB, 2012b, p. 224). To maintain the harmony between Bengalese and minority ethnic groups, knowing each other is crucial. Consequently, the National Education Policy 2010 (MoE, 2010) highlighted the importance of learning minority language and culture. To encourage this, the optional subject “language and culture of minority ethnic groups” was included in the curriculum. This indicates the importance of minorities learning their own language and culture. Also, from Grade I to III at the primary level, along with Bengali, the textbooks are written in Garo, Chakma, Marma, Tripura and Sadri minority ethnic languages. Minority ethnic cultures are given focus in these books. Table 4.2 lists the contents of both Bangladesh and global studies and language and culture of minority ethnic groups. As prescribed in the curriculum, the allocated numbers of class periods for Bangladesh and global studies are three in a week, 53 in a term and 106 annually (NCTB, 2012b, p. 8). The number of class periods for language and culture of minority ethnic groups are allocated as two, 35 and 70 respectively in a week, term and annually. In general, the duration of the frst class period is 60 minutes, whereas the duration of other class periods are 50 minutes each. Generally, subject specialists teach social studies education subjects at this junior secondary level. However, due to lack of teachers in some schools, some teachers from other disciplines may be involved in teaching. The allocated examination marks for Bangladesh and global studies and language and culture of minority ethnic groups are 100 each. As prescribed in the curriculum, both formative and summative assessments are available in junior secondary level (NCTB, 2012b, pp. 15–18). The formative assessment includes classwork, homework and class tests for subject-based cognitive and psychomotor domains and continuous assessment for affective domain. The summative assessment includes terminal and public examinations. Class tests are held after completion of every chapter in the form of written or practical test. Assessment of affective domain focuses on testing the development of virtues and values among individual students which include “discipline, patriotism, leadership, honesty, orderliness, cooperation, active participation, tolerance, awareness and punctuality” (NCTB, 2012b, p. 17). The previously mentioned formative assessment techniques are mainly prescribed in the curriculum. The actual practices, however, may vary from school to school, and it may be likely that many schools are not practising some of these prescribed techniques. One terminal examination is held every six months, thus two terminal examinations in a year. A public examination takes place at the end of Grade VIII which is called the JSC (Junior School Certifcate).


Table 4.2 Social Studies Education Contents (From Grade VI to Grade VIII) Contents Bangladesh and Global Studies (compulsory) Grade VI

Grade VII

Grade VIII

History of Bangladesh, Bangladesh and world civilization, Bangladesh in the global geographical environment, introduction to population of Bangladesh, society of Bangladesh, culture of Bangladesh, economy of Bangladesh, Bangladesh and her citizens, environment of Bangladesh, rights of children in Bangladesh, children’s growing and its obstacles in Bangladesh, Bangladesh and regional cooperation, sustainable development goals (SDG) (NCTB, 2019d) Liberation movement of Bangladesh, culture and cultural diversity of Bangladesh, growth of a child in a family, economy of Bangladesh, Bangladesh and citizen of Bangladesh, election system of Bangladesh, climate of Bangladesh, introduction to population of Bangladesh, rights of senior citizen and women in Bangladesh, social problems in Bangladesh, some countries in Asia, Bangladesh and international cooperation, sustainable development goals (SDG) (NCTB, 2019e) Colonial age and the liberation war of Bengal, the liberation war of Bangladesh, cultural change and development of Bangladesh, description of archaeological heritage of colonial age, socialization and development, economy of Bangladesh, Bangladesh: state and government system, disasters in Bangladesh, population and development of Bangladesh, social problems of Bangladesh, minority ethnic groups of Bangladesh, natural resources of Bangladesh, Bangladesh and various regional and international associate organizations, sustainable development goals (SDG) (NCTB, 2019f)

Language and Culture of Minority Ethnic Groups (optional) Cultural profile of Bangladesh, minority ethnic groups in Bangladesh, languages of minority ethnic groups, archaeological heritage of minority ethnic groups, social life of minority ethnic groups, festivals of minority ethnic groups (NCTB, 2019g) Introduction to the culture of minority ethnic groups, beliefs and values of minority ethnic groups, political life of minority ethnic groups, minority ethnic groups in movements and struggles, indigenous knowledge of minority ethnic groups, minority ethnic groups in the conservation of biodiversity and environment (NCTB, 2019h) Languages and cultural diversity of minority ethnic groups, introduction to physical structure of minority ethnic groups, economic life of minority ethnic groups of Bangladesh, changing trends of minority ethnic groups, problems of minority ethnic groups, development of minority ethnic groups (NCTB, 2012b, pp. 248–253)

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Social studies education in Bangladesh 55 Secondary education Starting from Grade IX, there are three streams in secondary education in Bangladesh: science, business studies and humanities. Students can opt for one of these streams. For Grade IX and Grade X, Bangladesh and global studies is compulsory for students in the science stream. Similar to primary and junior secondary levels, it is provided in an integrated manner by incorporating contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. Language and culture of minority ethnic groups and geography and environment are also offered as optional subjects for the students in the science stream. Bangladesh and global studies, language and culture of minority ethnic groups and geography and environment are offered as an optional subject for the students in the business studies stream. The students in the humanities stream study three compulsory social studies education subjects including the history of Bangladesh and world civilization, geography and environment and economics or civics and citizenship. Bangladesh and global studies, economics and civics and citizenship are also offered as optional subject for the students in the humanities stream. As prescribed in the curriculum, the class periods of Bangladesh and global studies, a compulsory subject for the science stream, are three times weekly, 48 times in a term and 96 times annually (NCTB, 2012b, p. 9). For the assessment of the subject, 100 marks are allocated. Examination marks and class periods are same as previously mentioned for the business studies stream for each of their three optional social studies education subjects and for the humanities stream for each of their compulsory and optional social studies education subjects. In general, each class period is same as junior secondary level, first class period is 60 minutes and subsequent ones are 50 minutes. Generally, subject specialists teach social studies education subjects at this secondary level. Similar to junior secondary, secondary level also has formative and summative assessments. A public examination, called the SSC (Secondary School Certificate), is held at the end of Grade X.

Higher secondary education There are six streams available for Grade XI and Grade XII: humanities, science, business studies, Islamic studies, home economics and music (NCTB, 2012c). Social studies education is compulsory for students in humanities stream where they have to study various social studies education subjects including history or Islamic history and culture, civics and good governance or economics or logic, sociology or social works or geography. Students are required to study three compulsory subjects and one optional subject from the list. Students can choose sociology or social work as a compulsory or optional subject. But students cannot choose these two subjects at a time, one as a compulsory and another as an optional subject. A similar arrangement applies to history or Islamic history and culture subjects. Students can choose only one subject at a time. Students in the


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music stream study one social studies education subject as compulsory. It has to be economics or civics and good governance or history. Students in the Islamic studies stream have to study Islamic history and culture as a compulsory subject. Students in other streams including science, business studies, and home economics as well as music and Islamic studies streams can choose one social studies education subject as optional. As prescribed in the curriculum, every subject is allocated five class periods in a week (NCTB, 2012c, p. 11). In general, each class period is 60 minutes. Each social studies subject has two parts. For the assessment of the subject, 100 marks are allocated for each part, totalling 200 marks for each subject. Only subject specialists teach social studies subjects at this higher secondary level. A public examination, called HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate), is held at the end of Grade XII.

Social studies education in madrasah education system Parallel to the general education system, Islamic faith-based madrasahs are also an integral part of Bangladesh education system. State-regulated public and private madrasahs, known as Aliya madrasahs, as well as independent private madrasahs, known as Quomy madrasahs, provide education from primary to master’s levels. The government has full control over curriculum and contents in the Aliya madrasahs through Bangladesh Madrasah Education Board (BMEB), a government body under the Ministry of Education (MoE). In the case of Quomy madrasahs, however, the government has little control over what subjects are taught as these madrasahs are not registered with the government. Many general subjects are taught in Aliya madrasahs alongside religious subjects, while religious subjects are mainly taught in Quomy madrasahs with little or no general subjects. Based on the decision of the National Education Policy 2010 (MoE, 2010) and similar to general education system, the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) also developed Bangladesh and global studies for the madrasah students from Grade III as a compulsory subject. Bangladesh Madrasah Education Board (BMEB) introduced this subject to all the Ebtedayee madrasahs (equivalent to primary level) since 2015. This subject includes culture, history, politics, geography, society, social behaviour and understanding of natural environment. The same subject was introduced to the Dakhil level (equivalent to junior secondary and secondary levels) in the same year. However, for Alim level (equivalent to higher secondary level), there is no compulsory subject related to social studies education. Nevertheless, students can choose civics as an optional subject.

Social studies in teacher education Teaching social studies education is part of pre-service teacher preparation programme at both primary and secondary levels. Certificate in Education and Diploma in Education programmes offered by Primary Training Institutes (PTIs), Bachelor of Education (one year) and Bachelor of Education (Honors)

Social studies education in Bangladesh 57 programmes offered by Teachers’ Training Colleges, and Bachelor of Education (Honors) programme offered by Education Departments or institutes at the universities provide social studies-related teacher education programme in Bangladesh. Most of the Bachelor of Education (honors) degree programmes have a specialisation in social studies education where students are comprehensively taught how to deal with the teaching of social studies education subjects. Certificate in Education, Diploma in Education and Bachelor of Education (one year) programmes also have social studies subject-based training as part of the programmes. Additionally, different government education departments at national and local levels organise school based and off-school in-service teacher trainings for social studies education subjects. Sometimes, in-service training is held when some changes take place in school curriculum and sometimes as part of the continuous professional development (CPD) of teachers. Sometimes, in-service training is provided as part of big educational projects, funded and supported by international donor groups, development partners and NGOs.

Conclusion Major historical and political events have profoundly shaped social studies education in Bangladesh. For example, there is emphasis seen on the liberation war of Bangladesh at different levels of education. This is also related to the political philosophy of the ruling party, Bangladesh Awami League, which led the liberation war against Pakistan as far back as 1971. Their election manifesto emphasises promoting and realising the spirit of the liberation war (Bangladesh Awami League, 2018). Another historical era, the British colonial period, is also well-covered. Unsurprisingly, national culture and values are given due importance. Thus, it is clear that social studies education is being used to instil national culture and identity among the students. Also importantly, a social studies subject titled “language and culture of minority ethnic groups” is offered as an optional subject from the junior secondary level. This is indeed a new development in the current curriculum, and its effect is yet to be seen among the students. Climate change and natural disasters are also given importance due to the climate and disaster vulnerability of the country. Other important topics include patriotism, duties and responsibilities of good citizens, state and government system, human rights, child rights, tolerance, gender equality, discrimination, regional and international cooperation, etc. The analysis of education commission reports and education policies reveal that social studies education was not given as much importance as science education, business education, agriculture studies, law studies, etc. Social studies education evolved from “Introduction to Environment” to “Introduction to Environment: Society” and then to “Bangladesh Studies” and currently to “Bangladesh and global studies”. In all cases, social studies education has been provided in an integrated manner by incorporating contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. Currently, Bangladesh and global studies is offered to all students as a compulsory subject from Grade III to Grade VIII. In the upper levels from Grade IX to XII, social studies


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education is mainly offered to students in the humanities stream as social science discipline subjects (e.g., history, civics, geography, economics, sociology, social work, etc.). These subjects are offered to students in other streams as optional subject, with the exception of “Bangladesh and global studies” which is offered as compulsory subject to students in the science stream in Grade IX–X.

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Social studies education in Bangladesh 59 Ministry of Planning. (2017). Education scenario in Bangladesh: Gender perspective. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Ministry of Planning. Ministry of Planning. (2018). Bangladesh statistics 2018. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Ministry of Planning. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2012a). National curriculum: Grade I to Grade V [in Bengali]. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2012b). National curriculum: Grade VI to Grade X [in Bengali]. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2012c). National curriculum: Grade XI to Grade XII [in Bengali]. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019a). National textbook: Bangladesh and global studies: Grade III. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019b). National textbook: Bangladesh and global studies: Grade IV. Bangladesh: NVTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019c). National textbook: Bangladesh and global studies: Grade V. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019d). National textbook: Bangladesh and global studies: Grade VI. Bangladesh: NVTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019e). National textbook: Bangladesh and global studies: Grade VII. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019f). National textbook: Language and culture of minority ethnic groups: Grade VIII. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019g). National textbook: Language and culture of minority ethnic groups: Grade VI. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board [NCTB]. (2019h). National textbook: Language and culture of minority ethnic groups: Grade VII. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Parliament. (1978). The interim education policy. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Richards, J., & Islam, M. S. (2018). Assessing literacy and numeracy among primary school students: A pilot survey in rural Bangladesh. International Journal of Educational Development, 61, 55–63. Rooney, K. (2019, November 19). Here’s what you need to know about Bangladesh’s rocketing economy. Retrieved on 9 May 2020 from agenda/2019/11/bangladesh-gdp-economy-asia/ Roy, G. (2015). National education policy (2010) of Bangladesh: Understanding the background and focuses. In A. Raqib (Ed.), International conference on geography education 2015 (39). Rajshahi: Department of Geography and Environment, University of Rajshahi. Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform. (n.d.). Bangladesh: Voluntary national review 2017. Retrieved on 9 May 2020 from https://sustainabledevelopment. UNESCO. (2015). Education 2030: Incheon declaration and framework for action. Retrieved from The World Bank. (2019). The World Bank in Bangladesh: Overview. Retrieved from


Social studies education in Singapore From cultural transmission to social transformation Ee Moi Kho

Introduction Citizenship education is essential in every society, and most educators agree that schools are well placed to do that (Parker, 2005; Stanley, 2010). Public schools are often the main agencies through which formal socialization and the transmission of national values, traditions and social norms take place (Apple, 2004; Sim & Print, 2005; Ho, 2010). While many agree that citizenship education is important, there is no consensus on what “citizenship” means or about the goals and purposes of citizenship education (Ross, 2006; McCowan, 2009; Westheimer & Kahne, 2004). The plural nature of communities in modern states, compounded by globalization and its attendant issues, has resulted in a lack of shared conceptions of citizenship even among members of the same society (Sim, 2008; Tan & Strathdee, 2010). McCowan (2009) posits that the “aims of citizenship education – the development of a ‘good’ or ‘effective’ or ‘empowered’ citizen – depend on fundamental understandings of the nature of the polity, the balance of liberty and equality and so forth” (p. 5). The multiplicity and diverse natures of nation states in the world suggest that it is not possible or even advantageous to agree on one definitive form of citizenship education. Over the years, scholars and educators have proposed various purposes and orientations to citizenship education through social studies. Barr, Barth, and Shermis (1977) grouped the various approaches to social studies into three categories: citizenship or cultural transmission, social science and reflective inquiry. Many other scholars have also contributed to the discussion on the goals and purposes of social studies and citizenship education and proposed other traditions or orientations towards social studies. Morrisett (1977), for example, described five orientations of social studies: transmission of culture and history; social science processes and subject matter; reflective or critical thinking and inquiry; study of social and political controversies with the aim of promoting social activism and personal development. Clark and Case (1997) proposed that orientations towards social studies should be seen in terms of two intersecting continua: social transmission and social transformation at the two ends of one continuum and child-centredness and subject-centredness at two ends of a second continuum. While there are many different conceptions of the orientations towards social studies, most researchers agree that social studies is utilized for three primary

Social studies education in Singapore 61 purposes: namely, socialization into the norms of society; acquisition of disciplinary concepts and processes and promotion of critical or reflective thinking (Ross, 2006). Stanley and Nelson (1994) suggest that the debate over the purposes of social studies centres on the relative emphases accorded to citizenship/cultural transmission as opposed to critical or reflective thinking. The emphasis on cultural transmission is aimed at socializing children to the accepted norms and practices of a society. The focus then is on the teaching of knowledge, behaviour, skills, values and dispositions that are accepted by that society. On the other hand, an emphasis on critical or reflective thinking seeks to promote social reform or transformation, and the concomitant focus is on knowledge, behaviour, skills, values and dispositions that question and critique accepted norms and standards of that society. Similarly, Schugurensky and Myers (2003) suggested that citizenship education practices may reside on a continuum between two orientations – conservative and progressive. In the conservative orientation, citizenship education is used as a tool to preserve the socio-economic order and instil loyalty as well as obedience to authority. The progressive orientation, on the other hand, advocates citizenship education for societal transformation, nurture cosmopolitanism and critical thinking and prepare citizens for civic and political engagement. In Singapore, citizenship education is largely subject-centred with social studies as the principal means through which the People’s Action Party (PAP) and government view of Singaporean society is reproduced (Sim & Print, 2009). Social studies was first implemented in primary schools beginning in Primary Four in 1984 and at the secondary level in 2001. The curriculum has clearly prescribed citizenship education outcomes developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE). Although the social studies curriculum has evolved over the years, its goal has remained constant, that is, “to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to participate effectively in the society and environment in which they live” (MOE, 1981). This chapter will show that for many years the tradition of social studies was a conservative one aimed at cultural transmission and preservation of the status quo. The goal was to develop the dutiful, obedient and patriotic citizen. Participation in the public sphere was very much limited to contributing to the common good and maintaining social harmony. Towards the end of the 20th century, however, there was growing recognition of the need to develop critical and reflective thinking in the citizens. This was in response to global trends and changes in economic needs. As a result, citizenship education in the social studies curriculum began to shift towards a more progressive orientation.

Singapore’s historical context Singapore is a tiny island located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with little natural resources and surrounded by Muslim nations. A former British colony, Singapore became an independent nation in 1965 when it separated from Malaysia. Its beginnings as an independent nation has been described as inauspicious (Clutterbuck, 1985). Demographically, Singapore had a largely immigrant


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population that was multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-religious and whose loyalties lay with their countries of origin. There was no “imagined community” (Anderson, 1983), no common identity binding the different communities to the new nation. In the early years of independence, the new nation faced many seemingly insurmountable challenges. Political instability and social unrest caused by a constant threat of clandestine communist activities and a multi-racial population characterized by communalist tendencies were some of the issues faced by the government. The 1964 racial riots that precipitated the separation of Singapore from Malaysia were the “worst and most prolonged in Singapore’s postwar history” (Clutterbuck, 1985, p. 321). Furthermore, there were doubts about Singapore’s economic viability as an independent island state. Its difficulties stemmed from the fact that it was a small island with no natural resources, a rapidly increasing population and a high unemployment rate. There was no agricultural sector to absorb the increasing numbers of jobseekers. These problems were compounded by a declining entrepot trade on which the Singapore economy was heavily dependent (Chan, 1971; Turnbull, 2009). Chan (1971) postulated that “survival” was the dominant theme in Singapore politics and the PAP government used this theme to vindicate their domestic and international policies and to unite the people by creating a “crisis mentality in order to exhort the population to greater deeds, greater efforts and greater sacrifice” (p. 53). Survival to the PAP government meant ensuring Singapore’s continued existence as an economically viable independent nation. There were two main thrusts in their nation-building effort – building up the economy and achieving national integration through developing a national identity. This was to ensure peace and social stability which was deemed crucial for a market economy that depended heavily on foreign investments. At the same time, attention was placed on establishing control over the education system. In the 1950s, there was no national system of education or a common core curriculum offered by schools. Instead, a potpourri of curricula was being offered by diverse vernacular schools. A serious concern over this lack of curricular uniformity was expressed by then Prime Minister (PM) Lee Kuan Yew: If in the four different languages of instruction, we teach our children four different standards of right and wrong, four different ideal patterns of behaviour, then we will produce four different groups of people and there will be no integrated coherent society. (Lee, 1959, p. 3) The school system was seen as the most important agency for inculcating national values in the young so as to achieve national integration. In the frst nine years of PAP rule, education was prioritized and almost one third of the national budget was allocated to education (Turnbull, 2009). Control over the education system was an imperative, and the PAP government immediately set about streamlining the curriculum and textbooks in the different vernacular and English language schools. By the early 1960s, syllabuses with common content in the four

Social studies education in Singapore 63 language media, namely, Malay, Chinese, Tamil and English, had been designed and implemented (MOE, 1966). The aim was to develop a coherent common curriculum that would produce citizens with a greater sense of unity and belonging to the nation. Thus by the early 1970s, a nationalized school system was established through the policies of integrated schools, common curricula, bilingualism and meritocracy (Gopinathan, 1974). Since then, the education system has been highly centralized and controlled through the MOE, and political leaders have exerted a strong infuence over curriculum policy and its implementation (Gopinathan, 2007).

Citizenship education in the early postcolonial years From the start, the PAP had recognized the important role played by schools in citizenship education. Its 1959 party manifesto, The Tasks Ahead, PAP’s 5-Year Plan, 1959–1964, highlighted the important role of teachers in uniting the diverse races and moulding the children into a “national pattern” (People’s Action Party, 1959, p. 5). The hegemonic discourse in this manifesto captured the essence of the PAP vision of nation building. The words “mould” and “national pattern” imply the deliberate shaping of (student) character according to a model that was determined by the ruling elite. Furthermore, this “national pattern” was not one that would develop organically over time. Rather, it was to be purposefully assembled through the public education system (Weninger & Kho, 2014). This underscores the critical role of schools functioning as ideological state apparatuses for the social reproduction of desirable national characteristics of a stateconceptualized ideal citizen (Apple, 2004). In the initial years of self-rule and subsequent independence, citizenship education in Singapore schools took the form of ethics (1959–1966) and civics (1967–1972). A common curriculum for the different vernacular schools was designed and implemented by the Ministry of Education (MOE). In that period, the focus of citizenship education was on character and moral development. Good citizens were individuals of high moral character, imbued with values of honesty, kindness, patriotism and loyalty to the country (Ong, 1979). In 1973, civics was replaced by education for living (EFL), an interdisciplinary programme that integrated civics, history and geography with a twofold purpose of social and moral education. A key objective was to imbue a love for the country in the children and enable them to understand “their duties as loyal, patriotic, responsible and law-abiding citizens” (Ong, 1979, p. 3). That was the “national pattern” that children were being moulded into. There was little emphasis on understanding democratic processes, the rights of a citizen as found in the constitution of Singapore or even the skills and competencies required of an effective citizen in a democratic polity. Instead, character formation and inculcation of moral and social values were deemed essential. As Sim and Print (2005) pointed out, “learning about and understanding democratic principles and processes were all but ignored in favour of dutiful obedience to the state” (Sim & Print, 2005, p. 62).


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Evolution of social studies in Singapore schools “Moulding” the responsible citizen in primary school: 1980s–1990s In spite of all the dire predictions about Singapore’s inability to survive, by the late 1970s and early 1980s, Singapore’s economy had grown rapidly. The government’s economic plan of industrialization and attracting foreign investments was successful as evidenced by the rise in Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product per capita from S$2,798 in 1970 to S$10,394 in 1980 (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 1992). The economy grew by about 10 percent a year from 1978 to 1982 and the overall economic growth was reflected in the rising standard of living. The rapid industrialization, openness to foreign capital and increasing popularity of English-medium education however resulted in increasing concern over what the political leaders saw as the influence of the “decadent West”, leading to excessive individualism and an erosion of moral values and cultural identity (Hill & Lian, 1995; Sim & Print, 2005). Goh Keng Swee, the first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, pointed out that “[t]here are very good reasons why just going along with the West will really get us into serious trouble . . . [and that] without morality and a sense of public duty that does not put self always first, Singapore could decline” (Lim, 1982). This perception of Western and Asian values as dichotomous and conflicting resulted in several initiatives in education. To combat the influence of perceived decadent Western values, an increased emphasis was placed on bilingualism in the curriculum. Language was seen as the key vehicle through which presumed Asian cultural values could be inculcated, hence the emphasis on mother-tongue languages. There was also renewed focus on citizenship education with the introduction of moral education subjects at primary and secondary levels and social studies at primary level, beginning in Primary Four. Religious knowledge subjects to reinforce the teaching of moral values were also introduced at the upper secondary level.1 This experiment in religious education was short-lived as criticisms about the appropriateness of religious education being taught in secular schools as well as the heightened religious fervour of the period led to the termination of these subjects by the end of the decade (Kho, Ooi, & Chee, 2010; Tan, 2000). Social studies thus became a key vehicle for citizenship education. For many years, a cultural transmission approach to citizenship education was used. There was strong emphasis on developing law-abiding, loyal and morally upright individuals by means of inculcating “certain values in the pupils through developing knowledge, skills and attitudes as they explored History and Geography” (MOE, 1981, p. 3). The syllabus content comprised an integration of history and geography with some basic economics and sociology. Topics included the history and geography of Singapore as well as issues related to Singapore’s lack of resources and the unique multicultural composition of its population (Fang, 2002). Themes of national vulnerability and threats to its survival featured strongly in the curriculum. The intent was to transmit a sense of shared crisis so as to develop that sense of common identity, draw its populace together to unite and work for the nation’s survival. Singapore was a relatively young nation, and there was a very

Social studies education in Singapore 65 real and pressing need to develop a sense of national identity among its people. The perceived need was for an obedient and disciplined populace who would support its growing industrial economy. A survivalist mentality was inculcated in the young, and at that time, the emphasis was not on developing critical thinkers but on creating a population of followers. This sense of shared crisis permeated the content of social studies curricula throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1994, the primary social studies syllabus was revised because Singapore’s rapid technological advancement and urbanization as well as people’s increasing interest and concern for the environment necessitated changes in the curriculum “to focus on the environment, the people, their heritage and needs and progress” (MOE, 1994, p. 5). In reality, the curriculum continued to be centred on the history and geography of Singapore and the limitations and constraints of Singapore’s size and lack of resources. As an example, in the topic “Our Needs”, taken from the 1994 Primary Five syllabus, issues of Singapore’s needs in terms of water, fuel, food and housing were highlighted (MOE, 1994). The topic emphasized the vulnerability of the nation and the need for conservation of resources. The curricular emphasis on values of preparedness, adaptability, conservation of scarce resources and even living in harmony reflected the state’s ideological conception of the ideal citizen as a law-abiding, responsible person whose responsibility was to maintain harmony, conserve the environment and accept and adjust to change.

Preparing citizens for the 21st century: struggle between traditional and progressive paradigms of citizenship education The end of the 20th century saw a renewed emphasis on fostering a national identity through citizenship education in school. A new initiative known as National Education (NE) was launched in 1997. Its goals were to “develop national cohesion, cultivate instincts for survival and instil confidence in our students regarding Singapore’s future” (MOE, 2007, p. 1). The approach was to infuse NE into the formal and informal curriculum where appropriate. This new initiative was a response to the findings of two surveys carried out in 1996 which drew attention to Singapore youths’ lack of knowledge and interest in issues related to Singapore’s history and vulnerabilities. Government leaders were alarmed by this and deemed it a challenge to the nation’s continued survival in the face of globalization and rapid change (Sim & Print, 2005). There was a fear of a lack of a national identity and rootedness to Singapore in the young. Political leaders once again stressed the importance of young people knowing and understanding Singapore’s history, its vulnerabilities as a multiracial society and the constraints of limited resources. Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lee Hsien Loong argued that knowledge of Singapore’s history, in particular, the period of hardship when Singapore was under Japanese rule as well as the road to independence, was essential for the development of a national consciousness (Lee, 1997). National Education was the means by which the “cultural DNA which makes us Singaporeans” was to


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be hardwired into young Singaporeans (Lee, 1997, p. 1), and it was the responsibility of educators to “mould” the next generation. Interestingly the discourse of DPM Lee in 1997 was strikingly similar to that of his father, PM Lee Kuan Yew in 1959. After almost 40 years of nation building, the approach to citizenship education was still one of cultural transmission and moulding the next generation into a desired pattern. National Education (NE) was a nationwide, cross-curricular citizenship education programme. The aims of NE were encapsulated and publicized in six messages: •

Singapore is our homeland; this is where we belong. We want to keep our heritage and our way of life.

We must preserve racial and religious harmony. Though many races, religions, languages and cultures, we pursue one destiny.

We must uphold meritocracy and incorruptibility. This means opportunity for all, according to their ability and effort.

No one owes Singapore a living. We must find our own way to survive and prosper.

We must ourselves defend Singapore. No one else is responsible for our security and well-being.

We have confidence in our future. United, determined and well-prepared, we shall build a bright future for ourselves. (MOE, 2007, p. 7)

Distinct learning outcomes were delineated for the three academic levels in the national school system: Love Singapore (primary level), Know Singapore (secondary level) and Lead Singapore (pre-university level). These learning outcomes formed the basis around which citizenship education programmes were developed for the different academic levels. Within the formal curriculum, the primary social studies syllabus was revised and taught from Primary One instead of from Primary Four. At the upper secondary level, social studies was implemented in 2001 as one half of a new subject known as combined humanities. By making the subject compulsory and included in the high-stakes General Certificate of Education “O” level examinations, the MOE signalled the importance placed on it. The implementation of social studies can be seen as a serious attempt to address the problem of young Singaporeans’ lack of knowledge and interest in Singapore’s recent history and issues that were deemed key to its survival.

Social studies education in Singapore 67 Some degree of a more progressive approach to citizenship education can be seen in the aims of the new upper secondary social studies curriculum. Among the aims were: instilling in students “a sense of national identity as well as global awareness” and equipping them with “skills of independent enquiry and critical thinking” (MOE, 2001, p. 1). The new assessment mode was aligned to these aims as it required students to construct explanations and interpret or evaluate sources of information. Such critical literacy skills are necessary for developing a more thinking citizenry. These were moves in the right direction and were clearly a response to the demands of globalization and a new economic paradigm in Singapore. Curriculum content, however, was still conservative, focusing on development of a traditional national citizenship rather than a global one, in spite of the stated objectives of instilling global awareness. The subject matter of the 2001 and the subsequent revised 2006 social studies focused on knowledge of national issues related to the historical, economic and social development of Singapore and regional and international issues that may impact the nation (MOE, 2001). Because the content was organized around the six NE messages, many students expressed disinterest and “cynicism at what they felt was ‘propaganda’” (MOE, 2007, p. 4). This is unsurprising since the messages were presented as slogans or jingles and evoked ideas of indoctrination and hype. Such cynicism was worsened by the perception of a continued stress on a sense of shared crisis through the study of issues and challenges faced by Singapore and other countries. Topics such as civil unrest in Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka appeared to be warnings about the potential dangers and pitfalls in plural societies so that students would become more conscious of Singapore’s limitations and vulnerabilities. It should be noted that NE was launched in the same year as the “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation” (TSLN) initiative. TSLN aimed at equipping the young with critical and creative thinking skills needed in a knowledge-based economy. Baildon and Sim (2010) have pointed out the dialectical tension between NE and TSLN. On the one hand, TSLN seeks to prepare the young for a knowledge-based economy in a globalized world through developing their critical and creative thinking. On the other hand, NE tends towards parochialism in emphasizing convergent thinking and development of a local nationalism. This also underscores Kennedy’s (2012) assertion that while nations may recognize the powerful influences of globalization, there is a pushback or resistance against such influences as very often national values and national loyalties are seen to be more crucial for citizens. At the primary level, the approach differed from that of secondary social studies. The goal of NE at the primary level was to engage students’ affective domain – to love Singapore. Unlike secondary social studies which aimed at developing students’ knowledge, the infusion of NE into primary social studies focused on inculcating “correct values and attitudes” and the development of a sense of belonging and rootedness to the nation. Social harmony and appreciation for ethnic diversity in Singapore and the need for creative solutions to Singapore’s resource constraints were also emphasized (MOE, 1997). Although the 1997 TSLN vision of producing critical and creative thinkers was also reflected in the aims of the revised


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syllabuses of 1999 and 2005, the changes in the content and objectives were rather more cosmetic than real. Many of the learning outcomes specified in the syllabus for individual grade levels centred on the affective domain, and although thinking skills were highlighted, they tended to be couched in general terms such as “brainstorm creative solutions to problems” (MOE, 2005, p. 11) and “consider advantages and disadvantages of a solution to a problem” (MOE, 2005, p. 13). The curricular focus was still on knowledge of Singapore’s history, geography and economic activities, with stress on understanding and learning “lessons from social issues, challenges and constraints facing Singapore” (MOE, 1999, p. 2). In the struggle between convergent and critical thinking, the former seemed to be more imperative, and developing a sense of parochial national identity triumphed over the need for thinking citizens.

New directions in citizenship education: developing the informed, concerned and participative citizen By the turn of the century, a change in the approach and goals of citizenship education was discernible. This change can be attributed to two important developments in the MOE. Firstly, in 1997, the MOE had developed a set of desired outcomes of education which were later broadened into a framework of 21st century competencies and outcomes, comprising a suite of desired core values and competencies that were deemed essential to prepare the young for new challenges in the future (MOE, 2020a). According to this framework, the envisioned product of the education system is a confident person, self-directed learner, active contributor and concerned citizen. Three sets of core competencies were highlighted as essential for a globalized world. These were civic literacy, global awareness and cross-cultural skills; critical and inventive thinking and communication, collaboration and information skills. Secondly, NE was reviewed in 2007 and a revised “Head, Heart, Hands” framework for NE was proposed as a more integrated approach to developing the outcomes of “Love, Know and Lead” Singapore (MOE, 2007). This framework would encapsulate the outcomes of loving, appreciating and belonging (Heart), knowing, thinking and understanding (Head) and contributing, creating and leading (Hands). The NE review spawned a major review of social studies and other humanities curricula across the academic levels. There was a serious attempt to streamline and align curricula content in the social studies, history and geography subjects across primary, secondary and junior college levels. Social studies curricula for primary and secondary levels were revised and closely aligned to the new NE framework and the 21st century competencies. Emphasis is now placed on developing the child into a confident person, a self-directed learner, an active contributor and a concerned citizen. There is a clear statement of the purpose of social studies as being to help “students to become citizens contributing towards a democratic society” (MOE, 2016, p. 14). This articulation of a democratic citizenship is a significant change in the goal of citizenship education. The envisioned democratic citizen is an informed, concerned and participative person, and the syllabuses

Social studies education in Singapore 69 clearly detail the qualities of each of these three citizenship attributes (MOE, 2011, 2016). There is obvious acknowledgement of the challenges of globalization and the need for citizens to develop the skills and dispositions demanded of an increasingly interconnected world. Greater emphasis is placed on and there is more detailed elucidation of critical-thinking, perspective-taking, problem-solving and decision-making skills in the syllabuses. Inquiry is the recommended teaching approach and touted as crucial preparation for 21st century living as well as enabling quality decision-making in citizens. The new approach “necessitates that the classroom is transformed into an interactive learning community where there are well-facilitated discussions showcasing multiple perspectives that accurately illustrate the complexity of various issues” (MOE, 2016, p. 14). Although the aims are progressive and show a distinct change in the envisioned citizen from law-abiding, morally upright citizens to “informed, concerned and participative citizens, competent in decision-making with an impassioned spirit to contribute responsibly to the society and world they live in” (SEAB, 2016, p. 2; MOE, 2020b, p. 5), the curriculum content of the most recent syllabuses continue to be traditional with emphasis on the vulnerability of Singapore, constraints due to the lack of natural resources, the need for social cohesion and the responsibility of everyone to contribute to the survival of the nation state. This is especially evident at the primary level, where the focus continues to be on learning about Singapore’s diverse communities; Singapore’s history, limitations and challenges and the contributions of its pioneers and political leaders with the objective of developing appreciation for Singapore, for the harmony that exists amidst diversity and the contributions of the leaders of independent Singapore. The content at secondary level allows for more inquiry and exploration with the selection of three important issues: exploring citizenship and governance; living in a diverse society and being part of a globalized world (SEAB, 2016). Unfortunately, the focus questions of these issues need to be better framed for open inquiry and more fruitful discussions. For example, the inquiry focus of living in a diverse society is “Is harmony achievable?” and for being part of a globalized world is “Is it necessarily good?” (SEAB, 2016, p. 3). Such questions are convergent, leading to predetermined answers and do not invite open and genuine inquiry. It would be difficult to achieve the stated aims of the syllabus if students were to explore the issues using such inquiry questions. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the responsibilities and obligations of a citizen in “working for the good of society”, “promoting and maintaining harmony in a diverse society” and appreciating the “complex decision-making process behind responses towards the impacts of globalisation” (SEAB, 2016, p. 3). Hence while the goals are praiseworthy, the content continues to be rather traditional. The recent social studies syllabuses seem to be old wine in new wineskins. There is recognition of a need to use a more progressive and liberal approach to citizenship education and educate the young to become more democratic, empowered and global citizens. It is obvious, however, that curriculum designers continue to struggle with creating a framework with content that would reconcile the tensions between a traditional curriculum aimed at preserving national


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interests and developing a localized national identity and a progressive one to meet the challenges of a new global world.

Conclusion Citizenship education is an enterprise carried out to a larger or lesser extent by all nations. The need to develop in citizens a national identity and a sense of belonging exists in every country. Singapore is no different. In the early 1960s, the challenge of nation building and creating a shared identity was even greater as it was a fledgling nation, comprising a largely immigrant and multicultural populace. Many who were here at that time did not regard this place as their homeland. The government therefore approached citizenship education in terms of moulding the citizens into a “national pattern”. For many years, that “national pattern” as seen in the various social studies curricula appears to be that of an obedient, lawabiding, contributing citizen who is aware of the vulnerabilities and constraints of Singapore and will therefore not cause any problems by questioning, criticizing or upsetting the status quo. The approach of social studies was one of cultural transmission with emphasis on the knowledge, skills, behaviours and values perceived as necessary by the Singapore government. The first semblance of change appeared towards the end of the 20th century, when the new social studies syllabus showed recognition of the need to prepare its citizens for the challenges of globalization in the 21st century. Among the skills highlighted in the 1997 TSLN vision as requisite for the new millennium was that of critical and creative thinking. The changes in the content and objectives of the social studies syllabuses to educate citizens to become critical and creative thinkers, however, were rather more cosmetic than real. It was only after the 2007 review of National Education that a slight shift away from a didactic cultural transmission approach to a more liberal democratic approach, emphasizing critical thinking in citizenship education was discernible. Among the recommendations by the NE review committee, one that stands out is that of providing opportunities for students to explore and discuss different perspectives before arriving at their own informed conclusions regarding issues concerning Singapore (MOE, 2007). This was obviously a response to charges of propaganda and a recognition of the need for a more thinking citizen as envisioned in the TSLN initiative. A caveat in the NE recommendation, however, was that a common set of fundamental values should be the foundation upon which such discussions were made. A common set of fundamental values is useful for ensuring social identity, but if they became “sacred cows”, these may not be helpful in raising thoughtful and informed criticisms of policies and issues. Having such a caveat may work against genuine and open inquiry and discussion which will be essential for social transformation. The clear descriptions of the informed, concerned and participative citizen found in the more recent social studies curriculum documents signal a distinct shift away from the conception of a conforming citizen to that of a thoughtful social reformer. The focus of the curriculum content at the different grade levels

Social studies education in Singapore 71 may still be wanting in really achieving the ideals as set out in the general aims, but it is still a positive beginning. The challenges of globalization, the speed at which technology is changing and the demands of a new economy cannot be ignored. Future curriculum designers will have to be more deliberate in ensuring that the goals of developing reflective and thinking citizens are distinctly reflected in the content, skills and attitudes of the syllabus at every grade level. A new conceptualization of what is perceived as prerequisite knowledge and values for developing a sense of belonging is needed. The focus on developing a sense of shared crisis by harping on Singapore’s limited resources, vulnerabilities as a culturally diverse society, the emphasis on learning about the cultures of the dominant races (Chinese, Malay, Indian and others) and the self-adulation of how far Singapore has come despite the challenges need to be reviewed. Some of these old “sacred cows” may have to be discarded and greater focus placed on allowing the development of critical thinking skills through inquiry and examining issues through multiple lenses. It may take some time for this to happen as this requires changes in beliefs and mindsets. It will also take time for educators to be comfortable with using an inquiry or discovery approach. They will need to develop skills in facilitating discussions of controversial issues, engaging pupils in more reflective thinking about the “sacred cows” and accepted norms and practices in Singapore as well as equipping pupils with skills to take social action. There is still some way to go to achieve the goal of educating democratic citizens for social transformation, but this is essential for Singapore’s continued survival and development.

Note 1 Students were given the option to take one of six religious knowledge subjects. These were Hindu studies, Islamic religious knowledge, Bible knowledge, Sikh studies, Buddhist studies and Confucian ethics. Although Confucian ethics is not a religion, it was offered as an alternative to any student who did not wish to study any of the other five religious knowledge subject options.

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Social studies curriculum in Thailand A contested terrain Thithimadee Arphattananon

Introduction In May 2014, a military coup d’état, which proclaimed it was putting an end to the political unrest and restoring order in the country, was staged in Thailand. In 2015, the Fine Arts Department in the Ministry of Culture published a history book in which the junta leader and his military government were lauded as the promoters of “true democracy” in Thailand (Prachathai, 2018). In April 2018, a dispute erupted between pro-democracy groups and textbook authorities; the former argued that the content about the junta leader in the book was not a fact but propaganda and asked for the removal and destruction of the textbook (Kongrut, 2018). Disputes over narratives in history textbooks such as this have recurred several times since social studies became a school subject in Thailand. In 2011, the history textbook which described a series of prolonged protests between pro-democracy red shirts and royalist yellow shirts in Thailand as part of the development of Thailand’s democracy was published by the Education Department of Bangkok Archdiocese. The red-shirt protestors accused the textbook producers of a one-sided depiction of their actions as anti-democratic while omitting those of the yellow-shirt protesters (Raksaseri, 2011). As a result, the controversial content was removed from the textbook. Another major textbook dispute was the omission of content in social studies textbooks about the massacre of student activists in 1976. Regarding this incident as a milestone in Thailand’s democratic movement, activists and the progressives have been asking for the inclusion of the incident in social studies textbooks (Khaosod, 2013). Compared to other school subjects, social studies is arguably more often the target of heated debate. Social studies, which is taught in primary and secondary schools, encompasses a broad knowledge base which draws on a wide range of disciplines such as history, geography, economics, political science and sociology. Thus, unlike well-defined subjects with fixed boundaries such as mathematics and science, social studies, with its eclectic disciplinary base, invites wider interpretation, debate and argument regarding its purposes, definition and content (Stanley, 2001). Moreover, because social studies plays an important role in shaping students’ behaviour, sending moral messages and passing on national culture and values, the subject is open to multiple interpretation, making it a target of

Social studies curriculum in Thailand 75 political attack, manipulation and fragmentation. Many times, social studies is used by the state apparatus to indoctrinate students with national ideology, values and belief systems. Although this happens with other subject areas such as language arts or even mathematics, the social studies curriculum is far more often used to legitimate state power (Batra, 2010; Horwitz, 2010). This makes the social studies curriculum a contested terrain, where different versions of history are pitched, different political ideologies are contested and different values are prioritized. As knowledge is not neutral but selected by those who are in power, we observe in the social studies curriculum a version of history that legitimates certain groups’ power to rule or the indoctrination of traits and values that support dominant groups’ privileged status. Scholars suggest that in the 21st century, the role of social studies is to teach children to participate actively in a democratic society and to become agents of change for a more equal world (Barton, 2016; Parker, 2008; Ross, 2017). Democracy, in this sense, is not merely a form of political governance as is taught in most social studies classes. Rather, it means a democratic way of living or engaging with other people and society. Beane and Apple (1995) define a democratic society as one that is premised on the open flow of information and ideas, the belief in individual and collective ability to resolve problems, the concern for the common interest and common good and the respect of the dignity and rights of minorities. School should be an organization that promotes these principles through its curriculum, pedagogy and all other activities. Barton (2016) suggests three ways that social studies can contribute to democratic participation. Firstly, social studies should teach students to make democratic judgments based on logic and sound reasoning, not force. Secondly, as the world becomes more and more diverse, social studies should teach students to understand the various values, cultures and perspectives of others in order to make sound judgments and decisions. Thirdly, decision-making in democratic societies should be made based on common interests, not the interests of particular groups. Parker (2008) argues that social studies should contribute towards developing in students both the knowledge and skills to participate as a democratic citizen because democratic action without a good understanding of democratic principles can lead to autocracy. In order to teach students to participate actively in a democratic society, social studies curricula should be crafted based on the common interests of people in society, not on the needs of dominant or privileged groups who only seek to maintain their power. Parker (2008) states that democratic citizens need both to know democratic things and to do democratic things. However, in reality, in many places, both the content and the pedagogy of social studies is used as a tool to reproduce the existing social order that grossly favours dominant groups. Social studies functions as part of a larger school institution which is “fundamentally authoritarian and hierarchical” (Ross, 2017, p. XX). In this chapter, the development of the social studies curriculum in Thailand is traced from the coup in 1932 that changed political governance in the country from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy until the current time. Five periods have been identified: 1) The post-coup period following changes of

76 Thithimadee Arphattananon the governance system (1932–1957); 2) The “Thai-style democracy” era (1958– 1976); 3) The pseudo-democracy regime and the 1984 (B.E. 2521) curriculum; 4) Social studies curriculum after the economic crisis (2001–2008); and 5) Social studies curriculum after the military coup (2014–present). Social studies curriculum in each period is situated within the socio-political contexts of Thailand at that time and shows how the agendas of political leaders are reflected on the social studies curriculum.

Social studies curriculum after the change of political governance (1932–1957) The year 1932 was a turning point in Thailand’s political scene as it marked the beginning of “democracy”. In June 1932, Khana Ratsadon, or directly translated as the People’s Party which comprised former UK and European educated intellectuals and military officers, staged a coup d’état to change the system of political governance in Thailand (Siam at that time) from that of an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Following the democratic system in the West where they had been educated, the group’s aim was to create a new governance system in which “people” became the focus of development. The 1932 constitution stipulated that the election of the members of parliament would be deferred for ten years after the constitution took full effect until over half of the population had completed primary education. This was premised on the belief that only educated people could make a sound and informed political decision and participate wisely in a democratic system. Thus, the provision of universal education to people in the country was listed as one of the six reform agendas of the People’s Party (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). During the absolute monarchy period, the aim of education, especially social studies education, was to unite citizens under the newly drawn borders of the country. The social studies curriculum emphasized that students understand the centralized administration system adopted at the end of the 19th century and revere the king as the leader of that system. National unity was the prevalent theme in social studies until the beginning of the 20th century. Temples and monks were used as a mechanism for teaching moral values to the people. After the system of political governance was changed, however, the aim of social studies curriculum shifted, and the main objective became to teach students to understand the meaning of “democracy” and “constitution” as well as the roles and duties of all stakeholders. This was one of the most challenging and daunting tasks as after 40 years, the former absolute monarchy system had taken root in the mindset of the people (Wangmee, 2000). When the new system was introduced, some thought that “constitution” was a person’s name. Others mistakenly thought that, from then on, they were “free” and had the right to do anything they wanted. Still others misunderstood that the new government had the same royal status as the king and duly addressed the new government using royal language (Wangmee, 2000). Besides popular media such as newspaper and radio, the government used education to familiarize people with the constitutional monarchy system. On 8 July 1932, ten days after the new government was formed, “the education committee”,

Social studies curriculum in Thailand 77 comprised of four members, was set up to draft the “National Education Plan” and oversee all “urgent matters” concerning education, one of which was to supervise the writing of the new social studies textbook (Wangmee, 2000). As a result, the new social studies textbook, Baeb Sorn Arn Naatii Ratsadorn Lem 1 (The Reading of Civic Duty Book 1), was completed within three months after the order had been given. This textbook was initially used for students who enrolled in 2nd grade and later reprinted several times and used with students enrolling in 5th, 7th and 9th grades. The new textbook explained that under the constitutional monarchy, “the constitution” was the ultimate law that defined the rights of people, as well as the structure, role and relations between the three governing entities, namely the executive, the legislative and the judiciary (Pungkanon, 2009). During this period, the “constitution” was added to the three pillars of the country – “the king”, “religion” and “the nation” (Pungkanon, 2009). The textbook further suggests that “under the constitutional monarchy, the king remained the head of the nation whose authority had to be under the law”. There “shall be a house of representatives, whose members, together with the king, oversaw the matters of the country” (Palabutr, 1932, p. 48). It is notable that the social studies textbook published during the constitutional monarchy did not emphasize that the king was a divine figure or a meritorious person who had the right to rule as the textbooks published under the absolute monarchy had done (Wangmee, 2000; Pungkanon, 2009). On the contrary, the textbook hinted at the weakness of a governance system in which one person possessed absolute power, explaining that “it was a mistake-prone system as all the decisions were made by only one or a few persons” (Palabutr, 1932, p. 47). Thus, under the constitutional system, decisions would be based on consensus (Pungkanon, 2009). It emphasized that the cooperative effort of everyone in the country, not just one or a few persons, contributed to the national stability (Palabutr, 1932). One of the important items of content that was added to the 1937 social studies curriculum, the first one after changing the system of governance, was the unit about heroes and heroines who had protected the country from invaders. It is notable that heroes and heroines described in the curriculum during this period were not limited to those from royal families as in the former curriculum but from ordinary backgrounds as well (Pungkanon, 2009). The spirit of the political revolution, which had put “the people” at the centre of the reform, began to dwindle. In 1938, Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram became prime minister and initiated cultural and ethno-nationalist projects. Twelve “Ratthaniyom” or cultural mandates that governed the behaviour of citizens were issued. In 1938, the name of the country was changed from Siam to Thailand to emphasize that it was the land of “Tai” people. Along with the change of name, other national symbols, namely the national flag and the national anthem, were also changed to arouse a sense of patriotism and to reflect the ethnocentric and nationalist policies of the government (Arphattananon, 2020). The aims of education policies reflected this ultra-nationalistic ideology. That is, schools were to educate students to love the “country” or the “nation-state”, not an individual ruler like in the previous period. In social studies, the content about heroes and heroines who had sacrificed their lives for the sovereignty of

78 Thithimadee Arphattananon the nation was emphasized. Similar to the curricula used in Japan and Germany, schools were commanded to take students to visit important historical sites as an extra curricula activity so that students appreciated how sovereignty of the Thai nation was defended. Thai flags were to be adorned in all classrooms along with images of the Buddha. History class was allocated one more hour of teaching time as it was perceived as the subject that could effectively teach patriotism to students. Fencing was added to the physical education curriculum. To show their patriotism, students were taught to buy only national products. Phibunsongkhram perceived himself to be a strong leader similar to Hitler (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). His portrait was distributed to schools throughout the country (Wangmee, 2000). One of the social studies textbooks described Thailand as geographically superior to other countries; people in the country did not have to face natural disasters like those in Japan, and the weather was not too cold compared to the weather in Western countries. During this period (1938–1944), “democracy” was less emphasized. The constitution, on the other hand, was elevated to be one of the national symbols. After the end of World War II, by using Thailand as an anti-communist base, the United States wielded increasing power and influence on Thailand. As part of the campaign against communism, many “development” projects were initiated and supported. The power of the military was strengthened, and the free-world ideology was spread (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). The philosophy of education at that time reflected the “progressivism” of the United States. The American system of dividing students into developmental stages was adopted, and the instruction methods prioritized these developmental stages instead of rote learning. International organizations, such as the UNESCO, influenced the education practices by sending experts to help with the development of education, provided grants and professional training for educators in Thailand. Individual areas of study were incorporated into a single subject, making it the first time that civil education, moral education, geography and history were subsumed under the umbrella of the “social studies” subject (Pongsomboon, 1989).

Thai-style democracy (1958–1976) In 1958, Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat staged a coup, overthrowing Phibunsongkhram and making himself prime minister. Unlike former prime ministers and members of the People’s Party who had introduced the constitutional monarchy system into Thailand, Sarit had never studied abroad. This made him perceive “democracy” as a foreign system which did not fit with the circumstances of Thailand, resulting in exploitation of the system followed by political turmoil. He used this as justification to revert to the system of absolutism which granted him ultimate ruling power (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). During his administration, Sarit annulled the 1932 constitution, dissolved political parties, revoked labour union rights and banned all public gathering for political purposes. The election of representatives at all levels was replaced by nomination (Pungkanon, 2009), and journalists who criticized the government were arrested or jailed. He

Social studies curriculum in Thailand 79 restored the notion of divine and benevolent kingship along with Buddhism as the pillars of Thai identity (Connors, 2005). As one tactic to suppress opposition, Buddhist monks were sent to the countryside, especially the northeast, to preach that people should avoid communism (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). As a strategy to combat communism, the United States provided continuous financial and technical support for numerous development projects. The social studies curriculum resonated with this political ideology. The content in social studies textbooks prioritized social order, paternalism, the unlimited power of the prime minister and the divine status of the king. On the other hand, the democratic governance system was described as having its roots in Western countries such as the United Kingdom and France around 300 years ago. The system, as described in the textbook, did not fit with the changing circumstances and with Thai culture. The content of the social studies textbook produced during 1972 criticized the overlapping duties of the Senate and House of Representatives as the ineffectiveness of democracy. It was pointed out in the textbook that the prime minister should have ultimate power in decision-making, especially during times of political unrest (Pongsomboon, 1989). The message in the social studies textbook during this period reflected government policy, which prioritized social discipline and order over freedom and the democratic participation of the people. Individual leaders with moral qualities and decisiveness were indispensable to governing the country, not civic participation. From 1958 to 1973, social studies textbooks mentioned only the nation, religion, and the king as the three symbols of Thailand, dropping “the constitution” which had been mentioned as one of the symbols in previous textbooks (Pungkanon, 2009). Instead of the checks and balances crucial to a democratic system, Buddhist teachings and righteous kingship were restored as the mechanism that would govern leaders’ ethical behaviour (Sattayanurak, 2006). The 1960 (B.E. 2503) General Education Curriculum, which was formulated after Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat became prime minister, was influenced by progressivist educational theory from the United States especially in primary education. Aiming for the holistic development of children, subject matters were merged into a unified curriculum, among which social studies was assigned to be the core. Social studies were seen as including those matters that could cultivate patriotism in children through the teaching of history and an emphasis on national identity and national symbols (Mascharoen, 1990). By the end of the 1960s, students had begun to protest and demonstrate against American imperialism and the corrupted and repressive government. On 14 October 1973, the demonstration escalated and resulted in the mass killing of students. As a consequence, the military leaders were finally ousted. In the following years, peasants and workers joined forces with students to demonstrate in support of social justice and the restoration of a constitutional democracy (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). A series of protests was organized to demand political reform and fair treatment for both workers and farmers. The movement turned into a battle of ideologies: right wing versus left wing. The brutal Thammasat University massacre on 6 October 1976 put a painful end to the leftist movement and instigated the collapse of the repressive military regime (Connors, 2005). Remarkably, the

80 Thithimadee Arphattananon democratic participation of students, workers and peasants and the massacre of students in the 1970s remains completely absent in social studies textbooks.

The pseudo-democracy regime and the 1984 (B.E. 2521) curriculum From the early 1980s, political liberalization was the order of the day. From 1979, the elected parliament was restored, and new players such as businessmen entered Thailand’s political scene. Although the military retained power and filled the majority of ministerial positions, the proportion of businessmen as members of parliament gradually increased (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). Apart from two military coups – one unsuccessful and one successful – the two decades of 1980s and 1990s were the periods during which parliamentary politics progressed and prime ministers were civilians. The House of Representatives became more powerful after it was stipulated that the president of the National Assembly had to come from the House of Representatives, not the Senate. In 1995, a constitution drafting committee was formed, and for the first time, public hearings were included as part of the constitution drafting process. The 1997 Constitution is said to be a very progressive one with the inclusion of citizens’ rights and the decentralization of political power to local government. Globalization opened the way for foreign firms and investment from foreign countries into Thailand. As a result, during 1980s and 1990s, the GDP of the country increased fivefold compared to previous decades (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005). The role of King Rama IX in rural development and in polity was strengthened. Royal projects aimed at eradicating poverty in rural parts of the country were initiated, and royal news, featuring the king’s activities in these projects, was aired daily on national television and radio. The king’s influence in politics was clear when his intervention put an end to a bloody standoff between the people and the military government in May 1992. The king’s birthday speeches became politically significant as they gave direction to the development of the country and subtly hinted at political matters. The National Identity Office was established to re-emphasize the triad of “nation, religion and monarchy” as symbols of national identity. The National Identity Office worked towards the re-affirmation of the relationship between the monarch and democracy by emphasizing that democratic governance system in Thailand was “democracy with the king as head of the state” (Connors, 2005, p. 531). Political liberalization during this period opened a space for the re-interpretation of Thai-ness to include the cultures of those on the periphery and local cultures. Progressive thinkers, public intellectuals and civil society organizations were able to participate in activities concerning human rights, the environment and the cultural rights of socially marginalized groups (Connors, 2005). Content in the social studies textbook approved during this period echoed the political ideology of the country. The textbook emphasized that the kings had strongly supported democracy and worked to facilitate the smooth transition towards the new governance system. In 1932 when the People’s Party staged a

Social studies curriculum in Thailand 81 revolution to change the system of governance from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, the king had already planned to bestow a constitution on his people (Pungkanon, 2009). The textbook stated that the imposition of a constitutional monarchy by the People’s Party before the Thais were ready attributed to the cessation of progress towards democracy in Thailand.

Social studies curriculum after the economic crisis (2001–2008) In 1997, an economic crisis dubbed the “Tom Yum Kung Crisis”, triggered by the floating of the Thai baht and the collapse of the financial sectors hit Thailand hard. As a lesson learned from the crisis, King Rama IX reminded people of his sufficiency economy philosophy: self-reliance and sufficiency rather than excessive production and consumption. The King’s sufficiency principles were practised by organizations in several sectors, especially schools. Along with this philosophy came a renewed interest in Thai culture, Thai identity and the “Thaiway-of-life” (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2005, p. 257) to counterbalance the forces of globalization that were believed to be the cause of the economic collapse. Local wisdom and local cultures were emphasized as resources that Thais should respect and exploit. In 2001, Thaksin Shinawatra, a successful business tycoon became prime minister. Thaksin and his political party “Thai Rak Thai” – translated as Thai loves Thai – was supported by business conglomerates, activists from civil society organizations and public intellectuals. He was seen as the one who could help rescue the ailing economy. In order to tide itself over the economic crisis, the Thai government had to rely on financial loans from the international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). One condition for these loan packages was that Thailand reform its lumbering bureaucracy by decentralizing decision-making powers to the local authorities. In education, although the ideas to reform the education system in Thailand had been proposed by educators and technocrats, the economic crisis of 1997 gave impetus to overhaul of the education system (Fry, 2002). Reforms in education affected every aspect: educational administration, pedagogy, curriculum and educational finance. In 1999, the National Education Act, which provided a legal framework for the reforms, was promulgated. In line with recommendations from the World Bank and the IMF, the education reforms aimed to streamline the education system by devolving decision-making powers in academic affairs, personnel and budgeting from the Ministry of Education to local schools and communities. The reforms were based on the principle of “unity in policy and diversity in practices”, which was believed to respond to the needs and circumstances of people in the local community better than the centralized system (Arphattananon, 2005). A local curriculum and child-centred instruction methods were introduced as part of the reforms. The 2001(B.E. 2544) curriculum was designed so that the Ministry of Education determined the basic core curriculum with learning key

82 Thithimadee Arphattananon competencies and learning standards for each grade level, and schools were to formulate “the school curriculum” with input from local community such as local culture and local wisdom. The school board, whose members comprised stakeholders in the community, was to help schools decide on the content of the local curriculum. People who embodied local wisdom such as priests, community development leaders and community intellectuals were invited to teach and share their wisdom in schools. Since the formulation of the local curriculum was based on a democratic process of participation among people at the school and community levels, it was hoped that the process could lead to a renewed interpretation of the knowledge from the centre. In reality, however, the curriculum formulated by local schools was static in its portrayal of local culture, being mostly in the form of local cuisine, occupations and crafts rather than discussing the struggles of people in the community against hegemonic powers (Jatuporn, 2019). The local curriculum, thus, functioned to support rather than challenge knowledge from the centre.

Social studies curriculum after the military coup: the return of nationalism In 2006, Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by a military coup on grounds of corruption. Later, in 2008, while in exile, he was found guilty as charged and sentenced to a two-year jail term. A series of political clashes ensued among a polarized populace: red shirts supporting Thaksin and yellow shirts opposing him. In May 2014, General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, staged a coup and immediately formed the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to put an end to the political turmoil that had crippled Thailand’s socio-political and economic progress for almost ten years. Soon after, in July 2014, General Prayuth issued 12 core Thai values as the code of conduct that Thai people should follow in order to build a strong nation (National News Bureau of Thailand, n.d.). The 12 core values were designed to strengthen Thailand’s three overarching pillars: “nation, religion and the king”. A “good” Thai citizen, according to those core values, was one who adhered to the Buddhist teachings by being moral, generous and faithful, was always restrained in their greed and ashamed of sinful acts. The core values further emphasized that Thai people should follow the teachings of King Rama IX, especially his sufficiency economy philosophy and sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the country and preserve Thai culture and Thai values such as gratitude to their parents and the elderly. The 12 core values maintained the status quo through an emphasis on obedience to authority, seniority and the elderly rather than challenging them. The 12 core values were integrated into the 5-year plan of the Ministry of Education (2017–2021) and were immediately passed down to schools. Children had to recite the 12 core values every day, either in class or during the morning assembly (Na Mahachai, 2014). Posters and placards depicting the 12 core values were produced and distributed to schools (Figure 6.1). Popular film directors, singers and songwriters were commissioned to produce short films and songs

Social studies curriculum in Thailand 83

Figure 6.1 Display of the 12 core values in the classroom

to promote the 12 core values to the general public (National News Bureau of Thailand, n.d.). The Ministry of Education organized a series of professional development sessions to train 20,000 teachers to integrate the 12 core values into classroom teaching.

84 Thithimadee Arphattananon

Figure 6.1 (Continued)

In accordance with the issuance of the core national values, the NCPO suggested that the Ministry of Education revise its social studies curriculum so that students could learn more about their civic duty and better appreciate Thailand’s historical roots. In history class, it was proposed that students learn more about the heroes and heroines who dedicated their lives to protect the sovereignty of the country. Students should also be taken to visit historical sites so that they would appreciate the sacrifices made by the national heroes and heroines. This, hopefully, would make students become more patriotic in fighting against corrupt politicians (Thongnoi, July 2014). The Ministry of Education put greater

Social studies curriculum in Thailand 85 emphasis on social studies education by allocating 40 class hours per academic year for each grade level. The issuance of the 12 core values by General Prayuth is reminiscent of the period when Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram imposed 12 cultural mandates to govern the behaviour of Thai people. His restoration and re-affirmation of the three national identities – the nation, religion and the king – and his use of history and the social studies curriculum to build nationalism also resembles the strategies used by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat in the 1960s (Thongnoi, 2014). In June 2015, General Prayuth ordered the Ministry of Culture in cooperate with the Public Relations Department to produce print media that represented the greatness of Thai culture and the intelligence and wisdom of the Thai kings and their benevolence towards the Thai people. In October 2015, the Ministry of Culture published 10,000 volumes of the book, Thai History, and distributed them to schools and public libraries throughout the country. The book provoked protests among pro-democracy groups who considered the content as a glorification of General Prayuth himself as junta leader and promoter of democracy in Thailand. The Ministry of Culture later had to stop the promotion and distribution of the book. General Prayuth Chan-Ocha went on to win the 2019 election and controversially became the official Prime Minister of Thailand.

Students’ democratic movement In July 2020, just after the government had lifted the state of emergency to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, students’ demonstrations against the dictatorial regime broke out across the country. Student activists exploited social media such as twitter and Facebook, which they were so adroit at using, to bring together student groups and organize demonstrations (Maneechote & Satrusayang, 2020). Adorned with symbolic white ribbons and raising three-finger salutes from the movie Hunger Games, student protesters confronted school authorities by refusing to sing the national anthem or paying tribute to the national symbols. Reports of students being punished by school authorities as a result of such “defiant” acts surfaced in the news and media (Ashworth, 2020). In September 2020, students held rallies at the Ministry of Education where they debated with the Minister for Education regarding the oppressiveness of the education system and demanded education reform. Seeing that the previous election in 2019 as undemocratic and favourable for General Prayuth and his political party to win, student activists demanded a new election and a redrafting of the Constitution.

Conclusion Social studies scholars emphasize that in the 21st century, social studies should teach students not only academic skills and social skills but also the right attitudes to function as democratic citizens (Barton, 2016). In the 21st century,

86 Thithimadee Arphattananon students should learn to know democracy and to practise democracy (Parker, 2008). Upon reviewing the evolution of the social studies curriculum in Thailand from 1932 to the present, however, it is evident that the social studies curriculum in Thailand has been used by state apparatuses to inculcate in the young the political agenda of those who were and are in power (von Feigenblatt, Sutthichujit, Shuib, Keling, & Ajis, 2010). In historiographical narration, the depiction of those from neighbouring countries, especially Myanmar (formerly Burma) as perpetual enemies of Thailand and the Thai heroes and heroines who fought against these “enemies”, has been repeatedly used as a means to arouse nationalism (Chutintaranond, 1992). This has also created a sense of ethnocentrism and parochialism among Thai people, who often believe that they are superior to those from the neighbouring countries (Kaewmala, 2013). Scholars suggest that social studies education in Thailand should empower students to be critical citizens who can think independently and participate actively in a democratic society, inside and outside their immediate society. Ironically, social studies education in Thailand has achieved that aim by doing exactly the opposite; by repeatedly teaching only a one-sided and narrow version of history and imposing oppressive discipline, schools have now pushed students to mobilize themselves to fight for their own rights.

Bibliography Arphattananon, T. (2005). Decentralization of education in Thailand: How power, information, knowledge, and rewards were devolved to the OESAs and how the OESAs responded to the decentralization policy (Unpublished Dissertation). University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI. Arphattananon, T. (2020). “But we have never been colonised”: Decolonising the curriculum in Thailand. Research Intelligence, 142(Spring), 22–23. Ashworth, C. (2020, August 19). Student activists to rally at Thai Ministry of Education. The Thaiger. Retrieved from student-activists-to-rally-at-thai-ministry-of-education Baker, K., & Phongpaichit, P. (2005). A history of Thailand. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Barton, K. C. (2016). Social studies in the primary grades: Preparing students for democratic participation. In M. Olson & S. I. Aldenmyr (Eds.), SO – undervisning pa mellanstadiet: Forskning och praktik (13–29). Malmo, Sweden: Gleerups Utbildning AB. Batra, P. (2010). Contested terrain of school social science. Learning Curve, 15, 10–15, Azim Premji Foundation. Retrieved from file:///F:/SocialStudiesinSEBook/Contested_Terrain_of_School_Social_Scien.pdf Beane, J. A., & Apple, M. W. (1995). The case for democratic schools. In M. W. Apple & J. A. Beane (Eds.), Democratic schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Chutintaranond, S. (1992). The image of the Burmese enemy in Thai perceptions and historical writings. Journal of the Siam Society, 80(1), 89–103. Connors, M. (2005). Ministering culture: Hegemony and the politics of culture and identity in Thailand. Critical Asian Studies, 37(4), 523–551.

Social studies curriculum in Thailand 87 Fry, G. W. (2002). The evolution of educational reform in Thailand. Paper presented at the 2nd International Forum on Education Reform, September 2–5, 2002. Office of the National Education Commission, Bangkok, Thailand. Horwitz, A. (2010). Building tomorrow citizens: A brief survey of social science education across the globe. Learning Curve, 15, 48–51, Azim Premji Foundation. Retrieved from file:///F:/SocialStudiesinSEBook/Contested_Terrain_of_ School_Social_Scien.pdf Jatuporn, O. (2019). The cultural politics in local curriculum: An introductory essay on critical studies in rural education. Mekong-Salaween Civilization Studies Journal, 10(1), 92–118. Kaewmala. (2013, July 22). Thogchai: Thai-style history education makes Thai ignorant and narcissistic. Prachatai. Retrieved from node/3649 Khaosod. (2013, October 7). Activists urges textbooks to include “Oct 6” massacre. Khaosod English. Retrieved from 1381149424/ Kongrut, A. (2018, April 19). Activist: “Prayut as democracy hero” book a lie. Bangkok Post. Retrieved from activist-prayut-as-democracy-hero-book-a-lie Maneechote, P., & Satrusayang, C. (2020, July 20). Student protests break out across the country after Bangkok rally; students attempting to organize nationwide. Thai Enquirer. Retrieved from Mascharoen, W. (1990). Social studies textbooks and political socialization during Field Marshal Srisdi Dhanarajata’s regime: A case study of the security of the nation, religion and monarchy (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Na Mahachai, S. (2014, September 17). Students to recite 12 core values of the nation daily. The Nation. Retrieved from National News Bureau of Thailand. (n.d.). The twelve core values for a strong Thailand. Retrieved from Palabutr, S. (1932). Baeb Sorn Arn Naatii Ratsadorn Lem 1 [The reading of civic duty Book I]. Phra Nakorn, Bangkok: Wat Sungwej Printing School. Parker, W. C. (2008). Knowing and doing in democratic citizenship education. In L. S. Levstik & C. A. Tyson (Eds.), Handbook of research in social studies education (65–80). New York: Routledge. Pongsomboon, C. (1989). Development of social studies textbook at the secondary education level in Thailand (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Education, Bangkok, Thailand. Prachathai. (2018, April 18). New history textbook claims NCPO established true Thai democracy. Prachathai. Retrieved from node/7716 Pungkanon, K. (2009). Indoctrinated democratic ideology in high school social subject textbook (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Raksaseri, K. (2011, April 9). Red complaints lead to textbook revisions. The Nation, 1A. Ross, W. E. (2017). Rethinking social studies: Critical pedagogy in pursuit of dangerous citizenship. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

88 Thithimadee Arphattananon Sattayanurak, S. (2006). The construction of mainstream thought on “Thai-ness” and the “truth” constructed by “Thai-ness.” Fah Diew Kan, 3(4). Bangkok: Same Sky Books. Stanley, W. B. (2001). Social studies: Problems and possibilities. In W. B. Stanley (Ed.), Critical issues in social studies research for the 21st century (1–13). Connecticut: Information Age Publishing. Thongnoi, J. (2014, July 20). Fall into line, youngsters. Bangkok Post. Retrieved from von Feigenblatt, O. F., Sutthichujit, V., Shuib, Md. S., Keling, M. F., & Ajis, M. N. (2010). Weapons of mass assimilation: A critical analysis of the use of education in Thailand. Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, 1(2), 292–311. Wangmee, P. (2000). Thai state and political socialization through textbooks 1932–1944 (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Social studies as citizenship transmission in Indonesian schools Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

The historical-epistemological pillars of social studies The development of social studies ideology cannot be separated from the role of the United States as a country with a significant academic reputation. The first epistemological milestone for social studies is in the form of a definition put forward by Edward Bruce Wesley “Social Studies are simplified social sciences for pedagogical purposes” (Barr, Bath, & Shermis, 1977, pp. 1–2). This definition was subsequently standardized as reported by Barr et al. (1977): “the Social Studies comprised of those aspects of history, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, geography, and philosophy which in practice are selected for instructional purposes in schools and colleges” (p. 2). Based on these definitions, social studies reflects aspects of history, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy selected to learn in schools and colleges. The initial definition of social studies suggests: (1) social studies are disciplines derived from social sciences or “an offspring of the social sciences” (Welton & Mallan, 1988, p. 14); (2) these disciplines were developed for learning purposes, at both schools and colleges; (3) aspects of each social science discipline need to be selected according to the learning objectives. Although there has been an initial definition, the subsequent development of social studies was wracked by uncertainty, especially in the period 1940–1970. As Edgar Bruce Wesley reported, social studies have long suffered from conflicting definitions, overlapping functions, and philosophical confusion. The situation is considered to have caused uncertainty, disconnection, unity, and lack of progress. During this period, social studies went through a challenging period (Barr et al., 1977, p. iv). In the period 1940–1950, social studies came under attack from almost all directions, which revolved around the question of whether social studies should instill values and attitudes toward the younger generation. This issue arose as one of the effects of a prolonged Civil War, which gave rise to demands for schools to teach the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to participate in a democratic society. The demand led to the emergence of efforts to emphasize the importance of teaching history, in the form of historical facts, American institutional government, and detailed analysis of the American constitution. At that time, the


Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

learning process strongly emphasized the learning of separate social science subjects, factual information memorization, and uncritical transmission of selected cultural values (Barr et al., 1977, p. 35). The second epistemological milestone for social studies took place in the 1960s when an academic movement emerged, which saw a social studies revolution sponsored by historians and social scientists. The two scientific groups were captivated by social studies, partly due to the federal government at the time providing enormous funds for curriculum development. The academic movement is known as the “the new social studies”. However, until the 1970s, the idea of “the new social studies” had not become a full reality. The issues that have continued to affect social studies related to indoctrination, conflicting learning objectives, and disputes regarding learning content (Barr et al., 1977, p. 46). As seen as a whole in the period 1940–1960, the most striking was the occurrence of a tug-of-war between two visions of “social studies”, namely between groups seeking to integrate various social science disciplines for “citizenship education” and other groups separating various social science disciplines which tends to weaken the concept of an integrated “social studies”. The conflict between the two camps was arguably caused by some factors. The first factor was opposing studies competitively designed to influence school curricula, especially those relating to students’ understanding and attitudes. The influence of public opinion as a result of World War II, Cold War, and Korean War was another factor. Public criticism caused by the inability to realize the idea of developing critical thinking skills in the practice of education in schools, as proposed/championed by John, also played an important role. There was a breakthrough from Maurice P. Hunt and Lawrence E. Metcalf in 1955, when they introduced a new way of integrating social science knowledge and skills into “citizenship education”. It was stated that social studies programs in schools should be organized not in the form of learning separate social sciences but oriented to issues in society, such as sex, patriotism, race, and others which were usually full of prejudice, ignorance, myths, and controversies that can be the subject of rational reflection. In this way, social studies began to be directed at efforts to teach students to be able to make decisions to solve public problems (Hunt & Metcalf, 1955). This innovation was reinforced by the idea of Shirley H. Engle who in 1960 wrote the article “Decision Making: The Heart of Social Science Instruction” which fundamentally and firmly reflected John Dewey’s ideas about critical thinking education (Engle, 2003, pp. 7–10). Another powerful pressure for change appeared in 1957, calling for efforts to reform social studies. Two factors were triggering this effort, namely the Soviet Union’s success in launching “Sputnik” (the first artificial satellite in the world) in 1957 which made the United States panic and feel it was falling behind the Soviet Union. In addition, the publication of the research of two Purdue University lecturers, namely H.H. Remmers and D.H. Randles, also known as the Purdue Opinion Poll Research with a sample of school-age children concluded:

Social studies as citizenship transmission 91 (1) only about 35 percent of young people believe that newspapers need to be allowed to publish whatever they want; (2) 34 percent believe the government needs to forbid some people from speaking; (3) 26 percent believe the police need to be allowed to search someone’s house without collater; (4) 25 percent felt some groups need not be allowed to hold meetings. The results of the study were assessed as one of the failures of “content-centered” social studies with the dominance of the “expository” approach, which at the same time hinted at the need to change social studies learning into learning oriented to “the integrated, reflective inquiry and problem solving-centered” (Barr et al., 1977, pp. 41–42). In the 1970s, social studies found new milestones by proposing new definitions and identifying social studies in three traditions. The new definition of social studies was as follows: Social Studies is an integration of social sciences and humanities for instruction in citizenship education. We emphasize “integration,” for social studies is the only field which deliberately attempts to draw upon, in an integrated fashion, the data of social sciences and the insights of humanities. We emphasize citizenship, for social studies, despite the differences in orientation, outlook, purpose, and methods of teachers are almost universally perceived as preparation for citizenship in a democracy. (Barr et al., 1978, p. 18) This defnition implied several things: (1) social studies is a system; (2) the main mission of social studies is citizenship education in a democratic society; (3) the main sources of social studies content are social sciences and humanities; (4) to prepare democratic citizens to be open to the possibility of differences in orientation and learning strategies. If seen broadly, it implies that social studies can be developed based on one tradition or a combination of two or more traditions. Each of these traditions is briefy explained in Table 7.1. The defnition of social studies and the identifcation of social studies into the three pedagogical traditions mentioned earlier can be considered as the third historical-epistemological milestone of social studies in the 1970s. In the 1980s, the development of social studies was marked by the birth of two academic documents issued by the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS), namely the Report of the National Council for Social Studies Task Force on Scope and Sequence, entitled In Search of a Scope and Sequence for Social Studies (NCSS, 1983) and A Report of the Curriculum Task Force of the National Commission on Social Studies in School, entitled Charting a Course: Social Studies for the 21st Century (NCSS, 1989). Both of these documents can be seen as the fourth and fifth historical-epistemological milestones of social studies. The status, objectives, content, and learning of social studies are briefly illustrated in Table 7.2. In 1992, the board of directors of NCSS adopted a new vision of social studies that could be called the sixth historical-epistemological milestone of social






Social Studies as Citizenship Transmission

Citizenship is best promoted by inculcating the right values as a framework for making decisions.

Content is selected by an authority, interpreted by the teacher, and has the function of illustrating values, beliefs, and attitudes.

Social Studies as Social Sciences

Citizenship is best promoted by decision-making based on mastery of social science concepts, processes, and problems.

Social Studies as Reflective Inquiry

Citizenship is best promoted through a process of inquiry in which knowledge is derived from what citizens need to know to make decisions and solve problems.

Transmission: Transmission of concepts and values by such techniques as textbook, recitation, lecture, question and answer sessions, and structured problem-solving exercise Discovery: Each of the social sciences has its method of gathering and verifying knowledge. Students should discover and apply the method that is appropriate to each social science. Reflective inquiry: Decisionmaking is structured and disciplined through a reflective inquiry process that aims at identifying problems and responding to conflict using testing insights.

Source: Based on: (Barr et al., 1977, p. 67; Kilinc, 2014, p. 415).

Proper content is the structure, concepts, problems, and processes of both separate and integrated social science disciplines. Analysis of individual citizen’s values yields needs and interests, which, in turn, form the basis for student self-selection of problems. Therefore, it constitutes the content for reflection.

Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

Table 7.1 Three Traditions of Social Studies

Table 7.2 Status, Goals, Content, and Learning of Social Studies Academic Document

Social Studies Objective



Report of the National Council for Social Studies Task Force on Scope and Sequence

Social studies is an essential subject at all levels of school education.

They were developing students to become citizens who have sufficient knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills to participate in democratic life.

A Report of the Curriculum Task Force of the National Commission on Social Studies in School

Social studies is a subject that emphasizes the role of citizens in democracy, providing consistent and cumulative learning from Kindergarten to Grade 12

(1) Civic responsibility and active participation; (2) Perspective on their life experiences; (3) A critical understanding of the history, geography, economic, political, social, institutions, traditions, and values of United States; (4) An understanding of other peoples and the unity and diversity; (5) Critical attitudes and analytical perspectives approach

Excavated and selected from history and social sciences, as well as in many ways from humanities and science The content not to be treated as things to memorize

Using ways that arouse personal awareness, society, cultural experiences, and personal experiences of students Using interactive learning process such as reading, writing, observing, debating, role play, or simulation, working with statistical data and using critical thinking skills

Source: Based on NCSS (1983, 1989).

Social studies as citizenship transmission 93



Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

studies. The statement was later published in 1994 as the official NCSS document, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standard for Social Studies. In the document, social studies was understood as: the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provided coordinated, systematic study drawing on such disciplines as anthropology, archeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an independent world. (NCSS, 1994, p. 3) NCSS curriculum standards offer a set of principles whereby content can be selected and organized to build a social studies curriculum that is feasible, valid, and can be maintained from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The standard was frst published in1994 and has been widely and successfully used as a framework for teachers, schools, districts, states, and other countries as a tool for curriculum alignment and development. Along with many changes in the world and education since the original curriculum standard was published in 2010, revisions were made in the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: A Framework for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. This revised standard refected a desire to continue and build on the expectations set in the earlier standard for useful social studies in classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12. This updated standard maintains the main emphasis of the original document and supports students to become active participants in the learning process. The revised standard offers a sharper focus than the original standard on “(1) objectives; (2) questions for exploration; (3) knowledge: what students need to understand; (4) process: what students can do; (5) products: how learners show understanding” (NCSS, 2010, pp. 3–5). The development of social studies as a field of study was built on an ontology of integrated knowledge that epistemologically has traveled a very long journey of thought driven by the NCSS. There is a continuum of social studies’ stretching from Edgar Bruce Wesley in 1935 to the latest social studies ideas from NCSS (2010). The ideology of social studies has influenced the field in other countries, including thoughts on social sciences/social science education in Indonesia.

Development of social science education thoughts in Indonesia The term social science/social science education first appeared in a national seminar on civic education in 1972 in Tawang Mangu, Central Java. In the national seminar report, three terms emerge and are used interchangeably, namely social

Social studies as citizenship transmission 95 knowledge, social studies, and social science education. These were interpreted as a study of selected social problems and developed using an interdisciplinary approach aiming to make social problems understandable by students (Winataputra, 1978, p. 42). This understanding of social science education (SSE) agreed at the Tawang Mangu national seminar is considered to be the first milestone in the development of thinking about social science education (SSE) in Indonesia. The concept of SSE first used in schools started in 1972–1973 as part of the curriculum of the Pilot School Development Project of the Teacher Training and Education Institute of Bandung (PPSP IKIP Bandung)/Pioneer School Development Project Curriculum of the Bandung Institute of Teacher Training and Education. This happened, perhaps coincidentally, some experts who became thinkers in the Tawang Mangu national seminar, namely Achmad Sanusi, Noeman Somantri, Achmad Kosasih Djahiri, and Dedih Suwardi were lecturers at IKIP Bandung (now the University Education of Indonesia – Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia). These pioneers became members of the PPSP Curriculum Development Project. In the eight-year PPSP elementary school curriculum, the term “national citizenship education/social studies” is used. The use of the term social studies seems to be influenced by the thoughts of Achmad Sanusi, who in 1972 published a manuscript entitled whose content was colored by the ideas of Leonard S. Kenworthy (1970) t in his book, Guide to Social Studies Teaching. In the four-year PPSP middle school curriculum, three terms are used: (1) social studies, as a core subject for all students and as a flagship for groups of social subjects consisting of geography, history, and economics as major subjects in the social department; (2) national citizenship education, as a core subject for all majors, and (3) civics and law, as major subjects in the department of social affairs (PPSP IKIP Bandung, 1973a, 1973b). The PPSP IKIP Bandung curriculum can be seen as a second milestone in the development of SSE ideology in Indonesia, namely the academic agreement on the entry of SSE into the school curriculum. At this stage, the concept of SSE was realized in three forms: (1) SSE integrated with the name of national citizenship education/social studies; (2) separate SSE, where the term SSE is only used as an umbrella concept for subjects in geography, history, and economics; (3) national citizenship education as a special form of SSE, which is the a concept of the US social studies tradition relating to the tradition of citizenship transmission (Barr et al., 1977). The SSE concept was subsequently adopted in the 1975 curriculum, which in many cases adopted the innovations conducted by the PPSP IKIP Bandung Curriculum. In the 1975 curriculum, SSE presents four profiles: (1) Pancasila moral education replaces the national citizenship education as a special form of SSE emboding the tradition of citizenship transmission; (2) integrated SSE for elementary schools; (3) confined SSE for junior high schools where SSE is an umbrella concept covering the subjects of geography, history and cooperative economics; (4) a separate SSE covering the subjects of history, geography, and economics for high school (SMA) or history and geography for teacher education schools (SPG) (Dep. P dan K [Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan/


Table 7.3 Purpose of Social Subjects at Senior High School Level Objective


National and General History

Instill an understanding of the development of society from the past to the present, foster a sense of nationality and love for the motherland and a sense of pride as Indonesian citizens, and broaden the horizons of community relations between nations in the world Provide knowledge of simple concepts, theories, and apply them to solve the economic problems people face critically and objectively Provides the ability to critically understand various problems that arise in daily life along with changes in society and culture, instill awareness of the need for community provisions, and be able to state themselves in various socio-cultural situations according to their state, role, number, and social values in society Provides the ability and rational attitude that is responsible for dealing with natural phenomena and life on earth and the problems that arise due to interaction between humans and their environment Provides stock to students familiar with several simple economic concepts and theories to explain facts, events, and economic problems encountered Improves the ability for students to understand the administration of the state according to the state institutional system, the judicial system, the government system, the Republic of Indonesia, and other countries Implants understanding of the interconnectedness of the cultural development of society in the past, present, and future for students to be aware of and appreciate the results and cultural values of the past and present Provides knowledge about the process of cultural occurrence, its use and manifestation in daily life; instill awareness of the need to respect the cultural values of a nation, especially the nation itself; and ultimately it is also intended to instill awareness about the role of culture in the development of society and the impact of cultural change on people’s lives

Citizenship transmission

Economics Sociology

Geography Economics (Social Program) State Administration Cultural History


Source: Ministry of Education and Culture/MOEC (1993, pp. 29–33).

Social studies taught as social science Social studies taught as social science

Social studies taught as social science Social studies taught as social science Social studies taught as social science Social studies taught as social science Social studies taught as social science

Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

Name of Subject

Social studies as citizenship transmission 97 Ministry of Education and Culture/MOEC], 1975, 1975a, 1975b, 1975c, 1976). Such SSE concepts were maintained in the 1984 curriculum. In 1994, the curriculum subject of Pancasila moral education changed its name to “Pancasila Education and Citizenship (PPKn)/Pancasila and Civic Education (PCE)”. Conceptually, these subjects are still in the field of SSE, specifically embracing the tradition of citizenship transmission with the main content of Pancasila values (Panca (Sanskrit) means five, Sila (Sanskrit) means principle. Pancasila means the five guiding principles of our nation’s life (of Indonesia) that are organized using a spiral of concept development approach (Taba, 1967) and an expanding environment approach by Paul R. Hanna (Stallones, 2002), with a starting point at each of the precepts of Pancasila. In the 1994 curriculum, PPKn became a special social subject to be followed by all elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school students. There were three forms of SSE subjects: (1) integrated SSE in elementary schools Grade 3 through Grade 6; (2) confined SSE in junior high schools to include material on geography, history, and cooperative economics; (3) a separate SSE in high school similar to the social studies tradition taught as social science (Barr et al., 1977), consisting of subjects in national history and general history, economics, geography in Grades 1 and 2; sociology in Grade 2, cultural history in Grade 3; language program; economics, sociology, state administration, and anthropology in Grade 3. Social programs have varied objectives. Based on its purpose, each social subject has varied objectives, but its essence leads to two traditions of social studies, which are briefly illustrated in Table 7.3. From 1994 to 2013, there were different curriculum changes, but PPKn remained a compulsory social subject followed by all elementary, junior high, and senior high school students. The SSE subjects are still in three forms: (1) integrated SSE in elementary schools; (2) confined SSE in junior high schools; (3) separate SSE in high school. Thus, the development of SSE ideology embodied in the school curriculum of Indonesia until the 2000s is underpinned by two concepts: firstly, SSE taught in the tradition of citizenship transmission in the form of PPKn subjects; secondly, SSE taught in the tradition of social studies taught as a social science in the form of integrated SSE in primary schools, SSE is confined in junior high school shovels, and SSE is separate in senior high schools.

Pancasila and civic education: SSE in the tradition of citizenship transmission in Indonesia Pancasila is Indonesia’s state philosophy and as such needs to be implemented and enforced by all Indonesian citizens. Pancasila is a guide for the community, nation, and state life in the context of global dynamics (Tjalla, 2019, p. 6). Based on this ideology, in the 1994 curriculum, PPKn/PCE subjects were integrated. In the previous period, the terms were used interchangeably, for example in the PPSP IKIP Bandung Curriculum (1972–1973), the term “national citizenship education/social studies” was used. In the 1975 and 1984 curriculum, the term “Pancasila moral education”. PCE was SSE taught in the tradition of citizenship


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transmission in Indonesian schools. These subjects are mandatory for all elementary, junior high, and senior high school students. According to the 1994 curriculum, PCE was defined as, subjects used as a vehicle to develop and preserve noble and moral values that are rooted in the culture of the Indonesian people. These noble and moral values are expected to be realized in the form of daily student behavior, both as individuals and as members of society and creatures created by God Almighty. (Depdikbud/MOEC, 1993) From this understanding, it can be seen that PCE belonged to the social studies tradition of citizenship transmission with values and morals derived from Indonesian culture as its content. Moreover, examining closely the purpose of PCE, which is to instill attitudes and behaviors in daily life and provide the ability to attend further education, a concept of articulation (Tyler, 1979) emerges. Articulation, in this context, means that materials taught at lower levels are progressively developed in higher levels. When Indonesia adopted the 2006 curriculum, the term PCE changed to civic education (CE). This did not last long, however, since the term CE was reverted to PCE when the 2013 curriculum came into effect. The 2013 curriculum placed several emphases: (1) placing PCE as an integral part of a group of subjects having a mission of strengthening nationality; (2) organizing competency standards, basic competencies, and indicators to strengthen the values and morals of Pancasila, the values and the 1945 Constitution/Indonesia Constitution, the values and spirit of unity in diversity, and the insights and commitments of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Besides, the 2013 curriculum strengthens student development in the dimensions of “(1) civic knowledge, (2) civic disposition, (3) civic skill, (4) civic confidence, (5) civic commitment, and (6) civic competence” (Kemdikbud, 2013, 2018). The PCE subjects are based on three missions: (1) the mission of conservation education, namely developing and preserving the noble values of Pancasila; (2) the mission of social and moral development, which is to develop and foster students who are aware of their rights and obligations, obey applicable regulations, and be virtuous; (3) the mission of socio-civic development, which is to foster students to understand and be aware of the relationships between family members, school, and community and in the life of the nation and state. From these three missions, it is clear PCE reflects the tradition of “citizenship transmission” which reflects a perennialist philosophy of education emphasizing education’s role to preserve “accepted and tested values” and philosophy of education “essentialism” which emphasizes the development of “essential values” (Brameld, 1965). In the praxis of learning, however, the mission of PCE was to provide values and moral education (Puskur, 1998), requiring a more teacher-centered learning process using the process of “inculcation” (CICED, 1999). Such conditions

Social studies as citizenship transmission 99 indicate that PCE is conceptually not coherent, in the sense of not achieving the continuity and wholeness between the conception of the objectives with the instrumentation and pedagogical praxis. One reason is due to the dominance of the principles of “psychology faculty”, which emphasizes the process of memorizing exercises to help mature the mind. This contrasts with the concept and principle of “field psychology”, which emphasizes the process of insight. Field psychology gives birth to a more meaningful learning process such as the process of problem-solving and “inquiry” (Winataputra, 2001). Based on this analysis and the development of PCE in Indonesia to date, it can be seen that there are fundamental paradigmatic weaknesses at both the conceptual and the practical level. The most prominent are weaknesses in the conceptualization of PCE, excessive emphasis on the behavioristic moral education process, inconsistency in elaborating dimensions of national education goals into the PCE curriculum, and isolation of the learning process of Pancasila moral values in the context of scientific and socio-cultural disciplines (Winataputra, 2001; Suryadi & Budimansyah, 2017). The conditions of social and political life in Indonesia during the New Order (1966–1998) influenced the practice of PCE. This meant it was less reflective of democratic civil ideals due to state agents conducting excessive political indoctrination. After the fall of the authoritarian regime, when indoctrination was no longer allowed, there was a great hope that national life would become more democratic. In the “reform” era (post-1998), the new citizenship discourse put recognition of the rights of citizens as a central issue in a democratic pluralist society. In this context, the struggle and acquisition of civil rights, human rights, and social and political justice were believed to be more easily achieved (Kalidjernih, 2001). After two decades, however, it seems this hope has not been achieved except as related to freedom of expression, where the opportunities available are far more extensive compared to opportunities in the previous authoritarian regime (Kalidjernih, 2008). On the other hand, in the era of “democratic transition”, the Indonesian people were confronted with various phenomena of public life that were genuinely concerning. The turbulent situation after the reform can be explained sociologically because it has links with social structures and cultural systems that were built in the past. Trying to read the post-1998 reform situation, some fundamental sociological symptoms are the source of various shocks in Indonesian society nowadays. First, it is a sad fact after the fall of the “autocratic” power structure of the New Order regime, it turned out that it was not that democracy was gained. Rather, it was an oligarchy where power was concentrated in a small group of elites. At the same time, the majority of the people (demos) remained far from sources of power (authority, money, law, information, education, etc.). Although the oligarchy was hatched and raised by Suharto’s New Order, it changed dramatically as the Suharto regime fell (Winters, 2013), and their control became stronger (Robinson & Hadiz, 2004). It seems all symbols considered effective in mobilizing the people are used by these small groups to force their will in the post-reform era. All this happened


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whether realized or not by the elites who were indeed suffering from “political myopia” (i.e., only oriented toward the election, not long-term goals). Thus, all the moral directions of the nation are practically controlled by small groups that tend to be partisan and primordial. Politics operates in the sense of the Machiavellian, for the accumulation of individual power resources such as wealth, position, and status is achieved through clever strategic decisions, including decisions made since planning political and economic alliances or embracing and winning votes in elections (Liddle, 2013). The results of decentralization in some areas have disappointed; corruption and money politics remain rampant, reforms in the regions are taking place, district governments remain infertile, and many other diseases abound. These pathologies were born due to the fundamental interests of “predator” groups at the local level, which were not paralyzed at the collapse of the New Order (Hadiz, 2010). On the contrary, regime change in Jakarta created new pressures for local elites to utilize as much power as delegated to them to protect their own economic and political interests (Robinson & Hadiz, 2013). As a result, decentralization did not produce the results promised by most of its supporters; some of which even revealed several empirical cases that could be explained by oligarchic-based theoretical analysis (Aspinal & Mietzner, 2010). Second, the source of various shocks in post-reform Indonesian society is the result of the emergence of socio-cultural animosity. These symptoms appear and become increasingly post-collapse after the New Order regime. When the New Order regime was successfully overthrown, the pattern of conflict in Indonesia increased. It occurred not only between fanatics of the New Order and supporters of the Reformation, but expanded into conflicts between clans, religious believers, social classes, and so on. Its nature was not vertical, between the upper classes and lower classes, but more often horizontal, between the ordinary people, for the conflicts that occur are not corrective conflicts but destructive (not functional but dysfunctional), as if Indonesia as a nation is destroying itself (selfdestroying nation). Another feature of the conflict that occurred in Indonesia is not only those that are open (manifest conflict) but even more dangerous is the hidden conflict (latent conflict) between various groups. Socio-cultural animosity is a socio-cultural hatred derived from differences in cultural characteristics and differences in a fate given by history, for there is an element of desire for revenge. This hidden conflict is latent because there are hate socialization mechanisms that take place in almost all socialization institutions in society (ranging from families, schools, villages, places of worship, media organizations, political organizations, etc.) (Budimansyah, 2011). As seen at the process integration of the Indonesian nation, the problem lies in the lack of developing natural and participatory value agreements (normative integration) and relying more on the power approach (coercive integration). Based on this reality, the ideals of reform to build a new Indonesian society should be conducted by building on the results of an overhaul of the overall order of life in the past. The core of these ideals is that a democratic civil society has

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an adaptive Indonesian character in the global era (Budimansyah, 2016, 2018). Therefore, PCE pedagogical instrumentation and praxis should produce meaningful, integrated, value-based, challenging, and activating learning processes (Budimansyah, Suharto, & Nurulpaik, 2019).

Bibliography Aspinal, E., & Mietzner, M. (Eds.). (2010). Problem of democratisation in Indonesia: Elections, institutions and society. Singapore: ISEAS. Barr, R. D., Barth, J. L., & Shermis, S. S. (1977). Defining the social studies. Arlington, VA: National Council for the Social Studies. Barr, R. D., Barth, J. L., & Shermis, S. S. (1978). The nature of social studies. California: ECT Publications. Brameld, T. B. H. (1965). Education as power. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. Budimansyah, D. (2008). Revitalisasi pembelajaran pendidikan kewarganegaraan melalui praktik belajar kewarganegaraan (Project Citizen). Jurnal Acta Civicus, 1(2), 179–198. Budimansyah, D. (2011). Penguatan pendidikan kewarganegaraan untuk pembangunan karakter bangsa. Bandung: Penerbit Widya Aksar Press. Budimansyah, D. (2016). Fundamental sociological symptoms as a source of occurrence of turbulence in Indonesian society during the post-reform. Proceeding 1st UPI International Conference on Sociology Education, 63–66. Budimansyah, D. (2018). Promoting global citizenship education, multicultural education, and civic education to a peaceful Asian community. In Towards Asian community peace through education. Tokyo: One Asia Foundation. Budimansyah, D., Suharto, N., & Nurulpaik, I. (2019). Boosting teacher’s perception and deeds in Indonesian schools for the character education to thrive. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research. Retrieved on 24 November 2020 from CICED. (1999). Democratic citizens in civil society: Report of the conference on civic education for civil society. Bandung. Departemen P dan K. (1975). Kurikulum sekolah menengah atas 1975: Buku I ketentuan pokok. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka. Departemen P dan K. (1975a). Kurikulum sekolah menengah atas 1975: Buku II bidang studi. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka. Departemen P dan K. (1975b). Kurikulum sekolah menengah pertama 1975: Buku I ketentuan pokok. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka. Departemen P dan K. (1975c). Kurikulum sekolah menengah pertama 1975: Buku II bidang studi. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka. Departemen P dan K. (1976). Buku I, Ketentuan-ketentuan Pokok, Kurikulum Sekolah dasar 1975. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka. Engle, S. H. (2003). Decision making: The heart of social studies instruction. The Social Studies, 94(1), 7–10. Hadiz, V. R. (2010). Localising post-authoritarian Indonesia: A Southeast Asia perspective. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Hunt, M. P., & Metcalf, L. E. (1955). Teaching high school social studies. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, Inc.


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Kalidjernih, F. (2005). Post-colonial citizenship education: A critical study of the production and reproduction of the Indonesian civic ideal (Ph.D. Thesis). University of Tasmania. Kalidjernih, F. K. (2008). Cita sipil Indonesia pasca-kolonial: Masalah lama, tantangan baru. Jurnal Acta Civicus, 1(2), 127–146. Kemdikbud. (1993). Kurikulum 1994 pendidikan dasar dan pendidikan menengah. Jakarta: Pusat Kurikulum. Kemdikbud. (2013a). Kurikukum 2013: Kompetensi dasar untuk SD, SMP, SMA. Jakarta: Pusat Kurikulum. Kemdikbud. (2013b). Kurikukum 2013: Revisi 2018. Jakarta: Pusat Kurikulum. Kenworthy, L. S. (1970). Guide to social studies teaching. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Co. Inc. Kilinc, E. (2014). Pre-service social studies teachers’ understandings about the nature of the social studies. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 6(3), 415–426. Liddle, R. W. (2013). Improving the quality of democracy in Indonesia. Indonesia Journal, 96, 59–80. NCSS. (1983). In search of a scope and sequence for social studies. In Report of the National Council for Social Studies Task Force on Scope and Sequence. Washington, DC: National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools. NCSS. (1989). Charting a course: Social studies for the 21st century. In A report of the Curriculum Task Force of the National Commission on Social Studies in School. Washington, DC: National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools. NCSS. (1994). Expectations of excellence: Curriculum standard for social studies. Silver Spring, MD: NCSS Publications. NCSS. (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies: A Framework for teaching, learning, and assessment. Silver Spring, MD: NCSS Publications. PPSP IKIP Bandung. (1973a). Program kirikulum studi sosial sekolah dasar pembangunan. Bandung: PPSP IKIP Bandung. PPSP IKIP Bandung. (1973b). Program kurikulum studi sosial sekolah menengah pembangunan. Bandung: PPSP IKIP Bandung. Puskur. (1998). Indonesia: Curriculum capacity project second quarterly report April– June. Jakarta: Pusat Kurikulum Kemdikbud. Robinson, R., & Hadiz, V. R. (2013). The political economy of oligarchy and the reorganizing of power in Indonesia. Indonesia Journal, 96, 35–57. Stallones, J. R. (2002). Paul Robert Hanna: A life of expanding communities. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press. Suryadi, R., & Budimansyah, D. (2017). Does teaching licensure boost student learning? Indonesia’s answer. The New Educational Review, 49(3), 261–272. Taba, H. (1967). Roundtble. In Morrissett (Ed.), Concept and structure of the new social science curricula. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Tjalla, A. (2019). Penguatan pembelajaran nilai dan moral Pancasila. Jakarta: Kemdikbud. Tyler, R. W. (1979). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Welton, D., & Mallan, J. (1988). Children and their world: Strategies for teaching social studies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Winataputra, U. S. (1978). A pilot study of the implementation of the SMA PMP curriculum in Bandung area (Unpublished MA Thesis). Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

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Winataputra, U. S. (2001). Jati diri pendidikan kewarganegaraan sebagai wahana sistematis pendidikan demokrasi (disertasi Doktor). Bandung: Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia. Winataputra, U. S., & Saripudin, S. (2011). Dinamika konseptualisasi pendidikan ilmu pengetahuan sosial (PIPS) dan pendidikan kewarganegaran (PKn) pada pendidikan dasar dan menengah, Jurnal Pendidikan, 12(1), 1–20. Winters, J. W. (2013). Oligarchy and democracy in Indonesia. Indonesia Journal, 96, 11–34. Wirutomo, P. (2001). Membangun masyarakat adab. Naskah Pidato Pengukuhan Jabatan Guru Besar tetap Dalam Bidang Sosiologi Pada Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik. Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta.


The development of social studies education in Myanmar Thaw Zin Oo

Introduction It has been pointed out that “before military rule was imposed in 1962, Myanmar’s education system was among the best in Asia” (Kende-Robb, 2017). It is now outdated and in a weak state (Haydena & Martin, 2013). For the Myanmar education system to be the best again in Asia and in the world, the current government is changing the school system including curriculum, improving teacher education, school infrastructure and so many things concerning the country’s education. These education changes started in 2011. According to the Oxford Business Group (2019), the Ministry of Education has identified five segments in the reform: Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), Basic Education, Alternative Education, Technical and Vocational Education Training and Higher Education. This chapter will focus only on social studies education as part of the reform to Basic Education. The first part of the chapter will explain the Myanmar education system briefly and the development of social studies education. The second part will highlight reforms in general with a focus on social studies education under two civilian governments involving first the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and then the Nation League for Democracy (NLD). The first two parts of the chapter will be developed based on secondary data from government websites, literature and academic articles. The final part of this chapter will be more a prediction about Myanmar social studies education with the help of scholars from the field of social studies.

Background to Myanmar The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has a long history that can be traced back at least until 200 BC. By the 11th century, an empire had been established by King Anawrahta to be replaced by the second empire of King Bayinnaung in the 16th century. Colonial encroachment from the British commenced in 1824, and by 1885 they had supplanted the last king and 60 years of colonial rule began. It was interrupted between 1942–1945 by the Japanese invasion, but the British returned in 1945. What was then Burma was given independence from British colonial rule in 1948.

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According to the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism (2020), the modern Republic of the Union of Myanmar is part of Southeast Asia, and it is a member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It shares borders with China, India, Bangladesh, Laos and Thailand and is also bordered by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Within Myanmar there are seven regions – Yangon, Mandalay, Magway, Sagaing, Bago, Ayeyarwaddy and Tanintharyi – as well as seven states – Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. There is also the Naypyidaw Union Territory, in which Myanmar’s capital city, Naypyidaw, is located. Within these broader administrative areas, there are districts, townships and wards/village tracts. According to the national census of 2014, the total population of Myanmar is 51,419,420. The government identifies eight major national ethnic races, recognizing 135 indigenous ethnic groups including Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Half of the population is made up of the Burmese people (from where the English term “Burmese” comes (Department of Population, 2014). According to the United Nation Development Program (2019), the Human Development Index for Myanmar is 0.584 and the literacy rate is 89.52 percent (United Nations Development Program, 2019).

Development of social studies education in Myanmar Social studies education has been a part of Myanmar’s education system since British colonial time. Before British colonization, there was only monastic education. Monks from monasteries in different areas taught basic writing of Myanmar languages and Buddhist literature. From the beginning of British rule, Myanmar education system shifted from monastic education to classroom education. Scholars (Salem-Gervais & Metro, 2012) pointed out that the British government introduced history and geography subjects at school level in the 19th century. In 1945, just prior to independence, Thein (2000, p. 5) explained that the British government formed the Department of Education in order to implement the Simla Scheme of Education Rehabilitation. They financed the project out of their military budget. As the first step in the Simla Scheme, they opened 2,060 primary schools and 42 post-primary schools. In 1947, the Education Reconstruction Committee, which was responsible for reviewing the education system, reported the current education situation and the proposal for its reconstruction with the aim of creating a homogeneous education system. In the report, they suggested that the whole education system of Burma should be state provided and state controlled. The report also emphasized re-designing the curriculum and the committee considered geography and history as two of the basic subjects for both primary and post-primary (Thein 2000, p. 6). Before independence, religious instruction was regarded as a social studies subject, and the Education Rehabilitation Committee integrated religious instruction, especially about Buddhism, into social studies. After independence, however, there was no consideration given to including religious instruction in schools. That happened because of the re-oriented curriculum in accordance with the new educational aims and policy which was set by the government of


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the Union of Burma led by U Nu who was the first prime minister of the then Burma. The new educational policy pointed out there were no charges for students in public schools, from the primary to university level. The school structure was KG 5–3–3. While there was no more religious instruction as part of social studies education at public schools, the government did allow Buddhist monks and other religious teachers to give instruction about religion at their respective areas, especially in monasteries and churches. In 1964, the military government enacted the Basic Education Law replacing it in 1973 and amending it in 1983 and 1998 when the government undertook basic education reforms. Curriculum reform extended to the academic year 2015–2016. The military government set up an educational long-term plan in 2001 designed to last for 30 years. Soe, Aye, Nan, & Nan (2017, p. 7) indicated that it was called the 30-Year Long Term Basic Education Plan (2001/02 to 2030/31). The plan consisted of ten programs for basic education and 36 programs for higher education, implemented in six phases each of five years duration.

Obscure role of social studies in Myanmar’s education There was a serious military coup in Burma in 1962, and General Ne Win became the head of the country, ruling from 1962 to 1988. He formed the Revolutionary Council along with the military junta and then he proclaimed its political program entitled “The Burmese way to Socialism”. He also made many changes to education sectors. He nationalized all schools and did not allowed Buddhist monastic schools and Christian missionary schools to run nationwide. His new education structure was 5–4–2 including Kindergarten, and it guided parents to send their children at Age 5 to start the learning journey for their children. As a socialist leader, he re-designed the education system based on the socialist moral values. He believed that it could help to get opportunity equally for the people in country and he strongly emphasized science subject learning and teaching in education to increase productivity of the country. As a result of conducting a closed economy by the government, there was neither foreign trade nor investment in Burma. To fulfill the needs of the country, especially for doctors and engineers, the military government created more jobs for medical work and engineering so that medical and engineering jobs became very popular in Myanmar society. This meant that an estimated 70 percent of high school students chose the science stream which combines subjects including Burmese, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology because they could go to medical and engineering institutes after high school learning. Those who were interested in arts subjects could choose one from two different combinations which consisted of Burmese, English, mathematics, economics, history and geography or Burmese, English, optional Burmese, additional English, history and geography. The result of this segregation was a downgrading of social studies subjects such as history, geography, sociology and psychology in education. The rule of the oppressive junta lasted about 50 years (1962–2011), which means the role of social studies education in Myanmar was obscured for almost 50 years.

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USDP background Aung (2020) outlined the role of the military government that was referred to as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). It was led by General Than Shwe for almost 20 years (1992–2011). In 2008, SPDC began debating bills to amend the military-drafted 2008 constitution. It included a proposal from the military-allied Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) that could significantly redraw the constitutional balance of power between the military and the parliamentary-elected president (Gelbort, 2020). The Union Solidarity and Development Party became the official political party on 8 June 2010, registering in the Union Election Commission. Its leadership was made up mostly of former military officers. Myanmar held a general election on 7 November 2010 in which the USDP won 882 seats out of 1154 (Irrawaddy, 2020a). Other political parties and international organizations were concerned about the fairness of the election. The National League for Democracy (NLD) even boycotted the election. Former General Thein Sein was elected by the parliament as the president becoming the 8th President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

USDP’s education reform From 2011, the civilian government led by Thein Sein initiated multiple reforms including an education sector review. The government tried to upgrade many sectors of the country to the standard of a democratic country. They gave top priority to reforming the education system, starting with the purpose for developing human resources. In order to find a solution to the challenges and gaps in the current education system, the government in collaboration with development partners undertook a Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR). This project was financed by international organizations (Asian Development Bank, 2013). In late 2013, the government formed an Education Promotion Implementation Committee (EPIC) to draft policies for implementation of education reform. The CESR focused on developing recommendations for reform of the education system and impact of EPIC. A new education law developed an overarching framework for education reform. Two strategic plans were drawn up (2014–2016) and (2016–2021) for implementation of education reform. In May 2015, the government launched the Basic Education Curriculum Framework. The first step in government reforms was to increase the budget for education. A new education law was published, and government school fees were removed. In the five-year term of the USDP, free education was provided for students in primary and middle schools. As part of the education reform, the government enacted the National Education Law in 2014 and amended it in 2015 (Government of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar, 2016). In order to reduce dropout rates and to increase transition rates from primary to secondary school, the USDP government planned to restructure school system from 11 years (5–4–2) to correspond with 12 years of schooling as the international norm. This objective, however, was not implemented in the term of office (Soe et al., 2017).


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Status and significance of social studies education Social studies subjects are taught at all school levels: from primary to high school. These subjects are compulsory in both primary and middle school curriculum. Geography and history are common subjects of social studies education in the basic education curriculum. In the old education system, Kindergarten had been regarded as Grade 1 from1988. The basic education system comprised five years for primary, four years for middle/lower secondary and two years for higher/ upper secondary (Education System in Myanmar, n.d.). In primary education, social studies (referred to locally as “Lumuhyay” was developed with history and geography content, while geography, history and economics were taught separately in middle schools. Economics became an elective social studies subject for high school students. Those who passed their Grade 8 examination, which is the last grade for middle school students, had to choose one out of seven subjects grouping to continue studying at the high schools. The seven subject groups are: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Myanmar, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, economics Myanmar, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology Myanmar, English, mathematics, geography, history, optional Myanmar Myanmar, English, mathematics, geography, economics, optional Myanmar Myanmar, English, mathematics, history, economics, optional Myanmar Myanmar, English, mathematics, history, physics, chemistry Myanmar, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, optional Myanmar

Thein (2000, p. 15) indicated that Myanmar, English and mathematics subjects are core in every group and other subjects are elective. The first two groups were popular among students, and most students prefer to study the first one because it is easy to get distinction in economics subject which is written in Burmese language compared to the second one with biology subject, written in English language. Social studies subjects like history, geography and economics were included in five groups out of seven, but they were not core subjects.

Curriculum reform for social studies education During the term of the USDP, there were very few changes in the curriculum of basic education. Yet the government sought to improve basic education curriculum with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Starting in 2014, changes were suggested for the primary school curriculum under Create Project (JICA, 2020). This involved (JICA, 2017): Approximately 40 Japanese education experts with vast experience in Japan and overseas provided multifaceted technical support in various areas such as subject content, effective teaching and learning, methods, textbooks editing and design, teacher training and assessment in order to move the education system forward and to create the next generation of Myanmar citizens.

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Assessment strategies for social studies Than (2017) pointed out the differences between the old and the new assessment systems. Under the old curriculum, schools held chapter-end exams called monthly exam and final exam according to the schedule of the individual schools. These tests were held three times in June, July and August for Grades 2–10. For Grades 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 the tests were 25 marks per subject, and for Grades 4, 8 and 10, for the August test, they were 50 marks. It was a complicated system and caused a great of confusion. The new system, in which social studies is included for both primary and middle schools, is a “no-failure system” so the pressure of constant assessment has been removed. One student commented, “I like the present examination system that was changed from a confusing one”. There are still examinations, four times a year, with a simplified grading system that is easier to understand and is linked to the new curriculum.

Teacher education and policy for social studies teaching There are many ways to become a basic education teacher. There are two Universities of Education under the Department for Higher Education offering a Bachelor of Education (BEd) course. The four-year BEd course has been extended to five years from the 2012–2013 academic year. The two subjects grouping – science, arts and social studies or physics, chemistry and economics – are popular among BEd trained teachers. In addition, students have to study Myanmar, English, mathematics, teaching pedagogy and education theory, and psychology. After five years of study, graduates are qualified to teach students in middle and high schools. They can teach any subject out of one combination they study in university. There are also 25 education colleges in Myanmar, and those who graduate from education colleges are qualified to teach in primary schools (UNESCO, 2016).

Social studies education under the National League for Democracy (NLD) NLD background “The National League for Democracy was born out of the political tumult of 1988, when a massive pro-democracy uprising rocked the nation and toppled the government of General Ne Win” (The Irrawaddy, 2020b). Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Myanmar national hero, Gen Aung San, is the leader of the NLD party. In NLD party history, the 1990 election was the first one in which they won 392 out of 485 seats. Despite this popular victory, the NLD could not organize a new government because of the power of the then military regime. The military government kept party leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest for 20 years (1990–2010). Her party boycotted the 2010 general election, resulting in a decisive victory for the military-backed Union


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Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The NLD party decided to join the 2012 by-election and won 43 out of 45 seats. The second general election was held nationwide in November 2015 under Myanmar’s current constitution (adopted in 2008). In the 2015 election, NLD won 136 of 224 seats in the upper House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw) and 225 of 440 seats in the lower House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw). Both of these results were a major victory, with the party forming a majority by itself in the parliament (Partners in Asia, 2020).

NLD’s education reform The NLD’s 2015 election manifesto was that “Education begins on the day of birth and continues through life. Therefore, the NLD will strive to establish opportunities for lifelong learning and the obtaining of a beneficial and valuable education” (National League for Democracy, 2015), and this has become the manifesto of the NLD government. Since the start of its term, the NLD government has been making big changes in education with the purpose of enabling the Myanmar education system to reach international standards. The government was faced with an incomplete education reform process that has been described earlier under the government of the Union Solidarity and Development Party led by Thein Sein (Lall, 2016). The NLD government set out to finish and implement educational projects initiated bythe previous government. The NLD launched the National Education Strategic Plan (2016–2020) in 2017. They had also developed Myanmar National Curriculum Framework as a first step of significant reform of education following changes of syllabi and textbooks. Redesigning teacher’s guides, teaching methods and assessment approaches, which will fix with new education system, were the next step of education reform. They have undertaken middle school curriculum reform with the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and are reforming the high school curriculum with the help of the European Union (EU). The NLD government introduced KG–12 system in 2016–2017, and new Kindergarten program started for children of Age 5 in June 2016. A primary Grade 1 started in June 2017 for children of Age 6. Those Grade 1 students and students from below Grade 9 are included in the new education system from the 2020–2021 academic year. Students from the new education system will study five years of primary school, four years of middle school and three years of high school. This makes the length of basic education equivalent to international standards (Maung, 2018).

Status and significance of social studies education At primary level, social studies are core subjects. Geography and history take the role as social studies subjects in middle and high schools. Social studies subjects of Grade 10 and 11 from high school focus on country and region while broadening to a global world focus in Grade 12 as shown in Table 8.1:

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Table 8.1 Social Studies Across the Curriculum Primary education (from Grade 1 to Grade 5)

Middle school education (from Grade 6 to Grade 9)

High school education (from Grade 10 to Grade 12)

1 Social Studies

1 Geography 2 History

1 2 3 4 5 6

Geography History, Myanmar and World People, Places and Environment Global Development Economics Global Economy

Source: Myanmar National Curriculum Framework (5th version, n.d.), p. 7, 11, 14, 15.

Table 8.2 Main Aspects of Myanmar’s Teacher Education Provision Universities of Education (UoE) University of Development of National Races (UDNR) Education Colleges (ECs)

Provide a five-year BEd; qualifying teachers to teach in high school Provide free teacher training to ethnic minorities Are affiliated to a UoE, providing a four-year BEd; qualifying teachers to teach in primary and middle school

Source: Based on UNESCO (2016, pp. 12–13).

Teacher education and policy for social studies teaching According to the education curriculum review of Ministry of Education, there are multiple ways to train to become a teacher, but the expectation is that all teachers will have a degree after completing a minimum of a four-year degree course. Degree-level teacher education courses are delivered at both university and college level. Since the 2019–2020 academic year, the Ministry of Education upgraded the two-year training courses run by the education colleges to four years. To apply for the education college, candidates need a minimum score of 400 out of 600 in their matriculation exam; candidates for university need a higher score of 450 out of 600. At four-year education colleges, student teachers are divided into two groups: primary and middle school, according to their Year 1 assessment marks. Primary school teachers train as generalist teaching staff with a focus on teaching early literacy and numeracy. Middle school teachers are trained as subject area specialists to teach three core subjects (Myanmar, English, mathematics) and one elective subject; social studies (history and geography), art, morality and civics are the four elective subjects (UNESCO, 2016).

Assessment strategy for social studies education There is no specific assessment strategy for social studies subjects such as geography, history and economics. All subjects taught at basic education schools are


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assessed. A new assessment strategy was developed by the NLD government. They are (1) Classroom-level assessment, (2) School-level assessment, (3) Assessment at the completion of each basic education level, (4) National-level assessment which cover primary, middle and high schools as shown in Table 8.3: Table 8.3 Levels of Assessment in Myanmar’s Education System Classroom-level assessment School-level assessment Assessment at the completion of each basic education level

National-level assessment

Formative assessment is applied by using written exams, giving homework, or observing activities at the end of each lesson. First and second term tests and year-end exam are conducted for each grade. Depending on the results of these tests as well as the classroom-level assessment, students will be promoted to the following grade. Assessment for primary and middle school levels are conducted yearly by using a written exam at local level and central level for high school education. The exam at the completion of primary is conducted at district or township levels, conducting middle school education at regional or state levels. These exams are held to assess how students achieved the objectives of their respective school levels. Students who passed these exams are awarded primary, middle and high school education completion certificate and allowed to step to next level of study. If a student from primary and middle schools fails in the exam, they have to re-sit for the exam in the same academic year. In the final year of high school, if the students fail a subject or more, they may re-sit that subject in the next supplementary examination cycle. At the end of Grade 3, Grade 7 and Grade 11, students’ achievement over the main learning areas is assessed regularly every year or every other year as the national-level assessment in order to identify the sample status of students’ achievement.

Source: Based on Myanmar National Curriculum Framework (5th version, n.d.), p. 18, 19.

Scholars’ predictions on social studies education for the next decade Mya Than, social studies lecturer Most of the students study science subject combination more than art subject combination because of the influences of their parents and friends. Social studies subjects have been known as art subjects in Myanmar for many years. Most people from Myanmar society think that studying science subjects is more decent than studying arts subjects. Thus, most of the parents encourage their children to specialize in one science subject when they read at university. It’s normal in Myanmar. However, I think that the new four-year education degree college system can reduce the study of science subject. In the new system, students have to study all of the subjects in Years 1 and 2, and they must choose

Social studies education in Myanmar


their specialization for Years 3 and 4 based on the academic achievement of Years 1 and 2. Those who perform well in academics in Years 1 and 2 can choose one of science and art subject combination. Those who do not perform well in same years can only choose art subjects combination. But they all will be paid the same salary by the government. So, I think students will prefer learning arts because of the same salary. As a result of surplus learning of science subject, there is shortage of social studies teachers at basic education level. So, the government has to draw a new, good policy to improve learning social studies in the next decade.

Dr. Aung Kyaw, Professor, Geography Since the beginning of Myanmar education, social studies subjects like history and geography have been taught. Generally, these subjects are not popular in lower GDP countries like Myanmar. From 2014 to 2018, I did not see more than 400 social studies exam papers of matriculation students from Yangon region. But, in 2019, the answer papers increased up to 15,000. Based on this number, we can see the progress of social studies at the basic education level in Myanmar. Jobs for a large percentage of graduates from universities are not determined by their qualifications. They cannot follow their hobby and passion because of their living standard. If the income of people increases, I think they will be encouraged to study subjects like life science and social studies more than science subjects. Whether social studies learning will increase or not in the next decade will be directly connected to the GDP of our country.

Dr. Khin Maung, Professor, History I am one of the members of basic education history curriculum development team. Every year, university teachers are assigned to assess exam papers of matriculation students. So, I am familiar with basic education history curriculum and the nature of study social studies. Students from suburban areas and rural areas study more social studies subjects which are written in Burmese. In urban areas like Yangon and Mandalay, students choose to study science subjects because they are good enough at English and mathematics. But social studies subjects are compulsory at basic education level, so students have the chance to study these subjects then. So, they will have more knowledge about social studies than students from the old education system. I am not sure they will continue to study these subjects at the higher education level.

Dr. Khin Khin, Professor, Economics The importance of social studies education has been influenced by the political climate in Myanmar. As a developing country, Myanmar needs to invest in human resource development, and economics is one of the subjects from the social studies groups that can help. The government has to encourage people to


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study economics. Now, there are only three economics universities in Myanmar, and the government must consider creating more space for teaching economics. On the other hand, there are many unqualified teachers teaching social studies, so the government also has to try to train student teachers to give effective social studies teaching education to improve social studies learning in Myanmar society in the next decade.

Conclusion To conclude, social studies education in Myanmar can be categorized into two periods before and after the 21st century. In the first half of the 20th century, when Myanmar was still a British colony, social studies education was used to inculcate a sense of loyalty to the British via geography and history teaching. It was named “slave education” by Burmese nationalists. In the early second half of 21st century, Myanmar had gained its independence and Myanmar authorities allowed religious instruction with history and geography teaching as social studies education. Before 1962, the role of social studies education was seen to be an important subject because of its potential to shape the minds of people to be good and can drive people to be good citizens. Unfortunately, after the 1962 military dictatorship, the government’s interest in social studies education declined, and the military government highlighted socialism and promoted science teaching and learning to achieve their political goal. For about 60 years, science subjects were highlighted in Myanmar education and in the labor market and were very popular in Myanmar society. This happened because of the values of the political leader, General Ne Win. Following 2011, Myanmar’s military regime was transformed, moving toward democracy with a civilian government. A priority of this transformation was education reform. As part of the reform process, social studies education has not been given priority. Yet as an ethnically diverse country often characterized by conflict, it is essential to give priority to social studies teaching in schools. If the government can develop suitable social studies curriculum to meet the country’s unique needs, this could result in many benefits that are needed to resolve significant social conflict. While this chapter has covered social studies education from basic education, further research should focus on social studies education in Myanmar higher education.

Bibliography Asian Development Bank. (2013). Republic of the Union of Myanmar: Support for education sector planning Myanmar. Manila: ADB. Retrieved on 6 October 2020 from www. Aung, M. (2020). Myanmar. Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from place/Myanmar/ClimateDepartment of Population. (2014). Population and housing census of Myanmar. Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from sites/default/files/pub-pdf/Census_Provisional_Results_2014_ENG_0.pdf Education System in Myanmar. (n.d.). Brief description of primary, secondary and tertiary education (1–9). Retrieved on 10 October 2020 from

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wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Education-System-in-Myanmar-Brief-Descriptionof-Primary-Secondary-Tertiary-Education.pdf Gelbort, J. (2020). Myanmar’s military-allied party proposes constitutional amendment increasing civilian powers. I-CONnect [Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law]. Retrieved on 10 October from www.iconnectblog. com/2020/02/myanmars-military-allied-party-proposes Government of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar. (2016). National Education Strategic Plan, 2016–2021. Retrieved on 10 October 2020 from https:// Haydena, M., & Martin, R. (2013). Recovery of the education system in Myanmar. Journal of International and Comparative Education, 2(2), 47–57. The Irrawaddy. (2020a). Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP): The irrawaddy. Retrieved from The Irrawaddy. (2020b). National League for Democracy (NLD). Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from JICA. (2017). New textbooks developed with JICA technical cooperation delivered to primary schools throughout Myanmar. JICA Press Release. Retrieved on 10 October 2020 from JICA. (2020). Welcome to the new primary curriculum project. Retrieved on 28 September 2020 from Kende-Robb, C. (2017). Myanmar once had one of Asia’s best education system. Here’s how it can get back to the top. Retrieved from agenda/2017/11/myanmar-once-had-one-of-asias-best-education-systems-hereshow-it-can-get-back-to-the-top/ Lall, M. (2016, August). Education challenges for Myanmar’s new NLD government. The Oxford-Myanmar Policy Brief Series, 1(1). Retrieved on 10 October 2020 from Maung, Z. (2018, September 10). National League for Democracy party presents its policy, stance and work Program. The Global New Light of Myanmar. Retrieved on 6 October 2020 from Ministry of Hotel and Tourism. (2020). About Myanmar. Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from Myanmar National Curriculum Framework (5th version). (n.d.). Retrieved on 6 October 2020 from National League for Democracy. (2015). National League for Democracy: 2015 Election manifesto [Authorised Translation]. Retrieved on 6 October 2020 from www. Oxford Business Group. (2019). The Report: Myanmar 2019. Retrieved on 27 September 2020 from Partners in Asia. (2020). 2015 Myanmar elections: A vote for change. Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from Salem-Gervais, N., & Metro, R. (2012). A textbook case of nation-building: The evolution of history curricula. Journal of Burma Studies, 16(1), 27–78.


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Skidmore, M., & Wilson, T. (2008). Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved from https://library.oapen. org/bitstream/handle/20.500.12657/33774/458944.pdf?sequence=1 Soe, M., Aye, M., Nan, K., & Nan, H. (2017). Reform of the education system: Case study of Myanmar. Regional Research Paper, Parliamentary Institute of Cambodia. Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from Education_Reform_Myanmar_Eng.pdfyanmar%20Times.html Than, A. (2017, November 17). New basic education system launched. Myanmar Times. Retrieved on 28 September 2020 from file:///E:/Book%20Series/ASIA/ AsianSocial%20StudiesVol%202/ChaptersFinalDrafts/Ch9Myanmar/New%20 basic%20education%20exam%20system%20launched%20_%20The%20M Thein, L. (2000). Education in Burma, (1945–2000). Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from 2000__education_in_burma__1945-2000__2000__english_.pdf Thein T. (2017, November 15). Education sector of the future. The Global New Light of Myanmar. Retrieved on 6 October 2020 from www.globalnewlightofmyanmar. com/education-sector-future/ UNESCO. (2016). Education college curriculum review: Strengthening pre-service Teacher Education in Myanmar (STEM). Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from www. United Nations Development Program. (2019). Inequalities in human development in the 21st century: Briefing note for countries on the 2019 human development report. Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from hdr_theme/country-notes/MMR.pdf

Section 3

Social studies education in South and South East Asian classrooms


Marginalised students and their contexts A case from India Mousumi Mukherjee and Sahil Jain

Introduction As discussed in Chapter 2, drawing on progressive practices of learner-centric and critical constructivist pedagogy, the National Curriculum Framework (2005) outlined broad curricular priorities in a fast-changing world driven by rapid economic globalisation. However, at the beginning of the book, while discussing the social context of education in India, the authors highlight that: The education system does not function in isolation from the society of which it is a part. Hierarchies of caste, economic status and gender relations, cultural diversity as well as the uneven economic development that characterise Indian society also deeply influence access to education and participation of children in school. This is reflected in the sharp disparities between different social and economic groups, which are seen in school enrolment and completion rates. Thus, girls belonging to SC and ST communities among the rural and urban poor and the disadvantaged sections of religious and other ethnic minorities are educationally most vulnerable. In urban locations and many villages, the school system itself is stratified and provides children with strikingly different educational experiences. Unequal gender relations not only perpetuate domination but also create anxieties and stunt the freedom of both boys and girls to develop their human capacities to their fullest. It is in the interest of all to liberate human beings from the existing inequalities of gender. (NCERT, 2005, p. 9) Hence, promoting equality through education has been a major curriculum priority. The contents in the NCERT upper-primary social science textbooks, therefore, reveal this curricular priority to instil the values of equality and respect for all as citizens of a democratic nation-state, irrespective of caste, class, gender and religious differences. Yet, 70 years after the constitutional law sought to usher in a more equal, just and democratic society and despite the national curriculum priorities, the vestiges of the rigid social divisions still persist within the Indian society. Schools, like all other social institutions, are very much part of the society


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where they operate. Even schools with a vision for creating a more equal and democratic society operate in the existing unequal context.

The case This chapter draws on ethnographic field observations and interactions with students and teachers in a number of residential schools run by a non-governmental civil society organisation, Saathi,1 that serves underserved students from marginalised communities. This organisation is also well-known within the Indian context for implementing innovative social science teaching programme, scientific enquiry-based learning and primary education programmes in the government-run schools. The research was exploratory in nature and did not begin with any research question framed by the researchers. The goal was to observe and understand the “work processes” and the “social relations” facilitating Saathi’s work (Smith, 2005). The research involved community-based participatory methodology (Hall & Tandon, 2017). One of the researchers embedded himself as a volunteer worker in the organisation to learn about their science education programme and then work with other staff members of the organisation across the schools. The researcher first learnt about the theoretical rationale behind the science education programme. Further, in order to better understand the theoretical underpinnings, the researcher visited the field-sites, i.e. the residential schools, to understand the different aspects of the project and to interact with the teachers, students and the other staff involved in the functioning of the school. The field visit was six weeks long, which was to be completed in three different visits and was exploratory in nature. During these visits, the researcher covered more than 16 different residential schools and visited a few of the schools repeatedly to develop a deeper understanding of these schools and the various stakeholders involved. The researcher, along with the organisation’s training staff, also stayed overnight in three different schools so that they could interact and develop stronger connections with students, teachers, and other staff. The longer overnight stays in these residential schools were arranged by the organisation to develop rapport with the school community, so that feelings of shyness and strangeness would disappear, and they would be able to connect more and, so that they could open up more frankly. Based on empirical data from the field, this chapter argues that, despite the much-acclaimed, innovative social science teaching methods, the social practices of the larger society, where the schools are embedded, is reflected in peer-group formations, classroom participation and interactions in these schools. Therefore, this chapter concludes that a lot of work still needs to be done in India in order to establish a more equal and democratic society. Just as the Constitution of India had released an equalising legal force to usher in change 70 years ago, the work of these civil society organisation-run schools is also very important to bring more change within the indigenous Indian society in the future.

Marginalised students and their contexts 121

The organisational context The civil society organisation, Saathi (Hindi word, meaning a partner) is a notfor-profit voluntary organisation working in the field of education. The organisation believes that the education system needs innovations that respond to the needs of children and that redefine the role of teachers. For the last three decades and more, the organisation has been striving to translate this dream into a lived reality for all children. In collaboration with its various educational programmes, development and dissemination of educational material has also been a significant focus for the organisation. The ultimate focus is towards a shift in emphasis from rote learning of scientific facts and techniques to helping children to understand the structure of scientific enquiry through experimentation and discovery. The organisation encourages science learning through the concepts of “learning through exploration”, “learning by activity” and “learning from the environment” in contrast to the predominant textbook-based “learning by rote”. It aims to bring research and observation to the core stage of learning science at the upper primary level of education. The need of the day is to bring science into the lives of today’s children and youth in such a way that it encourages a spirit of curiosity and open exploration. Hence, the organisation introduces to the students the science that touches their lives and helps bring about positive changes in their lived environment. It nurtures the child-like inquisitiveness and curiosity, develops interests and capabilities in open-ended enquiry, explorations, experimentation, observation and reasoning. A low-cost, easy-to-handle teaching kit has been developed for this purpose, with many of its items available locally to promote more experiments in every class. The organisation is also working on the development of material and content development in various indigenous languages such as Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Bangla, Urdu and other regional languages. The overriding concern is to keep the reading material close to the life and environment of the readers and also produce it at a price they can afford. The organisation with the help of the state government has been putting a lot of emphasis and effort towards including tribal children into mainstream Indian society. In most of the residential schools, children usually have troubled backgrounds or come from financially weaker backgrounds. The organisation runs its own residential schools and also works with the residential schools run by the state government for tribal children.

The school environment The background and the surrounding play a crucial role in the upbringing of the children. In India, tribal communities have been marginalised, underprivileged and exploited in different ways. Tribal populations have traditionally inhabited more remote and inaccessible areas of the country, which remain a critical challenge to ensure sustainable growth for these groups today. The majority of tribal groups have been plagued by various economic, social, cultural and geographical


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disadvantages. Tribal groups tend to have one of the lowest rates of enrolment and retention in the country. In most cases, they are also unable to reap the fruits of modernisation and technological development. Only education can make it possible for them to throw off centuries of oppression. With the power of knowledge, they will empower themselves and develop confidence and courage to overcome the barriers of their everyday lives. Several organisations have been working towards overcoming this barrier with the help of the government. Theoretically and philosophically, governmental and non-governmental organisations, such as Saathi, are trying to eliminate the social differences, but the age-old social structure cannot be uprooted with a few years of incredible work. For example, the classrooms visited during fieldwork were poorly ventilated, and a large number of schools used their classrooms as living spaces. All the schools (along with the different types of management) had toilets, but cleanliness was a matter of concern. Most of the local body schools also did not have clean bathrooms. Drinking water was available in all the schools, but the quality was a real concern. These schools had several other issues such as lack of living space for teachers in schools, so many of them were not living in the residential schools. Health issues and security concerns for teachers were also observed because of lack of proper infrastructure. School infrastructure also plays a crucial role in students’ education. In a majority of the schools, students belonging to primary classes had to sit on the floor without the basic infrastructure such as the chairs or desks. Students in the senior classes, however, had a proper blackboard, desk and chairs. Since the students in the higher classes, i.e. Classes 10 and 12, had to take exams, better arrangements were made for them. Due to such arrangements, the students felt that for primary classes studies were not so important. But in schools where the primary classes had better infrastructure, the students were observed to be better motivated. They felt a sense of dignity and were much more dedicated to classroom activities and the spaces in the classroom felt more student/child friendly. There are numerous factors that influence a child’s upbringing. Just before starting school, children’s education starts with the vocabulary used to communicate at home; the behaviour and the environment all contribute towards it. The majority of children in residential schools belong to marginalised families and are mostly first-generation learners. For them, these residential schools provide value-based education in a stress-free environment that enables students to identify and develop their inner talents to the fullest extent possible. Even before the children come to the residential schools, however, they already have learnt norms and behaviour outside the school environment. Though Saathi trains all the teaching and non-teaching staff to follow the values of equality and respect, even the teaching and non-teaching staff members bring with them social norms and behaviour pattern from outside the school. As stated earlier, this research and the field visits were exploratory in nature. However, during the field visits, the researcher could obviously observe how the social norms of the larger society were actually playing out even inside the schools run by the organisation that is seeking to promote the values of equality and respect through

Marginalised students and their contexts 123 education. Based on the analysis of field observations, the following section of this chapter has been broadly grouped under three sections – peer-group formation, classroom participation and general social interactions inside the schools.

Peer-group formation Peer-group formation is a process of growth in which an individual has a sense of self. One of the main factors that influence the formation of a person’s identity is his or her friends. As these organisations are working with the students who are staying in residential school, this kind of growth takes place for the majority of them within the context of this residential space. The influence on the child can have a positive as well as negative impact. Within the larger Indian context, a very curious and intelligent girl who is a bookworm and always asks lot of questions is a total misfit. The public social norm for a girl/woman in India is to be “chup” (silent), even among the most educated communities of people in India (Narayan, 2018). Hence, if any girl breaks these social norms, it is really hard for her to be accepted and to become part of a peer-group. Boys feel threatened by such a girl, and other girls also do not want to befriend her as she cannot get engaged in socially acceptable, stereotypical “girl-talk!” This was very evident in the case of Rashmi (name changed), studying in Class 7 of one of the government English-medium residential schools where Saathi has been working to promote their science education programme. The majority of the classmates do not want to be her friend as they feel she is always with her books and talks only during class, asking lots of questions. Rashmi loves reading books and gets emotionally disturbed and frustrated if she does not know anything. She sits in the front row and is very responsive in the class. She is the only one in her family to go to school. She is very curious and also has a good memory. During field visits, it was observed that she kept raising her doubts with the Saathi team or the faculty members of the school. During the class discussion, unlike the other students, if she did not understand any concept or any topic, she kept asking the teachers until she clearly understood how a concept linked to another and so on – concepts such as how an airplane flies and some animals are able to see in the dark. There was one instance when the teacher even told her to be patient and come later with her doubts. But her curiosity to learn was clearly visible. In one of the classes, the teacher raised a question to find the surface area of the rectangle. While some of the students discussed among themselves, Rashmi on her own applied the formula – length into breath – and got the right answer. She lacked an understanding of the concept of surface area but used the right formula. When the field researcher and the Saathi team introduced the idea of the unit used to measure, she wanted to find out the unit of various other things, such as litre, kilometre, centimetre and so on. Her sense of curiosity was phenomenal. Most of her classmates called her a “bookworm”, but that did not stop her. She would keep asking questions constantly. One day she asked, “Just like humans, who have various types of blood groups, is this also the case with


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animals?” Her questions were never-ending. Because she was not accepted within any peer group in the school, she would be either studying from her books or asking questions of the teachers and Saathi support staff members. She is an independent thinker and does not get influenced by other classmates’ choices but does what she feels is good for her. Just as Rashmi’s lack of peer-group involvement is very much rooted in the gender norms of the larger social context, the peer-group formations among students within that context is also rooted in the problem connected to the larger social context. It is a well-known fact, that teacher absenteeism is a major problem within the larger Indian schooling context and a number of scholars have studied this problem and sought to find a solution (Kremer, Chaudhury, Rogers, Muralidharan, & Hammer, 2005, Duflo, Rema, & Stephen, 2012, Muralidharan¸ Das, Holla, & Mohpal, 2017). The studies suggest that the issue of teacher absenteeism can be tackled through external mechanisms such as providing additional incentive or placing cameras in classrooms. However, these are external mechanical solutions to a major social problem of the lack of accountability in social institutions serving the underserved in India. During the fieldwork for this research, student-led peer-group pressure appeared to be a very effective community-driven solution and a major force to deal with this problem of teacher absenteeism. Ankit and Devika (names changed), two students from Class 7 studying in a residential school, gathered the entire class together and forced their teachers to take the classes regularly. Since the school was located in the extreme interior of the tribal community land, hardly any government official came to check whether classes took place or not. The teachers rarely took classes and took things for granted. Both Ankit and Devika had individually requested their teachers earlier to take class. They were either scolded by the teachers or asked to go away. Eventually, they mobilised the entire class and made their teacher accountable and take regular classes. This change also mobilised students in other classes. Finally, classes became regular in the entire school. Of course, the Saathi team was involved in supporting Ankit and Devika to mobilise other students in the community to make the teachers accountable. The teacher also enjoys teaching in class now as the majority of the students are really interested, and this also makes the teacher work harder to prepare each lesson plan. This unexpected transformation in the school driven by grassroots student-led movement is a good example to demonstrate that local community-based participatory approaches are really effective in finding more stable and sustainable solutions to chronic problems, such as teacher absenteeism, rather than any other external or technological solution.

Classroom participation It has been already reported in the earlier section while narrating the case of Rashmi, in most of the schools visited, gender obviously appeared to be a major issue. Boys and girls were seated separately in different rows. In all classes, two

Marginalised students and their contexts 125 rows were for boys and two for girls. They were hardly seated together in any class. Even when we tried to mix them and formed mixed groups consisting of boys and girls, they did not work together. Despite the Saathi team working hard to establish communication between boys and girls, they hardly interacted with each other, except in one exceptional case. During one of the visits to the residential school, the class was unevenly distributed; the total strength of the class was 45, out of which only two were girls. During the class, both these girls were leading the class discussion. The boys, who were in the majority, hardly spoke. Afterwards, when we spoke to the two girls, we realised that they were both very committed and sincere. The girls shared with the researchers that the teachers and the whole group are helping them to learn. This could be because of the gender sensitising work of Saathi in the schools and the exceptional leadership of the teachers who were successful in creating an inclusive learning environment and culture in that school (Abdullah, Abu Baker, & Mahboob, 2012, Anderson, Hamilton, & Hattie, 2004, MacNeil, Prater, & Busch, 2009; Voelkl, 1995, Wren, 1999) Usually, during most of the school visits, it was found the majority of the boys participated in most of the discussions; the girls who were in minority were overpowered. The case of these two girls, however, was unique. As reported earlier, in most cases the girls would take a backseat and be silent. Wherever they are outspoken, thinking independently and asking questions, like Rashmi, they found it hard to fit into any peer group for breaking the prevalent gender stereotype. Apart from gender-based segregation and discrimination, caste-based social segregation was also quite obvious. Whenever the researcher introduced himself in the classroom, the students, most of the time, asked him not only his name but also his last/family name. In India, people belonging to specific ethnic groups recognise people’s caste from their last/family name. The questions regarding family name were posed not only by senior students but, also by students from middle and primary schools. They would ask the researcher if he belonged to a higher caste or a low caste, since his last name was not very familiar to the students in the region of the fieldwork where the schools were located. This demonstrates the fact that students are introduced to the concept of caste from a very early age, even before they come to the school, and they learn the practices of caste-based discrimination from early childhood. This is ironic, especially since the schools were particularly established to serve the students from underserved communities that have been facing discrimination for centuries and being deprived of good education because of caste and class-based discrimination. The findings strikingly corroborate with what the authors of the National Curriculum Framework (2005) highlighted in their introduction to the social context of education in India, as quoted in the introduction to this chapter. Fieldwork for this research study demonstrated that despite the national curricular focus since 2005 and work of civil society organisations, such as Saathi, hierarchies of caste, class, gender and languages still prevail in schools, which are part of the


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larger society. Alongside gender and caste-based discriminations, the other most obvious discrimination that was observed during the fieldwork was linguistic discrimination. Children grow up by observing things happening around them and learn to express their feelings and thoughts in the words learnt from their parents, particularly the language of the mother, who nurtures the child during early childhood development phase. It is like the process of a seed germinating into a sapling and then becoming a plant. When that child comes to a classroom, if he/she is unable to comprehend properly what the teacher is saying and cannot participate in class discussion due to a language barrier, all the pedagogical effort goes for waste. Cognition, comprehension and expression in the language that the child knows well is critical to the learning of concepts and higher-order thinking. Here the researcher observed many challenges for a number of students during the visits to the residential schools. There was a clearly visible language hierarchy in these schools. Students belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes among the rural and urban poor and the disadvantaged sections of religious and other ethnic minorities are educationally most vulnerable and speak in very different languages at home as they come from diverse ethnic/linguistic backgrounds. In all the school visits, hardly any class had students who were comfortable with a particular language, leading to a major problem for teachers and students. The teacher considered English as the most important language and then Hindi. All the local regional languages that the students and their parents spoke at home were assigned little significance. The teachers urged the students to concentrate on the two most important languages because they claimed it would offer a greater economic opportunity for their career in the future. This created difficulties for the students from learning what they were taught in class as they had to brace for a new language. Due to this language barrier, both the teachers and students appeared to be losing interest in teaching and learning the concepts. The focus shifted towards training students for rote memorising the concepts as best as possible in a non-familiar language. Margaret Mead wrote in 1953 “learning to read and write can be experienced within the security of the known, and the hurdle of a new medium need not be surmounted” (p. 278). This empirical observation about the problem of classroom participation related to the language of expression corresponds with a recent study by Bhattacharya (2013) and even what Rabindranath Tagore highlighted as the main problem of the Indian education system over a century ago (Dasgupta, 2009, p. 158-159): So far as my own experiences of teaching goes, a considerable proportion of pupils are naturally deficient in the power of learning languages. Such may find it barely possible to matriculate with an insufficient understanding of the English language, while in the higher stages disaster is inevitable. There are, moreover, other reasons why English cannot be mastered by a large majority of Indian boys. First of all, to accommodate this language in their minds, whose ingrained habit has been to think in an Eastern tongue, is as much a

Marginalised students and their contexts 127 far as fitting an English sword into the scabbard of a scimitar. Then again, very few boys have the means of getting anything like a proper grounding in English at the hands of a competent teacher- the sons of the poor certainly have not. (excerpt from Tagore, 1919 reprint 2003) Bhattacharya (2009) also argued that Tagore was a major critic of the practice of “rote memorizing” and he considered education in English language as a major problem encouraging “rote memorizing”. He was, however, in favour of Western scientifc education. Hence, he argued for early education in the mother tongue and learning of multiple languages, including English, as he did in his home-school.

Social interactions in school All the social challenges related to gender, caste and language observed in the classroom participation were also observed in social interactions outside the classroom in the residential school campuses. The residential schools play a crucial role, particularly in the lives of children from disadvantaged scheduled caste and scheduled tribe backgrounds. The students come to the hostel from a very young age, when they are just 6 years old. They leave their homes and stay in these residential schools away from their family. These students from marginally weaker sections of society are in the hostel most of the time. Therefore, the teacher and their friends play a major part in their upbringing. During the fieldwork, it was observed that the teachers practised gender-based segregation and the behaviour pattern of the teachers influenced the students. The students learnt by observing the behaviour of their teachers in the residential settings. Even among themselves, the male and female teachers did not communicate much with each other. There was clearly visible social divide between them. Even during the assemblies, the boys and girls stood in different queues. Even if a queue of boys or girls would end halfway, students belonging to the other gender would form a new line. In the name of maintaining discipline, the social norm that was established and promoted even within the co-educational school premises was actual social distancing and segregation between boys and girls. Gender-based segregation was also observed with regards to the way the teachers and administrative authorities in the school viewed what kind of work is suitable for boys and what kind of work is suitable for girls outside the class. The male students were always asked to do physical hand-on activities, while the girls were assumed to be fit for housekeeping and studying from books. This sort of gender distinction was visible in all places. In the playground, even if some girls wanted to play volleyball, for example, they were asked to play seven stones (a game which was mostly played by girls) in all hostels. In these ways, the boys and girls were being socialised in very different ways even within a co-educational


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learning environment. Individual student aptitudes and interests were suppressed in order to conform to the gendered social norms of the larger society.

Community engagement The residential schools were established by the civil society organisation, Saathi, with the long-term objective of providing education for underserved (scheduled caste and scheduled tribe) children in India. The goal was to create a classroom learning environment where students can freely ask questions and express themselves. The goal was to encourage students and teachers to think beyond the textbook. The fieldwork for this study shows that the existing social practices in society are still pervasive inside these school premises. We must understand, however, that change takes time. Change has begun, and it will further unfold when individuals take a stand and do their duty, just as the teacher in the classroom with the two girls, who encouraged the girls to take the lead in class discussion and also encouraged the boys in the classroom to support them to take the lead. The study also reveals that community participation is crucial. Community participation actually helps to implement government and institutional policies that directly benefit local communities and drive social change. For any policy or plan to be effective, it depends on the support of the community. This was evident in the way the students exerted peer pressure to make teachers accountable in one of the schools to stop being absent from their duty and the way in which one of the schools was running only due to the continuous effort of the community and village panchayat. This school had only three rented classrooms for students where they could study. The school exclusively catered to the students from Classes 5 to 7. The school had a strength of only 103 students. As per the guidelines/rules of the “ashram”2 schools run by Saathi, the schools were supposed to have more than 100 students to be able to function. The people in the community, i.e., the villagers, made sure that the strength of the student did not go below 100 students. So, whenever the number fell to less than 100, the villagers would try to find students and encourage them to join the school, so that the school could meet the criteria of minimum number of students to continue to operate. The community strongly believed in the power of education. The panchayat and the other adults believed that through education their children can uplift the whole community. The case of this school clearly demonstrated the importance of serious community engagement to run schools for the underserved communities.

Conclusion The case study of the residential schools run by Saathi and the organisation’s work in the government schools demonstrates the complex social context of education in India. It is a context where centuries-old caste, class, gender, and ethnic/linguistic divides pervade. However, it is also a context where exceptional

Marginalised students and their contexts 129 civil society organisations, teachers and individuals can steer change by mobilising their community to make absentee teachers accountable, to give voice and agency to the marginalised girls and to also take community ownership to sustain the operation of a school. This power of the civil society organisations, teachers and communities needs to be further harnessed to address the persistent issues related to gender, caste and linguistic barriers plaguing the schools in India. Only then student learning can be enhanced, and the marginalised students will become truly empowered.

Notes 1 Name changed for anonymity following research ethics protocol 2 Built in the model of Tagore’s concept of “ashram” schools, reviving the tradition of ancient Indian residential schools to primarily uplift and empower the marginalised, not just the Brahmin and upper castes of Indian society

Bibliography Abdullah, M. Y., Abu Baker, N. R., & Mahboob, M. H. (2012). Student’s participation in classroom: What motivates them to speak up? Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 51, 516–522. Anderson, A., Hamilton, R. J., & Hattie, J. (2004). Classroom climate and motivated behaviour in secondary schools. Learning Environments Research, 7, 211–225. Bhattacharya, A. (2009). Tagore on the Right Education for India. Asia Pacific Journal of Social Sciences, 1(2), 22–47. Bhattacharya, U. (2013). Mediating inequalities: Exploring English-medium instruction in a suburban Indian village school. Current Issues in Language Planning, 14(1), 164–184. Dasgupta, U. (Ed.). (2009). Tagore: Selected writings on education and nationalism. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Duflo, E., Rema, H., & Stephen, P. R. (2012). Incentives work: Getting teachers to come to school. American Economic Review, 102(4), 1241–1278. Hall, B. L., & Tandon, R. (2017). Decolonization of knowledge, epistemicide, participatory research and higher education. Research for All, 1(1), 6–19. Kremer, M., Chaudhury, N., Rogers, F. H., Muralidharan, K., & Hammer, J. S. (2005). Teacher absence in India: A snapshot. Journal of the European Economic Association, 3, 658–667. MacNeil, A. J., Prater, D. L., & Busch, S. (2009). The effects of school culture and climate on student achievement. International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice, 12(1), 73–84. Mead, M. (1953). Cultural patterns and technical change. Paris: UNESCO. Muralidharana, K., Das, J., Holla, A., & Mohpal, A. (2017). The fiscal cost of weak governance: Evidence from teacher absence in India. Journal of Public Economics, 145, 116–135. Narayan, D. (2018). Chup: Breaking the silence about India’s women. New Delhi: Juggernaut. NCERT. (2005). National curriculum framework. Retrieved from rightside/links/pdf/framework/english/nf2005.pdf


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Smith, D. (2005). Institutional ethnography: A sociology for people. Lanhan, New York, Toronto, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. Tagore, R. (1919, reprint 2003). The centre of Indian culture. New Delhi: Rupa & Co. Voelkl, K. E. (1995). School warmth, student participation, and achievement. The Journal of Experimental Education, 63(2), 127–138. Wren, D. J. (1999). School culture: Exploring the hidden curriculum. Adolescence, 34(135), 593–596.

10 Teaching and learning in social studies classrooms in Pakistan Takbir Ali and Shahid Karim

Teaching and learning of social studies Social studies is taught in public and private schools across the country from Grades 1–12 as a multidisciplinary compulsory subject. In Grades 1–3, it is taught as part of “General Knowledge” (combined with general science, Islamic studies and ethics/value education for Muslims and non-Muslims respectively). In Grades 4–5, the subject is taught with its generic title i.e. social studies. In Grades 6–8, social studies course is split into geography and history. From Grades 9–12, it is taught as “Pakistan Studies”. In these classes, two other subjects – “history” and “civics” – are taught as elective courses only to the humanities group. Worldwide social studies curriculum is dealt with as a multidisciplinary field of study; Pakistan is no exception. The social studies curriculum has been designed to help children explore and learn information, knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values associated with different social science disciplines such as history, geography, sociology, basic general science, anthropology, archaeology and economics. As mentioned earlier, social studies is taught as a compulsory curriculum subject at all grade levels (Grades 1–12) in government and private schools across the country. At the primary and middle school level, in each grade’s teaching timetable, 35–40 minutes are allocated for teaching and learning of social studies. In secondary and higher secondary level, 40–45 minutes of teaching time is allocated in the timetable for social studies (Pakistan studies) for three days in a week. The social studies curriculum recommends teaching strategies including effective lecture, discussion, cooperative learning and inquiry/investigation, but in the majority of public schools, teachers are neither aware of these strategies nor have skills in the use of child-centred, interactive pedagogies in the classroom (Government of Pakistan, 2006, 2012). By and large, teaching and learning of social studies in schools in general and in public schools in particular remains traditional. This traditional approach to teaching and learning may be characterized as being teacher-centred, where teaching is carried out with a limited purpose of transmission of bookish knowledge through teacher’s lecture and memorization of information by students (Malik, 2012). As pointed out by Anjum (2009), “in a Pakistani setting instruction in public schools is restricted to ‘chalk and talk’ strategy by the teachers and


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the textbook is usually rote learnt and reproduced verbatim by the students in the examinations” (p. 112). In elementary grades, students need to memorize information about concepts directly from their textbooks. This process is in light of the questions provided at the end of a chapter as exercises so that they are able to answer questions asked in the mid-year examination. In secondary and higher secondary grades, however, teachers also help students in preparing notes focused on selected topics which they think are important from the examination point of view. At the same time, there would be exceptional cases in public schools, where teachers use innovative, student-centred pedagogies such as cooperative learning, discussion, group work, and project work, controversy, and so on. Teaching and learning of social studies in middle income and high-income elite schools and trust-based English-medium private schools would look somewhat different from public system schools where teachers engage students in such activities as project work, teacher-guided inquiry, discussion on open-ended questions and out-of-school activities (e.g. community service). These activities are seen to be helpful in promoting critical thinking among students and enabling them to gain a deeper level of understanding into concepts, as well as in inculcating positive attitudes and values in students (Ali, 2014). Students’ active participation in the learning process results in deeper learning of subject matter knowledge. Deeper level learning not only reduces the pressure on students to memorize bookish information for the sake of reproducing it in the examination but also expands their intellectual horizon (Ali, 2017). This enables them to construct their own meaning of concepts and the social issues they experience in their daily lives. Moreover, assessment practices in social studies classrooms in private schools are more systematic, frequent and diverse compared to those used in public schools. In private schools (mostly in middle and high-income elite schools), teachers do use formative, ongoing assessment along with summative assessment. Government school social studies teachers predominantly use summative assessment, where students’ learning is assessed in one-off end-term exams with the purpose to decide about students’ promotion to next grades. A study by Malik (2012) explored if social studies teachers teaching at the secondary level use the teaching methods suggested in the curriculum. The findings of her study suggest that social studies teachers consider memorization of taught concepts as the main objective of the teaching of Pakistan studies. She wrote: Lecture strategy was found the main strategy for the teaching of Pakistan studies at the secondary level. Inquiry or project strategies are usually not used for the teaching of Pakistan Studies, teachers generally do not plan a lesson, they do not use maps or other aids for the teaching of content about location, etc. (p. 6738) The systematic formative assessment practice is almost non-existent in public school social studies classrooms. In exceptional instances, some self-motivated,

Teaching and learning of social studies 133 improvement-oriented teachers sporadically use techniques of formative assessment. Social studies teachers in public schools do not use formative assessment because policy does not oblige schools and teachers to use formative assessment in an institutionalized manner (Ali, 2017). Formative assessment is a laborious, time-intensive activity, without a high level of self- and institutional accountability and motivation, government teachers usually do not commit themselves to such practices. It is because of these differences in the level of teachers’ efforts and approach to teaching and learning in social studies classrooms, students of high-income private schools usually outperform their government counterparts in standardized examinations conducted at Grades 5, 8, and 9–12 both in terms of quantitative (passing percentage) and qualitative (scores/grades) results (Awan & Zia, 2015). It may be pointed out here that during the last two decades, as a result of government-friendly policies towards “privatization” of education coupled with the public’s disenchantment with public schools, there has been a mushroom growth of low-income private schools both in urban and rural areas. The quality of education imparted by the majority of low-income, mediocre private schools is the same or marginally better than the quality offered by the government schools. The quality of teaching and learning in social studies classrooms is the result of a complex interplay of multiple variables. Some of the key input level variables, which are critical in influencing the quality of student learning outcomes, include quality of teachers, quality of curricular material such as textbooks, student assessment and instructional resources. These are briefly discussed next.

Teacher quality There is no second opinion about the paramount importance of the role of a teacher in the teaching and learning process. Quality of student learning hinges upon the quality of teaching, which in turn is dependent on the quality of the teacher. Teacher quality is usually judged in terms of teachers’ knowledge (command over disciplinary knowledge); attitude, which is made up of beliefs, world view, value system (commitment to responsibilities); agency (ability to act as a change agent); motivation and skills, inclusive of communication, pedagogical and technical skills (e.g. ICT skills, management skills). Research in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world has also identified the personal and professional attributes of effective or good quality teacher which broadly resonate with the qualities and competencies highlighted previously (Ali, 2017; Nodding, 2001; Save the Children-UK, 2001). A close scrutiny of research evidence and anecdotal experience about and critical reflection on the overall status of social studies teaching and learning in Pakistan suggest relatively a poor quality teaching force responsible for delivery of social studies education in the country (Anjum, 2009; Dean, 2005; Malik, 2012). A majority of social studies teachers in general and teachers working in the public sector in particular do not fulfil minimum requirements for delivery of quality social studies education at elementary, secondary and higher secondary levels. This applies particularly to those teaching social studies in primary grades


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since they are poorly educated, trained and supported. They are not only deficient in content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge but also exhibit poor self-image and operate on a low level of motivation (Academy of Educational Planning and Management, UNESCO and UNICEF, 2015; Awan & Zia, 2015; Government of Sindh, 2014; Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2016; Government of Pakistan, 2009). To improve the quality of the teaching force, the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, with the help of USAID, introduced a brand new two-year pre-service teacher education programme known as Associate Degree in Education (ADE) and also a four-year BEd (Hons) Elementary programme. Both programmes have been developed based on new trends and global best practices in teacher education. The curricula of these programmes draw on cuttingedge knowledge and research in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world. These programmes were well-received as good innovations in teacher education in the initial period when they were launched. But gradually, they started facing difficulties with implementation. A wide range of factors such as a lack of quality human, structural (physical facilities and ICT resources) and financial resources (flow of funds to support student stipend programme); incompatibility between the curriculum and assessment practices regulated by public sector universities and examination boards and a lack of supervision and monitoring mechanism constrained effective implementation of ADE programme (Ali, 2018). In addition, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan engaged social studies experts from all over the country to develop detailed syllabi and course guides for the four-year BEd (Hons) Elementary and the two-year Associate Degree in Education (ADE). The Course Guide for Teaching Social Studies aimed at helping prospective teachers to: acquire the knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and ideas from the social science disciplines. It also develops skills such as information gathering; interpreting, thinking, and analysing skills; and communication, problem-solving and decision-making skills. In addition to these skills, certain values such as equality, social justice, fairness, and respect for self and diverse opinions are also supported. (Government of Pakistan, 2012, p. 17)

Relevance and quality of curriculum and curricula material The social studies curriculum, in use since 2008, is considered to be a useful document. Drawing on international best practices, it is organized into reasonably formulated, age-appropriate standards, benchmarks and student learning outcomes (SLOs). For the first time, some new themes such as human rights, diversity, technology, gender equity and equality, environmental education, value education, etc. were included in the curriculum. Nevertheless, as pointed out earlier, there is a lot of room for further improvement in the curriculum standards and associated benchmarks and SLOs. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the subject, the existing curriculum needs to be revised in order to make it more

Teaching and learning of social studies 135 inclusive and balanced in its content and bias-free in its approach to presentation and interpretation of social, political and historical issues and concepts. The curriculum predominantly focuses on the academic or knowledge domain; there is a need to balance the curriculum with inclusion of carefully selected content on psychosocial and affective domains.

Textbooks Social studies textbooks prescribed for various grades are considered by teachers as the primary sources of knowledge, ideas and information students need to acquire. The textbooks used by public and private schools are based on the 2006 National Curriculum, which, compared to previous editions, are of better quality in terms of content alignment with curriculum standards, coverage of content (based on SLOs), organization and sequencing of topics, graphic presentation, etc. The textbooks also include instruction for teachers and provide hints for instructional choices. Nevertheless, the textbooks used in different grades need to go a long way to where they become not only a source of reliable knowledge and information but also include material to help promote critical thinking among students. Textbooks hardly contain materials (e.g. unbiased information, exercises and activities) that invite or encourage students to think critically and analyse situations. The information or knowledge they contain should reflect a high degree of objectivity in that the evidence on historical facts and perspectives or viewpoints about and analysis around various historical events and social issues need to be balanced and made free of prejudice of policymakers, textbook writers and other powerful interest groups. There has been severe criticism of social studies textbooks, particularly those printed and used before 2008. The critics particularly blame the military government (1977–1988) for politicizing social studies textbooks. Yielding to certain expediencies, the government tried to “Islamize” or “radicalize” the social studies curriculum in an effort to produce patriotic “mujahedeen” (freedom fighters) to fight against Russian aggression in Afghanistan (Zaidi, 2011). Allegedly, the development of social studies curriculum and textbook was controlled by religiously oriented political parties with whom the then military government formed an alliance. The purpose was to cope with the internal pressure exerted by pro-democratic forces as well as to garner political and other support for the proxy war in Afghanistan. As Anjum (2009) pointed out: By patronizing the political parties with deep seated faith based agendas, the military regime made a concerted effort to interfere with Social Studies curriculum to the extent of distorting history, and adding such elements as fascination of war, dislike for non-Muslims, disregard for female issues, and rejection of progressive thinking. (p. 106) Hashmi (2014) conducted a multidimensional content analysis on Grades 9–10 social studies textbooks published by the Sindh Textbook Board, using a


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tool comprising four broader dimensions: the relationship between content and material of the textbook; instructions and the properties of the materials; the role of the teacher and the role of the students and publishing details of the textbook. The study reported quite a few similarities between the national curriculum objectives and the selected content in the textbooks. But, by and large, the content selected in the textbooks generally appears to be meaningless for classroom teaching. There are errors in the statistical data and the information given in the textbooks. The textbooks do not include good illustrations and figures to help arouse students’ interest in the material. The author further observes that content presented in the textbooks is of poor quality; the syllabi is extensive but very little information has been provided to explain concepts. Moreover, there is no teacher guide available to assist the teachers in pedagogy, no information is given or described anywhere in the content on teaching methodology, assessment criteria. She concluded her observation with these words: Overall the quality of the content of the textbook is below average and also fails to gauge the attention of the teachers as well as the students . . . most of the content is not aligned with the objectives. There is a vast gap in the broad objectives set and the content selected to achieve those targets. The matter of the textbook is limited to knowledge level only. Activities in the chapters are also quite negligible. The students are unable to figure out the purpose of their studies through shared content. (p. 71) Similarly, Zaidi (2011) looked at the evolution of the social studies curricula in Pakistan, more from a political and ontological point of view. He argued that in Pakistan education in general and social studies curricula in particular was aimed at dissemination of specific ideologies. Historiography has been used as a dividing force and as a tool to shape the world views of generations. Likewise, summarizing the findings from the content analysis of social studies textbooks undertaken by different authors, Anjum (2009) noted that much of the material presented in the textbooks is counter-productive to efforts aimed at national integration. The content by itself makes it difficult for the teachers to develop critical and analytical thinking skills in students. Above all, “the books on social studies systematically misrepresent events that have happened throughout the Pakistan’s history, including those which are within living memory of many people” (p. 108), Anjum argues.

Student assessment Assessment is yet another important variable directly linked with the quality of student learning. There is a vast body of literature on assessment methods, including summative and formative assessment practices and their role in student learning. The literature distinguishes between assessment of learning and assessment for learning (e.g. Clarke, 2011; Harlen & James, 2006). Summative

Teaching and learning of social studies 137 assessment is mainly concerned with the assessment of learning while formative assessment aims at assessment for learning. In Pakistan, certain assessment strategies have been recommended in the social studies curriculum, including use of constructed response (MCQs), selected response (ERQs, essay-type questions), teacher observation and self-assessment (formative assessment). As stated earlier, however, assessment in schools, particularly in public schools, is predominantly summative. Formative assessment practices, with varying degrees and ways, are used in middle and high-income, elite private schools. Social studies teachers in mainstream public schools are far away from the use of formative assessment techniques in their classroom. The present-day federal government, while pushing for development and execution of a uniform national curriculum, is also trying to reform the student assessment system in conformity with the goals and the standards of the proposed single national curriculum. Public and private schools have internal assessment systems for primary (1–5) and middle (6 & 7) grades. In the public sector, for Grades 5 and 8, standardized examinations are conducted mid-year and end-of-year by ancillary departments (Examination and Assessment Commission, Directorate of Curriculum, Assessment and Research), working under Provincial Educational and Literacy Departments. Government examination boards conduct examinations for Grades 9–12, both for public schools and private school students. A private examination board was established for the first time by the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan in 2002. It provides international-quality examination service comparable with the Cambridge International Examination System managed by the British Council. The Aga Khan University-Examination Board (AKU-EB) conducts examination from Grades 9–12 mainly for private schools. Recently, another private University (Ziauddin University, Karachi, Pakistan) has established an examination board. The high stakes examinations conducted by the public sector boards (each major city in each province has an examination board) for secondary and higher secondary students have been subject to severe criticism. These terminal examinations held for secondary and higher secondary (Grades 9–12) require students to sit for three-hours long examinations. Students are required to write their responses, mainly focused on the reproduction of facts and information from the textbooks they have memorized. On the scale of Bloom Taxonomy, the majority of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and extended response questions (ERQs) asked in these high stake examinations is pitched at knowledge level competency. The questionnaires hardly include items requiring demonstration of creative and critical thinking – asking students to analyze a problem (social issue) and propose a solution. There is no provision for assessment of attitude and skill level competencies in these examinations. There is an urgent need not only to improve the quality of assessment tools but also the entire examination system needs a “bigtime” overhauling. The examination system controlled by government examination boards is rife with numerous flaws, and there is an urgent need to rectify these problems by bringing radical reform in the examination system, both at primary and secondary level (Rind & Malik, 2019).


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Instructional resources Instructional resources, including audio-visual aids, library resources and technology-based resources, play an important role in effective teaching and learning in social studies classrooms. Being an interdisciplinary subject, the teaching of social studies needs to integrate learning about concepts from across subjects of natural and social sciences and humanities. Therefore, to make teaching and learning interactive, activity-based and child-centred in social studies classrooms, teachers need a variety of instructional resources. Most of the public schools, the majority in rural areas, have neither instructional resources nor teachers working in these school have the awareness about the importance of the use of instructional resources in teaching social studies. Even if teachers get some basic resources such as maps, globes, atlas, cultural artefacts, newspapers and charts, they do not make the best use of them (Ali, 2017). The infrequent use of teaching aids in social studies classrooms appears to be a phenomenon deeply entrenched in school culture. Given the integrated nature of the subject, social studies teachers need to draw upon a large variety of teaching and learning material usually categorized into print materials (e.g. textbooks, newspapers, magazines, brochures, maps, pictures, atlas); non-print and technology-based resources (computer, CDs, internet, databases, encyclopaedias, films, videotapes, YouTube videos, slides, audio tape, real objects, television, etc.); resource materials available in the local environment (people, biodiversity, transport system); community resources (community, libraries, museums, historical places, archaeological heritage sites, etc.). Teacher education and professional development programmes need to take cognizance of the need for enhancing teachers’ awareness about and their skills in development, collection and use of a variety of resources and instructional materials in their classrooms.

Challenges to improving quality of social studies education There are numerous challenges to improving the quality of social studies education in Pakistan. These may be classified into macro- and micro-challenges. The macro-level challenges are rooted in policies related to curriculum, student assessment, teacher recruitment, educational governance, provision of structural and material resources, policy implementation, and parental and community involvement and so on. The micro-level challenges emanate from daily routines and situations faced by teachers and students on a regular basis, such as lack of structural and material resources, multi-grade and multi-age teaching and learning situations (1–2 teachers teaching all primary grades in schools having 1–2 classrooms) prevalent in 60 per cent of public schools in the country. Teacher quality is inherently connected with teacher recruitment, development and accountability. The entire system of teacher recruitment, teacher education and development and accountability system is replete with flaws, loopholes and deficiencies (Ali, 2017).

Teaching and learning of social studies 139 In a nutshell, the public school system is engulfed by a plethora of problems. Many of these problems, particularly the challenges associated with the “quality” of educational inputs and provisions, appear to be rooted in the “big problem”, which is “low status” given to “primary education” in the country. Primary education, being the foundation of the entire education system, needs best efforts in terms of investment and governance. Primary education in the public system in Pakistan remains to be the most underserved and disadvantaged sector which severely lacks quality human resource (academically and professionally qualified, personally motivated and committed headteachers and teachers) as well as physical resources and facilities. The situation is further exacerbated by poor school supervision and monitoring system. This underscores the need for policy advocacy to raise awareness towards the importance of primary education system in the country. The quality of primary education imparted by English-medium private schools in general and high-income elite schools in particular is far better compared to public sector schools. The better quality primary education imparted by the private sector schools (both non-profit and commercial-based) is attributable to the quality of inputs including quality of teachers, school governance (better management and accountability), provision of structural and material resources and improved assessment practices. All the above factors lead to a situation where there is a disconnect between the education imparted to students through the teaching of social studies in schools and application of this education by students in their real life. Social studies education, which is a combination of knowledge, attitudes and skills, needs to be closely and deeply connected with students’ practical life and the needs of the society. The social studies curriculum and the way it is implemented by teachers in their classroom is geared more towards the transmission of disciplinary knowledge rather than on inculcation of values and attitudes and development of social skills and civic capabilities among students. There may not be a simple prescription to achieving such high outcomes for social studies education in Pakistan. Improving social studies education will require concerted and sustained efforts at various levels. In a broader sense, this may include policy reform (e.g. making education in general and primary education in particular the top priority of the political government/leadership), governance reform, curricular reform (curriculum planning and implementation) and reform in teacher education and professional development system.

Summary and recommendations Social studies curriculum in Pakistan is multidisciplinary in that it integrates content from subjects associated with humanities and social sciences. As perceived elsewhere, social studies education in Pakistan is mainly concerned with citizenship education, aiming at preparing the younger generation for their active and productive participation in the life of the community. In order to be able to meet these expectations, students not only need to acquire certain set of skills, social capabilities and attitudes but they are also expected to demonstrate the critical


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ability to reflect on their own beliefs and values objectively. This vision of social studies education, emphasized in the national curriculum and policy documents, necessitates making student learning outcomes as well as teaching and learning activities and assessment practices responsive to the need of preparing informed and productive citizenship. Socio-cultural, ethnic, religious and geographic diversities make Pakistan an exemplary pluralistic society and a rich context for the delivery of social studies education. These diversities need to be appreciated and celebrated if the country aims to transform various communities, ethnic, political and socio-economic groups into a vibrant, optimistic, inclusive and forward-looking cohesive civil society. Social studies education can be used not only as the conduit for the transmission of social knowledge, values, norms and attitudes to the younger generations but it should also serve as a means to create a peaceful pluralistic society, which is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable social cohesion and formation of national identity (Zaman, 2008). The quality of teaching and learning of social studies across grades does not conform to the vision and objectives of social studies education described in the curriculum and other policy documents. The quality of teaching and learning and relevant arrangements in public and private schools differ. The quality of teaching and learning of social studies in public schools is severely constrained by several challenges, ranging from teacher quality to student assessment policy and practice. In recent times, the social studies curriculum and textbooks have been improved a great deal; nevertheless, the Pakistani experience suggests that no matter how good the curriculum is, if there are no good teachers to implement the curriculum, the net outcome is zero. Based on these observations, few recommendations are made towards enhancing the status of social studies education in Pakistan in general and improving teaching and learning in the subject in particular. Most of the macro-level problems pertain to the gaps between curriculum development and its implementation. Inter alia, these problems include allocation of little or no resources, a lack of compatibility between assessment practices and curriculum and poor teacher quality and teacher training (Jabbar, 2016). Though the curriculum seeks to develop “students’ analytical and critical capabilities and broaden their vision” (Government of Pakistan, 2006), this continues to remain a lofty rhetoric. Little or no arrangement is made is public schools to achieve this goal. In an increasingly complex and globalized world, there is a need for a changeoriented, progressive social studies education, which can be ensured through improving the quality of inputs at all levels, including curriculum, textbooks, teachers, pedagogy and assessment. Change-driven progressive approach to social studies education in Pakistan, inter alia, needs to focus on the development of deeper awareness about civic rights and responsibilities as well as human rights in local and global contexts. The concept of human rights in the world has evolved over centuries. There has been significant progress in the understanding of the nature, base and breadth of human rights worldwide; therefore being part of the interconnected global world and aspiring for a democratic system of government,

Teaching and learning of social studies 141 Pakistan needs to revisit its constitutional framework and public policies dealing with the subject of human rights. Understanding of broad-based human rights today essentially includes the right to live a peaceful life; access to education and health services; equal opportunities for business and development; gender equity and equality; participation in the democratic process and removal of other socioeconomic disparities based on cast, ethnicity, creed and other social identities. These concepts of human rights have been stressed in international declarations, including the Charter of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. The Social Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community also reflect a high degree of emphasis on these rights. Education is the best pathway to achieving all these ideals. History, social awareness, cultural heritage and social norms and values constitute the core part of social studies education. It does not matter what history, cultural heritage and social values and norms are taught, but it matters a lot why and how these concepts are taught to the younger generation. An enlightened and progressive approach to teaching history and culture to children considers them dynamic and ever-evolving concepts rather than treating these a basket of absolute truths. The progressive philosophy of social studies education supports the view that human affairs, activities, behaviour, thinking, struggle, development, and challenges need to be understood in their historical perspectives and within the circumstances that existed in the past (Ahmad, 2020). It is inappropriate to insist on fitting the meanings from past human experiences to the current situation; this is what is happening in social studies classrooms in majority of schools in the country. The social system and structure are the product of their time. These things may lose their importance and relevance to the contemporary world, therefore, repeating those things or attempting to bring them back would not be beneficial. Instead, we can use the past human experiences to learn lessons such as why have there been human living and activities in a particular period of time, why people were successful and why not in their endeavours to make their world peaceful, prosperous and beautiful (Ahmad, 2020). Social studies education in Pakistan needs to be inspired by this progressive philosophy. Curriculum, curricular material (e.g. textbooks, teacher guide, etc.) and teacher education need to be aligned with the progressive philosophy of social studies education. This will help a great deal in the smooth social integration of youth into the society in order to respond to the massive challenges caused by diverse needs of the burgeoning youth population in the country (Ashraf, Ali, & Husain, 2013). As a backdrop to these, the governments (federals and provincial) need to genuinely recognize the fact that owing to its vital role in the development of active, informed and enlightened future citizens, social studies education needs to be reformed radically. According to Zaidi (2011, p. 43), “social studies curricula in Pakistan need to undergo an urgent transformative process of making them more objective so that they can stimulate intellect as well as counter radicalisation tendencies”. Reforming social studies education would inevitably require seeking a radical shift in the philosophy underlying social studies education at all levels. The longstanding trend of the state using social studies education in Pakistan as a tool to


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dogmatize students with distorted historical facts and contested ideological interpretation to produce “patriotic” or “subservient” citizens needs to be revisited. Instead, social studies education should aim at developing students’ “agency” in thinking critically and rationally so that they are able to analyse social and political issues and phenomena from multiple perspectives, to reach an understanding and make informed decisions for themselves as well as for the society in which they live. This approach to social studies education will have implications for the renewal of social studies curriculum and the variety of factors involved in the implementation of the curriculum. Pakistan has a multitude of cultures and a wide range of topographical diversities (Anjum, 2009). The policymakers and those who implement the policies at different levels need to genuinely recognize this fact and make deliberate efforts to assimilate pluralistic outlook and socio-cultural diversities into the curriculum that is actually implemented in the classroom. A critical look at the content, organization and the ideological approach to the curriculum standards suggests that the curriculum is comprehensive as far as coverage of disciplinary themes is concerned. Nevertheless, there is a need to make the social studies curriculum for different grades ideologically more balanced, thematically more inclusive, socially more progressive and emancipatory in terms of approaches to dealing with social issues, contemporary challenges faced at local, national and international levels. In view of the growing importance of the kind of competencies required by students to live a balanced and successful life in the contemporary challenging, complex, competitive and globalized world, there is a need for the social studies curriculum to place more and clearer emphasis on the standards associated with these types of topics. Various inputs into social studies education, ranging from teacher quality to the provision of resources, need to be improved. Teachers in every analysis in education stand out to be the most powerful and direct influence on student learning outcomes. The federal government, as well as the provincial governments, should work to improve “the quality of social studies teachers” comprehensively by simultaneously enhancing the status of primary school teachers, making and implementing merit-based teacher recruitment policy, improving the quality of pre-service teacher education and in-service training and enforcing teacher accountability system. Last but not least, primary education is the foundation of the education system. Without strengthening the foundation, the quality of school education or social studies education for that matter cannot be improved. The government of Pakistan and the provincial governments need to invest in primary education and improve the overall status of primary education in the country. Without improving the status of primary education in the country, quality improvement and development in education in general and in social studies education in particular will remain a utopian dream. In the face of all odds and challenges discussed in the chapter, reforming or transforming social studies education in the manner described earlier would be a highly complex and uphill task. It may not be achieved through shallow

Teaching and learning of social studies 143 promises, quick fixes or short-term strategies. It will need long-term strategies by educational providers (public and private systems) and systematic and sustained efforts on the part of all stakeholders involved in the delivery of education. These efforts, by the education providers and individuals, however, need to be driven by a cohesive vision that idealizes the processes (inputs) and outcomes of social studies education.

Bibliography Academy of Educational Planning and Management, UNESCO and UNICEF (2015). Pakistan education for all review report. Islamabad: UNESCO. Retrieved from Ahmad, S. J. (2020, March 23). Globalization, culture and progressive education literature. The Daily Jang [Translated]. Ali, B. (2018). Exploring experiences of key stakeholders of the new BEd (Hons) Elementary. Programme in a Public Sector University and a Government Elementary College of Education in Karachi, Pakistan. Unpublished Master of Philosophy in Education (MPhil) Thesis, Aga Khan University-Institute for Educational Development, Karachi, Pakistan. Ali. T. (2014). Developing teacher leadership: A multifaceted approach to bringing about improvement in rural elementary schools in Pakistan. Professional Development in Education, 40(3), 352–375. Ali, T. (2017). Raising teachers’ voices: An in-depth qualitative inquiry into teachers’ working conditions and professional developments needs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the province of Pakistan. An International Journal of Teachers’ Development, 21(4), 1–27. Anjum, R. (2009). Social studies curriculum in elementary public schools of Pakistan. Journal of Research and Reflections in Education, 3(2), 103–122. Ashraf, D., Ali, T., & Husain, A. (2013). Youth development and education in Pakistan: Exploring relationship. Sisyphus Journal of Education, 1(2), 162–192. Awan, A. G., & Zia, A. (2015). Comparative analysis of public and private educational institutions: A case study of district Vehari-Pakistan. Journal of Education and Practice, 16(6), 122–130. Clarke, M. (2011). Framework for building an effective student assessment system: READ/SABER. Working Group. Retrieved from ED553178.pdf Dean, B. L. (2005). Citizenship education in Pakistani schools: Problems and possibilities. International Journal of Citizenship and Teacher Education, 1(2), 35–55. Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (2016). Education sector programme: Elementary and secondary education department. Peshawar, Pakistan. Retrieved from www. Government of Pakistan. (2006). National curriculum of social studies 2006 (Grade IX–X). Islamabad: Ministry of Education. Government of Pakistan. (2009). National education policy 2009. Ministry of Education, Islamabad, Pakistan. Retrieved from National_Education_Policy_2009.pdf Government of Pakistan. (2012). Teaching social studies course guide Associate Degree in Education/B.Ed. (Hons) Elementary. Higher Education Commission, Islamabad, Pakistan.


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Government of Sindh. (2014). Sindh education sector plan. Department of Education and Literacy, Karachi, Pakistan. Retrieved from Contents/Menu/Final%20SESP.pd Harlen, W., & James, M. (2006). Assessment and learning: Differences and relationships between formative and summative assessment. Journal of Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 4(3), 365–379. 10.1080/0969594970040304 Hashmi, K. (2014). Content analysis of the provincial Pakistan studies textbook for class IX–X. Journal of Education and Social Sciences, 2(1), 67–77. Jabbar, A. (2016). National curriclum-2006: Scheme of studies (slides). Retrieved from Malik, S. K. (2012). Teaching of Pakistan Studies at secondary level: A review. Elixir Social Studies, 43(1), 6738–6745. Nodding, N. (2001). The caring teacher. In V. Richardson (Ed.). Handbook of research on teaching (99–105). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association. Rind, I., & Malik, A. (2019). The examination trends at the secondary and higher secondary level in Pakistan. Social Science and Humanities Open, 1(1), 1–6. https:// Save the Children-UK. (2001). What makes a good teacher? Perspectives of children, parents and teachers. Lahore: Institute of Social Sciences. Zaidi, S. M. A. (2011). Polarisation of social studies textbooks in Pakistan. The Curriculum Journal, 22(1), 43–59. Zaman, A. (2008). On improving social science education in Pakistan. Lahore Journal of Policy Studies, 2(1), 125–134. Retrieved from publication/23542988_On_Improving_Social_Science_Education_in_Pakistan

11 Civic and citizenship education in Bangladesh Miron Kumar Bhowmik, Goutam Roy and Foujia Sultana

Introduction Citizens’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities, their active engagement with societies’ principles and institutions and their ability to make critical judgement are important features of a well-functioning jurisdiction (Schulz et al., 2018). Many job sectors also consider civic competencies such as possessing knowledge about the changes in the society, intercultural skills, ethical judgement, social responsibility, humanitarian values, as well as the civic engagement as essential skills (OECD, 2015). Therefore, over the last few decades, civic and citizenship education has become an important area of study for school students all over the world with an aim to make them “good” and responsible citizens. Civic and citizenship education seeks to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions so that they can meaningfully engage as citizens in the society (Schulz et al., 2018). The design and delivery of civic and citizenship education is context specific and affected by the contextual factors such as historical tradition, geographical position, socio-political structure, economic system and global trends (Kerr, 1999). Internationally, some countries provide civic and citizenship education as a separate school subject, while others integrate it in the social studies education school subject or infuse it in the entire curriculum and subjects, following a cross-curricular approach. Bangladesh has a long tradition of providing social studies education for its school students as we explored in Chapter 4. This chapter discusses civic and citizenship education in Bangladesh with particular focus on its inclusion and coverage in education policy, curriculum and textbooks from primary through higher secondary levels and actual classroom practices. The IEA International Civic and Citizenship Study (ICCS) 2016 assessment framework (Schulz et al., 2016) informed our investigation. Employing a qualitative research approach based on document analysis and interviews with teachers, we sought to identify what prominence is given to civic and citizenship education and if any mismatch exists between the intended and implemented curriculum. We first analyzed national education policy, curriculum and textbooks related to civic and citizenship education to comprehend their intention, focus and scope. Second, interviews with four teachers were carried out to understand actual classroom practices.


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In the next sections, we will first discuss the ICCS 2016 assessment framework that will be followed by a description of methodology and methods adopted in this study. We will then discuss how civic and citizenship education is reflected in the education policy, curriculum and textbooks at various education levels. The findings from the interviews with the teachers will be presented afterwards. The concluding section will discuss the implications of the findings at the levels of curriculum policy, classroom practices and teacher education.

Civic and citizenship education: a theoretical framework The scope of civic and citizenship education is broad and depends on the country context. The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) provided an assessment framework as well as definitions of some key concepts related to civic and citizenship education (Schulz et al., 2016). They considered both the cognitive domain and affective-behavioural domain. The cognitive domain focused on knowing information or content with understanding and applying these to a new situation. On the other hand, the affective-behavioural domain emphasized the attitude of the students and their engagement in societies. To define the components of civic and citizenship education, the structure of the ICCS 2016 assessment framework contains four domains including civic society and system, civic principles, civic participation and civic identities. These domains are divided into 12 sub-domains. Figure 11.1 illustrates the four domains and 12 sub-domains. The domain civic society and systems refers to “formal and informal mechanisms and organizations that underpin both the civic contracts that citizens have with their societies and the functioning of the societies themselves” (Schulz et al., 2016, p. 15). It has three sub-domains including citizens, state institutions and civil institutions. The sub-domain citizens covers the roles, rights, responsibilities and engagement of both individuals and groups of citizens within their respective civic society. The sub-domain state institutions deals with the organizations responsible for the process and enactment of civic governance and legislation.

CD 1: Civic society and systems • Citizens  State institutions  Civil institutions

CD 2: Civic principles  Equity  Freedom  The sense of community  Rule of law

CD 3: Civic participation  Decision-making  Influencing  Community participation

CD 4: Civic identities  Civic self-image  Civic connectedness

Figure 11.1 Four domains and 12 sub-domains of civic and citizenship education Source: International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2016 (Schulz et al., 2016, pp. 15–22).

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Legislatures/parliaments, governments, judiciaries, law enforcement bodies, electoral commissions, etc. are some examples of the state institutions. The subdomain civil institutions focuses on the organizations that mediate the contact between citizens and the state institutions. Political parties, trade unions, schools, religious institutions, NGOs, cultural organizations, etc. are some examples of the civil institutions. The second domain civic principles refers to “the shared ethical foundations of civic societies” (Schulz et al., 2016, p. 18). It has four sub-domains including equity, freedom, the sense of community and rule of law. The sub-domain equity focuses on people’s equality in the society and people have the right to be treated fairly and in a just manner. The sub-domain freedom seeks to ensure varieties of freedom (i.e., freedom of belief, freedom of speech, freedom from fear and freedom from want) as stipulated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948). The sub-domain sense of community upholds people’s sense of belonging to the societies. The sub-domain rule of law focuses on the people’s and institutions’ recognition of and accountability to laws that are promulgated to protect human rights and are aligned with international standards and norms. Civic participation, the third domain, refers to “the manifestations of individuals’ actions in their communities” (Schulz et al., 2016, p. 20). It has three sub-domains including decision-making, influencing and community participation. The sub-domain decision-making is the active participation or engagement of people in implementation of policy or practices. To affect policies, practices and attitudes, the sub-domain influencing deals with the actions such as engaging in public debate, advocacy, policy development, corruption recognizing, etc. The sub-domain community participation covers volunteering, participation in organization and information acquisition for the benefit of the community. The fourth and last domain civic identities refers to an “individual’s civic roles and perceptions of these roles” (Schulz et al., 2016, p. 21). It has two subdomains including civic self-image and civic connectedness. The sub-domain civic self-image focuses on an individual’s understanding, attitude and management of civic and citizenship values and roles. The sub-domain civic connectedness deals with an individual’s connectivity with civic communities and an individual’s different civic roles. To understand the scope and coverage of civic and citizenship education in the education policy, curriculum and textbooks of Bangladesh, we adopted the framework described earlier. The framework also helped us understand how a sample of teachers conceptualized civic and citizenship education in Bangladesh and their actual classroom practices.

Methodology and methods We adopted qualitative research methodology (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000), and the research was carried out in two phases. In the first phase, we conducted


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documents analysis (Bowen, 2009, p. 27) to review and evaluate literature on the contents of civic and citizenship education. After selecting the ICCS 2016 assessment framework (Schulz et al., 2016), the latest education policy, curriculum and textbooks related to civic and citizenship education at primary, junior secondary, secondary and higher secondary levels were reviewed and analyzed. The curriculum and textbooks are Bangladesh and global studies (Grade III–Grade X), civics and citizenship (Grade IX–Grade X), and civics and good governance (Grade XI–Grade XII). In the second phase of data collection, we interviewed (Fontana & Frey, 1994) four teachers who were engaged in teaching civic and citizenship education related subjects for at least five years. Of them two were male and two were female. The teachers were purposively selected from urban schools. More details about the participants are provided later in the “Civic and citizenship education: reflection from interviews with teachers” section. We used a semi-structured questionnaire to understand how the teachers conceptualize civic and citizenship education and their actual classroom practices. Informed by Schulz et al. (2016), a total of nine questions was developed for the interview. Some follow-up questions were also asked based on participants’ responses. Due to the lockdown situation for the COVID-19 pandemic, the second author, with the help of a research assistant, conducted the interviews over telephone in July–August 2020, and the interviews were recorded. The objectives of the interview were explained to the participants, and they were assured about the confidentiality and anonymity of the data. The interviews were carried out only after receiving participants’ consents. To ensure smooth communication and sharing ideas clearly, all the interviews were conducted in Bengali and then transcribed and translated into English. The average length of each interview was 45 minutes. After gathering all the interviews, the responses were analyzed thematically. The mixing of inductive and deductive approaches, meaning a hybrid approach of thematic analysis, was followed for data analysis which allowed using of both the pre-defined themes and new themes from the data (Fereday & MuirCochrane, 2006).

Civic and citizenship education in education policy, curriculum and textbooks National Education Policy 2010 (MoE, 2010), curriculum (NCTB, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c) and textbooks (NCTB, 2019a, 2019b, 2019c, 2019d, 2019e, 2019f, 2019g, 2019h) from primary through higher secondary education levels were analyzed to understand the scope and coverage of civic and citizenship education following Schulz et al. (2016). We first discuss how civic and citizenship education is reflected in the general aims and objectives of the education policy, followed by specific contents at different education levels including primary, junior secondary, secondary and higher secondary levels. As mentioned previously, the ICCS 2016 assessment framework has four domains and 12 subdomains. We present the contents of civic and citizenship education according to domains and sub-domains for each education level in tabular format.

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Education policy The National Education Policy 2010 aims to cultivate human values among citizens so as to prepare them as leaders for pro-people development programmes and the progress of the society (MoE, 2010). There are 30 general aims and objectives of education mentioned in the document, of which many are related to civic and citizenship education (p. 8–9). Broadly, education seeks to develop knowledge, attitudes, skills and dispositions among the students in the areas related to constitutional guarantee of education for all; moral, human, cultural, scientific and social values; freedom, sovereignty and integrity of Bangladesh; liberation war values; patriotism, nationalism and good citizenship qualities; national history, tradition and culture; human rights; equality; tolerance; discrimination; etc. This is reflected in the curriculum and textbooks related to civic and citizenship education at various education levels.

Primary education Civic and citizenship education is provided through a subject called “Bangladesh and global studies” which is compulsory for all students from Grade III to Grade V (NCTB, 2012a, 2019a, 2019b, 2019c). Bangladesh and global studies provides social studies education in an integrated manner by incorporating contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. Table 11.1 illustrates that the contents of civic and citizenship education in the Bangladesh and global studies subject at the primary level can be categorized under the first two domains including civic society and systems and civic principles as defined by Schulz et al. (2016). The contents are covered by two sub-domains of each of the first and second domains. None of the contents at the primary level is classified under civic participation and civic identities domains.

Table 11.1 Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Primary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Domains



Civic society and systems


The rights of citizens; our duties and responsibilities National flag and anthem of Bangladesh; various national days of Bangladesh; our Bangladesh Democratic attitude Our history and culture; British rule; our liberation war; the father of our nation; historical monuments in Bangladesh; developing our locality; Bangladesh in world politics

State institutions Civic principles

Equity The sense of community


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Contents such as “the rights of citizen and our duties and responsibilities” can be classified under citizens sub-domain as these highlight the roles, rights and responsibilities of Bangladeshi citizens. “National flag and anthem of Bangladesh and various national days of Bangladesh” can be categorized under the state institutions sub-domain as these illustrate the state’s affairs. “Democratic attitude” can be classified under the sub-domain equity as it focuses on people’s equality in political attitude. “Our history and culture; British rule; our liberation war; the father of our nation; historical monuments in Bangladesh” can be categorized under the sub-domain the sense of community which highlights the shared history of Bangladeshi citizens that may help develop the sense of belonging to the society.

Junior secondary education Similar to primary, civic and citizenship education at the junior secondary level is provided through the Bangladesh and global studies subject, which is compulsory for all students from Grade VI to Grade VIII (NCTB, 2012b, 2019d, 2019e, 2019f). Bangladesh and global studies provides social studies education in an integrated manner by incorporating contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. Table 11.2 illustrates that the contents of civic and citizenship education in the Bangladesh and global studies subject at the junior secondary level can be categorized under the first two domains including civic society and systems and civic principles following Schulz et al. (2016). The contents are covered by two sub-domains of the first domain and one sub-domain of the second domain. None of the contents at the junior secondary level is classified under civic participation and civic identities domains. Contents such as “Bangladesh and her citizens; rights of children in Bangladesh; rights of senior citizens and women in Bangladesh” can be classified under the citizens sub-domain as these highlight the description of Bangladeshi citizens

Table 11.2 Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Junior Secondary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Domains



Civic society and systems


Bangladesh and her citizens; rights of children in Bangladesh; rights of senior citizens and women in Bangladesh Election system of Bangladesh; Bangladesh: state and government system; Bangladesh and regional cooperation; some countries in Asia; Bangladesh and international cooperation; sustainable development goals Bangladesh and world civilization; history of Bangladesh; liberation movement of Bangladesh

State institutions

Civic principles

The sense of community

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and their roles, rights and responsibilities with specific focus on children, senior citizens and women. “Election system of Bangladesh; Bangladesh: state and government system; Bangladesh and regional cooperation; some countries in Asia; Bangladesh and international cooperation; sustainable development goals” can be categorized under the state institutions sub-domain as these illustrate the state’s affairs and its relationship with the regional, international and supranational organizations. “Bangladesh and world civilization; history of Bangladesh; liberation movement of Bangladesh” can be classified under the sub-domain the sense of community as these highlight the shared history of Bangladeshi citizens that may help develop their connectedness with the society.

Secondary education Civic and citizenship education at the secondary level is provided through the “Bangladesh and global studies” subject which is compulsory for the science stream students from Grade IX to Grade X (NCTB, 2012b, 2019g). Students in the business studies stream also have the option to study Bangladesh and global studies as an optional subject. Similar to primary and junior secondary levels, Bangladesh and global studies provides social studies education in an integrated manner by incorporating contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. Additionally, students in the humanities stream study civics and citizenship subject as a compulsory or optional subject (NCTB, 2019h). Table 11.3 illustrates that the contents of civic and citizenship education in the Bangladesh and global studies and civics and citizenship subjects at the secondary level can be categorized under four domains including civic society and systems, civic principles, civic participation and civic identities Schulz et al. (2016). The contents are covered by all three sub-domains of the first domain, all four sub-domains of the second domain and one subdomain for each of the third and fourth domains. Contents such as “Civics and citizenship; citizen and citizenship” can be classified under the citizen sub-domain as these highlight the conception of civics, citizenship and the roles, rights and responsibilities of citizens. “Bangladesh and international organizations; state and system of government; constitution; government system of Bangladesh; local government system in Bangladesh; the organs of Bangladesh; government and the administrative systems; the democracy of Bangladesh and the election; the United Nations and Bangladesh; sustainable development goals (SDGs)” can be categorized under the state institutions sub-domain as these illustrate the state departments responsible for civic governance and the state’s relationship with the international and supranational organizations. “Political parties and election in democracy” can be classified under the civil institutions sub-domain as it highlights the role of political parties in mediating the relationship between citizens and state institutions. “Law, liberty and equality” can be classified under three sub-domains equity, freedom and rule of law as it illustrates the equality of citizens and freedom are safeguarded by law. “The independence of Bangladesh; the political movement in East Bengal


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Table 11.3 Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Secondary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Domains



Civic society and systems

Citizens State institutions

Civics and citizenship; citizen and citizenship Bangladesh and international organizations; state and system of government; constitution; government system of Bangladesh; local government system in Bangladesh; the organs of Bangladesh; government and the administrative systems; the democracy of Bangladesh and the election; the United Nations and Bangladesh; sustainable development goals (SDGs) Political parties and election in democracy

Civic principles

Civil institutions Equity Freedom The sense of community


Law, liberty and equality Law, liberty and equality The independence of Bangladesh, the political movement in East Bengal and the rise of nationalism The state, citizenship and law; law, liberty and equality Problems of citizens and what should we do

Civic self-image

Civic consciousness in the emergence of Bangladesh

Rule of law Civic participation Civic identities

and the rise of nationalism” can be classified under the sub-domain the sense of community as these highlight the shared history of Bangladesh that may help develop its citizens’ sense of belonging to the country. “The state, citizenship and law” can be classified under the sub-domain rule of law as it illustrates how Bangladesh and its citizenries are governed by the laws. “Problems of citizens and what should we do” can be categorized under the sub-domain influencing as it highlights how citizens’ participations in certain civic issues may influence changes. “Civic consciousness in the emergence of Bangladesh” can be classified under the sub-domain civic self-image as it illustrates citizens’ understanding and attitude of citizenship values and roles.

Higher secondary education Civic and citizenship education at the higher secondary level is mainly provided through civics and good governance subject for the humanities stream students from Grade XI to Grade XII (NCTB, 2012c). Students can choose this subject as a compulsory or optional subject. Students in the music stream may also choose civics and good governance as a compulsory or optional subject. Students in the science, business studies, Islamic studies and home economics streams

Civic and citizenship education


do not have an option of studying civics and good governance subject. Table 11.4 illustrates the contents of civic and citizenship education in the civics and good governance subject at the higher secondary level can be categorized under four domains including civic society and systems, civic principles, civic participation and civic identities following Schulz et al. (2016). The contents are covered by all three sub-domains of the first domain, all four sub-domains of the second domain and one sub-domain of each of the third and fourth domains. Contents such as “citizen’s rights and responsibilities and human rights” can be classified under the citizen sub-domain as these highlight citizens’ roles, rights and responsibilities in light of human rights. “Civics and introduction to good governance; good governance; e-governance and good governance; government structure and bodies of government; public service and bureaucracy; constitution of Bangladesh; Bangladesh and administrative structure; local government; constitutional organisations; electoral system of Bangladesh; foreign policies of Bangladesh” can be categorized under the state institutions sub-domain as these illustrate government structure, constitutional bodies and other government departments responsible for governmental functions and the ways good governance can be ensured. It also highlights the government’s foreign policies. “Political parties, leadership and good governance” can be classified under Table 11.4 Civic and Citizenship Education Contents in Higher Secondary Curriculum and Textbooks in Bangladesh Domains



Civic society and systems


Citizens’ rights and responsibilities and human rights civics and introduction of good governance; good governance; e-governance and good governance; government structure and bodies of government; public service and bureaucracy; constitution of Bangladesh; Bangladesh and administrative structure; local government; constitutional organisations; electoral system of Bangladesh; foreign policies of Bangladesh Political parties, leadership and good governance Values, laws, freedom and equity Values, laws, freedom and equity Patriotism and nationality; growth of representative government in British India and division of India; from Pakistan to Bangladesh (1947–1971); memorable political figures (up to 1971) Values, laws, freedom and equity Citizens’ problems and what we have to do; public opinion and culture of politics Values, laws, freedom and equity

State institutions

Civil institutions Civic principles

Civic participation Civic identities

Equity Freedom The sense of community

Rule of law Influencing Civic self-image


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the civil institutions sub-domain as it highlights the role of political parties and leadership for ensuring good governance. “Values, laws, freedom and equity” can be categorized under four sub-domains equity, freedom, rule of law and civic self-image as it illustrates how values, equality of citizens, freedom and laws are important and interlinked to uphold good governance. “Patriotism and nationality; growth of representative government in British India and division of India; from Pakistan to Bangladesh (1947–1971); memorable political figures (up to 1971)” can be classified under the sub-domain the sense of community as these highlight Bangladeshi citizens’ shared history and values that may help develop their connectedness with the country and patriotism. “Citizens’ problems and what we have to do; public opinion and culture of politics” can be categorized under the sub-domain influencing as these highlight citizens’ participations in various civic and social issues and how that can foster change.

Civic and citizenship education: reflection from interviews with teachers All the teachers interviewed had at least five years of experience in teaching either Bangladesh and global studies or civics and citizenship or civics and good governance subject. Of them one was teaching in primary levels, while others were teaching in junior secondary, secondary and higher secondary levels. Two of them have a social science academic background, while the rest have degrees in psychology and science. Along with teaching Bangladesh and global studies or civics and citizenship or civics and good governance, they were also teaching other subjects including English, agriculture, Bengali, sociology, etc. in their respective schools. The age-range of the participant teachers was from 35 to 55 years, and the total years of teaching experience ranged from 18 to 35 years. We present the interview findings in the following four themes. Four teachers are anonymized as A, B, C and D.

Teachers’ knowledge and views We wanted to know how the teachers perceive the idea of civic and citizenship education and how it is aligned with their teaching practice. All of them considered the concept of civics and citizenship as a part of responsibilities towards the state. According to them, every citizen of a state has some responsibilities. Good citizens should be aware of their roles, duties and responsibilities, and they should know the rules and regulations of the state they live in to be a good citizen. On the other hand, the citizens also have some rights that they could expect from their family, society and state. By providing the previously mentioned definition and description about citizenship, the teachers stressed that civic and citizenship education must include these topics so that the students could gradually become good citizens. One teacher at a junior secondary school said: A citizen should have four main characteristics such as 1) to be loyal to the state, 2) to be a permanent resident of the state, 3) to fulfil duties and

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responsibilities towards the state, 4) to get social and political rights from the state. (Teacher B) The teachers particularly mentioned that the contents of civic and citizenship education should comprise two types of topics. The frst one is related to the duties “to the state”, and the second one deals with the benefts “from the state”. The frst topic includes several components such as 1) to understand the responsibilities of a citizen, 2) to know the laws, rules and regulations, 3) to practise the hidden and indirect customs of their respective family and society, 4) to perform the specifc duties assigned to them by the states. For the second topic, the participants mentioned that good citizens have the right to receive some specifc benefts “from the state” that should also be a part of civic and citizenship education. One teacher commented: Living permanently in a state, getting state benefits, performing duties towards the state including people’s responsibilities, duties, facilities and benefits, social rights of the individual, and the political rights of the individual, are the main components of civic and citizenship education. (Teacher D) We also wanted to know whether the contents they mentioned are available in the textbooks or practised in the classrooms. They replied that there are many things in the textbooks. They doubted whether students could remember everything as the contents are not well-organized in the books, and there are too many facts and numbers to memorize. They suggested organizing the textbooks according to the country’s history, development and culture so that the students can memorize without diffculty. The teachers emphasized practising these contents at both school and family levels with the help of extra-curricular activities.

Civic and citizenship education in classrooms We asked the teachers to identify which domains and sub-domains of civic and citizenship education are taught and/or practised in the classrooms. Before asking this question, we explained to them all the domains and sub-domains in Schulz et al. (2016) and replied to their queries related to the framework. Their answers are shown in Table 11.5. Table 11.5 illustrates that, according to the teacher interviews, the first two domains are taught at the primary level although one participant teacher confirmed that the sub-domains of the civic principles domain are only partially taught. All the sub-domains of the civic society and systems are taught in junior secondary classes; however, only one sub-domain from the civic principles domain is taught at this level. On the other hand, one sub-domain from the first domain and three from the second domain are taught in the secondary classrooms. A different scenario is found in the higher secondary level. Among


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Table 11.5 Civic and Citizenship Education in Classroom Teaching Domains and sub-domains Primary Junior secondary Secondary Higher secondary Civic society and systems Citizens State institutions Civil institutions Civic principles Equity Freedom The sense of community Rule of law Civic participation Decision-making Influencing Community participation Civic identities Civic self-image Civic connectedness

  

       

      

 

 

   

   

   

 

         

the 12 sub-domains, this level covers nine sub-domains and represents all four domains including civic society and systems, civic principles, civic participation and civic identities. Among all four domains, the first domain civic society and systems is taught at all levels. All the sub-domains of this domain are found in the junior secondary level, while only one is found at the secondary level. For the second domain civic principles, all the sub-domains are taught at the primary level, while only one is taught at the junior secondary level. The sense of community sub-domain is not touched in junior secondary, secondary and higher secondary classrooms. The third domain civic participation is not found in the primary, junior secondary and secondary levels, and its sub-domain influencing is not found at any level. The fourth domain, civic identities, is only found in the higher secondary classrooms, and other levels do not cover it.

How is civic and citizenship education taught? According to the teachers, along with Bangladesh and global studies, civics and citizenship and civics and good governance subjects, some topics of civic and citizenship education are also discussed in other subjects such as geography, sociology, social work, etc. All students learn the topics of civic and citizenship education from Grade III to Grade VIII, and majority of the students continue up to Grade X, and only a limited number of students continue up to Grade XII. In primary education, the teachers pointed out that students learn some topics at a basic level, such as British rule, women’s rights, tribal lifestyles, the basic concept of citizenship, children’s rights, how to deal with autistic children, the United Nations and SAARC, etc. In the secondary level, ranging from junior to higher

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secondary, the students learn from the classrooms about the history of Bangladesh, Bangladesh and world civilization, the society of Bangladesh, citizens of Bangladesh, the concept of citizenship, rights of a citizen, characteristics of a citizen, child rights of Bangladesh, child development and obstacles in Bangladesh, sustainable development goals, etc. The teachers also mentioned that not all of these topics are given equal importance in the textbooks. Nevertheless, the students could get a basic idea about the topics of civic and citizenship education from the classroom discussions. When asked whether the students were attracted to learn these topics, all the teachers voiced that making students interested in a subject or a topic mainly depends on the teaching style. They claimed that their students learned these topics with enthusiasm as they tried to teach these topics “in exciting ways”. A teacher mentioned: Not everyone will be interested in all aspects of Bangladesh and Global Studies or Civics and Citizenship or Civics and Good Governance subjects; as usual, some will study economics, some will study geography in their own interest. But if the contents of civic and citizenship education are also taught with the help of tables, charts or any other fancy way, then the students will be interested. I observe that my students show their interests in learning civics and citizenship issues as I try to teach them attractively. (Teacher C)

Real-life practice Teachers felt that, without real-life practice, civic and citizenship education might not be useful for the students. We asked whether there was any scope to practise the topics of civic and citizenship education in real life. Among four teachers, three of them said that there were some scope of practise, either directly or indirectly, at family, school and society levels. The other teacher opined that the scope of practice was minimal as the contents were mostly theoretical. However, all the teachers stressed that theoretical knowledge alone is not enough for being a good citizen, and students must practise these in real-life situations though the scope is particularly limited for some topics. On the other hand, a teacher from a primary school provided a different answer. According to her, if the students are not engaged in any anti-social activities, this can also be considered as real-life practice. As students are taught how to follow the rules, therefore, if no antisocial activities happen, it is a proof of maintaining the rules. A teacher from the junior secondary section provided another example: After coming to school, they are concerned about obeying the rules of the school, obeying the teachers, obeying the class captain. Again, the leader is also selected through the class captain election, just like the national election. One of the same peers is a captain, and everyone obeys him/her. (Teacher B)


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Another teacher highlighted that students are always practising although many such practices go unnoticed. He commented: As I have seen my children walking in front of the class, if they see an unnecessary fan or light turned on in a class, they turn it off. I think they are doing it out of a sense of civic responsibility. There are many more such incidents. The way children participate in national days is also a sign of their civic responsibility. (Teacher D) The teachers also mentioned that students learn and practise various topics of civics and citizenship by participating in co-curricular activities. As schools celebrate various national days, therefore, by being involved in different kinds of activities in those days, students learn many aspects of national days. On the other hand, from various competitions such as class captain election, debate or scout activities, the students learn democratic skills. Both learning and practices go hand in hand in this way.

Implications and conclusion Civic and citizenship education is prominent in Bangladesh school education as highlighted in the analysis of education policy, curriculum and textbooks. It is provided as a compulsory subject to all students from Grade III to Grade VIII through a subject called “Bangladesh and global studies” which is an integrated social studies education subject that incorporates contents from social science discipline subjects such as history, civics, geography, economics and sociology. For Grades IX–X, Bangladesh and global studies subject is compulsory for the science stream students and optional for the business studies stream students. Another subject called “civics and citizenship” is available as a compulsory or optional subject for the humanities stream students. This indicates that while the science and humanities stream students are very likely to study civic and citizenship education at secondary level, it is possible that the business studies stream students can complete the secondary education level without studying the civic and citizenship education. Thus, an important implication is, curriculum needs to be reformed to address this issue so that every student has an opportunity to study civic and citizenship education up to Grade X. In Grades XI–XII, civics and good governance subject is available mainly for the humanities stream students. Students in the music streams also have an option to study civics and good governance subject whereas students in the science, business studies, Islamic studies and home economics streams do not have such an option. Both the analysis of curriculum and textbooks and teachers’ interview data reveal that civic and citizenship education contents can be classified under all four domains and 12 sub-domains of the ICCS 2016 assessment framework (Schulz et al., 2016). Education level-wise, the contents at the primary and junior secondary levels can be categorized under civic society and systems and civic principles

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domains. No contents related to civic participation and civic identities domains are found in these two levels. Moreover, civic participation domain related contents are not found at secondary level as per teachers’ interviews, while analysis of curriculum and textbooks demonstrates that some contents can be classified under this domain. Furthermore, civic identities domain related contents are not found at secondary level as per teachers’ interviews, while the analysis of curriculum and textbooks shows that some contents can be classified under this domain. This indicates that there is a mismatch between the intended and implemented curriculum. Given the importance of civic participation and civic identities domains in the civic and citizenship education framework, support for teachers is needed to develop their skills in teaching the related contents in classrooms. The pre-service and in-service teacher education should take this into account and reform the relevant curriculum and textbooks.

Bibliography Bowen, G. A. (2009). Document analysis as a qualitative research method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9(2), 27–40. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Fereday, J., & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006). Demonstrating rigor using thematic analysis: A hybrid approach of inductive and deductive coding and theme development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(1), 1–11. Fontana, A., & Frey, J. H. (1994). Interviewing: The art of science. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (361–376). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Kerr, D. (1999). Citizenship education in the curriculum: An international review. School Field, 10(3/4), 5–32. Ministry of Education (MOE). (2010). National education policy 2010. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Ministry of Education, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2012a). National Curriculum: Grade I to Grade V [in Bengali]. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2012b). National Curriculum: Grade VI to Grade X [in Bengali]. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2012c). National Curriculum: Civics and good governance: Grade XI to Grade XII [in Bengali]. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019a). National Textbook: Bangladesh and Global Studies – Grade III. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019b). National Textbook: Bangladesh and Global Studies – Grade IV. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019c). National Textbook: Bangladesh and Global Studies – Grade V. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019d). National Textbook: Bangladesh and Global Studies – Grade VI. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019e). National Textbook: Bangladesh and Global Studies – Grade VII. Bangladesh: NCTB.


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National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019f). National Textbook: Bangladesh and Global Studies – Grade VIII. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019g). National Textbook: Bangladesh and Global Studies – Grade IX–X. Bangladesh: NCTB. National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). (2019h). National Textbook: Civics and Citizenship – Grade IX–X. Bangladesh: NCTB. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2015). Skills for social progress: The power of social and emotional skills. Paris, France: OECD. Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon, J., Losito, B., & Agrusti, G. (2016). IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2016: Assessment framework. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Springer Open. Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon, J., Losito, B., Agrusti, G., & Friedman, T. (2018). Becoming citizens in a changing world: IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2016 international report. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Springer Open. Retrieved from handle/20.500.12657/28127/1001867.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y United Nations. (1948). The universal declaration of human rights. New York, NY, USA: United Nations. Retrieved from

12 Discussion and inquiry in Singapore social studies Min Fui Chee and Jasmine Sim

Introduction The curricular aims of social studies education in Singapore are to educate for the informed, concerned and participative citizen (CPDD, 2016). It envisions citizens who are analytical, reflective, able to understand diverse perspectives, engaged in societal issues and willing to take action and bring about change. These aims represent an important shift towards active citizenship, a significant development compared to the past. A key feature of the present curriculum is its emphasis on grounding social studies in an inquiry approach. Another less explicit feature of the curriculum is the importance placed on discussion where students come together in a shared inquiry, to exchange views, to weigh evidence from multiple sources and to arrive at well-reasoned conclusions. This chapter will examine how discussion can contribute to the goals of social studies education and how it is intertwined with inquiry. It will also describe the challenges and limitations of classroom discussions. As social distancing, remote learning and online interactions become the norm with the COVID-19 pandemic, the chapter includes an analysis of discussion and technology.

The development of social studies as a school subject in Singapore Social studies has been a staple of the primary curriculum since the early 1980s. At the primary level, the subject mainly introduces children to the history, the people and the significant places in Singapore and the region. Students learn about the needs and the constraints of the country and the importance of building a common identity and social cohesion. In recent years, the history of world civilizations has been added to the content. Social studies was only introduced as a compulsory examinable subject at the upper secondary level in 2001. The new subject at the secondary level represented a significant move away from focusing on the conception of a citizen as a morally upright person to the development of a thinking citizen (Sim & Adler, 2004). Since its inception in 2001, the subject has been built around issues and higherorder thinking skills that are emphasized and assessed in the formal examination


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(Sim, 2001). The focus on issues has within it a strong potential for the use of classroom discussion as the main pedagogy. Within the past 20 years, the social studies syllabus has been revised several times. In the latest iteration, a framework for an inquiry process has been conceptualized, and this is described in some detail in the syllabus documents (see CPDD, 2016). This inquiry process is introduced at both the primary and secondary levels and comprises several stages – arousing interest, crafting questions, collecting data, reasoning about the data, making conclusions and reflecting on the entire process. This reconceptualized curriculum emphasizes critical and reflective thinking. Meanwhile, the curricular aims include explicit attention to understanding multiple perspectives, evaluation of information and analysis and negotiation of complex situations (CPDD, 2016) – skills which the pedagogy of discussion is well-positioned to develop.

Multiple understandings of discussion It is common to hear discussion being used by practitioners to mean any kind of classroom talk. In day-to-day discourse, we will find teachers using discussion to encompass many kinds of exchanges between teacher and students with regards to the content of the lesson. Wilen (2004) noted that what teachers commonly referred to as “discussion” is, in reality, recitation where students display their knowledge of subject matter. While both forms of classroom talk can be used to good effect depending on purpose, discussion is preferable and more appropriate in developing higher-order reasoning, decision-making and problem-solving for democratic citizenship (Parker & Hess 2001; Wilen, 2004; Wilen & White, 1991). Larson (1997, pp. 128–129) found six different conceptions of discussion amongst teachers in his work. 1 2





Recitation – a typical interaction of teacher initiation, student response and teacher evaluation. Teacher-directed conversation – teachers control the conversation, directing questions to help students understand a topic, concept or different perspectives. An open-ended conversation – teacher selects a topic and introduces it, and students and teacher share what they know. The teacher is a participant in the conversation but does not direct it. A series of challenging questions – teacher poses questions to challenge and develop students’ thinking skills but does not evaluate student responses. Questions are not designed to lead students to specific conclusions. Guided transfer of knowledge to life beyond the classroom – teacher guides students to generalize, see connections and apply knowledge learnt in the classroom to their own lives outside school. Practise at verbal interaction – discussion is considered a skill that students need to learn and practise.

Discussion and inquiry in social studies 163 Amongst scholars too, there is a variety of defnitions. Wilen and White (1991) described discussion as a “structured conversation” (p. 492) where participants work cooperatively to exchange, analyze, and understand different views about an academic topic or issue. They explore ideas and engage in critical thinking and problem solving. Wilen (2004) also referred to discussion as an “instructional conversation” where there is higher-order questioning and exchanges between teachers and students and among students “for the purpose of applying knowledge and stimulating critical thinking to enhance understanding about an issue, problem or other content” (p. 35). Parker and Hess (2001) defned discussion as a “text-based shared inquiry of the listening-and-talking kind” (p. 275) where there is a document, idea or issue, shared purpose and a common inquiry focus. Participants in a discussion deepen and widen the scope of their own understanding by considering the viewpoints, experiences and interpretations of other discussants. The outcome of this shared inquiry is shared understanding (Parker & Hess, 2001). Walsh and Sattes (2015) described discussion as “a process through which individual students give voice to their thoughts in a disciplined manner as they interact with others to make meaning and advance individual and collective understanding of the issue in question” (p. 33). The various definitions emphasize giving voice to views, collaborative inquiry, exchange, deepening understanding and making meaning together. Discussions are substantive, meaningful conversations where participants go beyond reporting experiences and stating facts. It includes higher-order thinking like analyzing issues from multiple perspectives and synthesis of arguments and may not have clear, definitive conclusions (Larson & Keiper, 2002). Discussion is classroom talk that moves “thinking forward” (Alexander, 2006, p. 52). The different definitions show the intertwining relationship between discussion and inquiry. Given that discussion is integral to social studies, it is important to establish a common understanding of the types of exchanges that constitute good discussions so that teachers have a basis to understand and improve their own practice.

Discussion: civic competencies and conceptual understanding One of the many important roles of a citizen is a willingness and ability to interact with others on matters of common concern. Discussion is the chief medium for this interaction. (Larson, 1997, p. 115)

Discussion is highly valued for its potential in the development of civic competencies, and the skills of discussion are increasingly considered to be essential for living in diverse, multicultural societies. Democracy involves talking through differences and solving problems together. To be living democratic lives is to engage with diverse others as equals in a civil and caring way. In this view, discussion is an inherent part of living and functioning in a democratic society.


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Civically engaged and participative citizens are important for the well-being of communities. One of the ways in which citizens can be engaged in the community is to take part in dialogues to solve problems or to better understand the perspectives of different groups and individuals. Discussion of issues with attention to multiple perspectives play an important role in developing civic consciousness and attitudes for later civic participation (Hahn, 2001; Lenzi et al., 2014; McCoy & Scully, 2002; Torney-Purta, 2002). Perspective taking, critical thinking and ability to discuss issues with peers have been identified as important civic competencies (Van Camp & Baugh, 2016). Classroom discussion has particular value as the school is, in Parker’s (2010) view, “a public, civic place” (p. 2822). Schools provide a “diverse congregation” (Parker, 2010, p. 2822) as it presents all kinds of differences – race, class, gender and religion. In school, students encounter “people they might not know or like, whose behaviour and beliefs they may not warm to, with whom they may be unequally related” (Parker, 2010, p. 2817). This “diverse congregation” provides the ideal setting and opportunities for students to both talk and listen to one another and, in the process, build community (Parker & Hess, 2001). Parker’s ideas and ideals provide a strong conceptual foundation for using discussion in the classroom for civic purposes. We are reminded that discussion is not just talk; it is also about listening. “Equitable and trustworthy conjoint living is not only a matter of being heard but also of hearing others” (Parker, 2010, p. 2827). He suggested that three key stances of a listener in a discussion are important – reciprocity, humility and caution (Parker, 2010, p. 2829). According to Parker, reciprocity refers to listening with the understanding that the speaker knows best his or her own position and circumstances. The listener needs to take on the perspective of the other. Humility refers to listening with the understanding that there is more that the listener must learn and understand from the speaker. Caution refers to careful engagement, where a listener does not deny or dismiss the validity of the speaker’s perspective and takes care not to express every thought that comes to mind. Besides discussion for the development of civic competencies, discussion to deepen conceptual understanding in the component social studies disciplines is also another reason why discussion is valuable. In the inquiry approach to social studies in Singapore, discussions play a key role in getting students to clarify their understandings and to construct knowledge. Cognitive and sociocognitive theorists argue that talk is a “powerful tool for thinking” (Croninger et al., 2018, p. 25). The kind of oral and social interaction that high-quality discussion affords provide opportunities for students to elaborate and restructure their cognitive representations of concepts and achieve high-level comprehension and complex reasoning (Croninger et al., 2018). Different purposes call for different types of discussion activities in the classroom. Hess (2002, 2009) in her work on controversial issues discussion described teachers using different discussion models in their socials studies classes. One is the Town Hall Meeting Model where students enter a discussion taking on roles to reflect the range of positions and perspectives in an issue. This model helps

Discussion and inquiry in social studies 165 students deepen their understanding of diverse views on an issue. The other is the Public Issues Model where issues selected are those that embody tension between different values. The model utilizes three categories of questions – definitional, factual and value oriented to guide the discussion. Parker & Hess (2001) distinguished between seminars, deliberations and conversations. Seminars seek to expose, develop and explore meanings and hence facilitate deeper understandings of texts and ideas. Hence, seminars are wellpositioned to achieve the goal of developing conceptual understanding. Deliberations, meanwhile, seek to draw participants together to solve problems and make decisions (Parker, 2006, 2010). Conversation is open-ended discussion about the common goals of a community or society. Unlike deliberation, predetermined alternatives do not guide conversations although participants engage in “shaping common ends” (Parker & Hess, 2001, p. 282). A single discussion may also comprise all three “discussion types” (p. 284). These distinctions and models help teachers to make decisions and structure lessons, depending on the purposes they wish to achieve, their subject matter and the focus questions. Parker and Hess (2001) identified the Structured Academic Controversy – better known as SAC – as an exemplar of deliberation. The SAC is a cooperative learning structure developed by Johnson and Johnson (1992), where two pairs of students take on opposing positions on a controversial issue or problem. The first pair argues for one position while the second pair argues for the opposite view. The pairs then switch positions. In the final stage, the pairs drop their positions and engage in deliberation as a group in order to reach a consensus. The SAC is reported to be popular amongst teachers of humanities and social studies in Singapore schools and is used to scaffold and focus classroom discussion in different subjects (Lim & Cheah, 2017). Educators’ experiences in conceptualizing and conducting SAC have been published (Ang, 2014; Lim, 2004; Lim, 2014; Lim & Cheah, 2017;1 Nathan & Lee, 2004). While student ability to engage in this activity was reported, analysis about the extent and the quality of the discussions that took place was not the focus. An examination of the lesson descriptions found that the advocacy element in SAC tend to overshadow the consensus-building element. In a reflection on the SAC lesson conducted, Ang (2014) commented that when it came to the final stage of the SAC where students had to agree on a joint position, students “came to a quick consensus” (p. 39) because there was a lack of time. The practice of SAC in these instances may, unintentionally, emphasize more debating rather than deliberating skills and dispositions. While the SAC appears to be accepted practice, it is not so clear if less structured and sustained whole-class discussions in social studies is the norm. A study of eighteen general paper2 teachers from seven schools, found that teacher talk did not encourage high-quality discussion amongst pre-university students (Teo, 2016). Instead, teacher talk was more directed towards helping students learn factual knowledge and “stifled participation and cognitive engagement” (Teo, 2016, p. 47). While these findings are not generalizable to social studies, it alerts the social studies community to the importance of attending seriously to teacher


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talk as one of the ways in which to help us move towards authentic discussions to facilitate genuine knowledge construction.

Challenges, constraints and issues Discussion of controversial issues The benefits of discussing controversial issues for democratic citizenship has been well-argued, and a significant body of work exists in the area. In the context of Singapore, studies on teachers’ conceptions of citizenship and their understanding of controversial issues should serve as important understandings in thinking about the pedagogy of discussion. In the Sim, Chua, and Krishnasamy (2017) study, teachers with different conceptions of citizenship engaged differently with controversial issues. Teachers who were categorized as character-driven citizens kept to their perception of safe and prescribed positions and did not put their own views at the forefront. Teachers who were described as social-participatory citizens saw controversial issues as sensitive issues and were careful about student feelings when discussing these issues. The final group of critically reflexive teachers were ready to discuss local and international issues and provided a wide range of views. These views, however, did not necessarily include their own. In this respect, teachers were careful to speak with a “teacher’s voice” (p. 99) making a clear distinction between the personal and the professional. The Ho, Alviar-Martin, and Leviste (2014) study is informative for the Singapore context and allows educators to think about the perception of issues and the impact of these perceptions on the content of discussions/choice of topics for discussion. In the study, issues were categorized as controversial-appropriate and controversial-taboo. Race and politics were considered controversial-appropriate. While these issues were controversial, it was still acceptable to discuss them in the classroom within certain established boundaries. Meanwhile sexual orientation was considered controversial-taboo. Controversial-taboo issues were issues that would not be discussed in class at all as there was no explicit indication of what was acceptable public discourse.

Emotions and discussion Another challenge when it comes to discussion of issues is the possibility of evoking a range of emotions which the teacher may then find difficult to manage. Students voice their views when they feel strongly about what is being discussed (Do & Schallert, 2004). In Sim et al.’s (2017) study, teachers were found to have prioritized their students’ feelings, taking care to avoid victimizing or shaming in presenting and discussing issues. The literature on issues discussion has put emotions very much in the background (Reidel & Salinas, 2011). One of the reasons for the lack of attention on emotions is the conceptualization of emotion itself and the complexities and challenges of studying emotions in education (Do &

Discussion and inquiry in social studies 167 Schallert, 2004; Zembylas, 2007). A conception of social studies as disciplinebased and the pursuit of rational and critical thinking also push emotions to the background. Emotions, however, are inevitable in the discussion of issues and future studies, and preparation of teachers need to incorporate an examination of the role and influence of emotions in discussions.

Assessment: accountability vs authenticity Assessing students’ discussion is a key issue of contention amongst teaches. One issue is whether discussion should be formally assessed. In a study by Hess (2002), a teacher decided against formally grading student participation in order not to compromise the authenticity of the discussion. While rubrics can be developed for quality discussions, it is challenging for a teacher to both facilitate and assess at the same time. It is also debatable if rubrics can adequately capture the myriad ways in which students participate in discussions (Hess, 2002). Both face-to-face and online discussions present particular challenges and difficulties for assessment. In the Singapore context, authenticity may be compromised not so much by any need to formally grade a classroom discussion but by the need to prepare students for a standardized examination.

Preparing teachers for discussion Discussion is highly demanding for teachers due to the complexity involved in managing student ideas, student participation and, in cases of controversial or difficult issues, possible evocation of student emotions (Hess, 2002). Teachers need to attend to “what is being said” and “how it is being said and by whom simultaneously” (Wei & Murphy, 2018, p. 38). They also need to make decisions about when and how to intervene and influence the flow of student talk. This requires what Wei and Murphy (2018) described as “effortful cognitive energy and capacity” (p. 42). Preparation for discussion of issues, both on the part of teachers and students, is also time-consuming. It is common to find teachers reporting a lack of faith in their ability to facilitate discussion (Hess, 2002). On top of these, many teachers likely did not experience rich discussions themselves when they were in school (Parker & Hess, 2001; Walsh & Sattes, 2015). It is perhaps unsurprising then to find teachers engaging mainly in eliciting students’ opinions which are then left “undiscussed”. In Singapore, there is active preparation for the pedagogy of discussion in both pre-service and in-service teacher education, where it is acknowledged that teachers do not just need support in learning to facilitate discussions, they also need support in understanding the complexities of issues or the subject matter of discussion. It is confidence in subject matter that will facilitate the loosening of teacher control over classroom talk. While there are many opportunities for teachers to read about and attend in-service training on discussion, the real learning and test is in actually facilitating discussions in class and being able to


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reflect and learn from this. In this respect, Teo (2016) recommended that teachers reflect on their discussion practices using recordings of their lessons. This will enable a better analysis of their classroom talk and facilitation moves.

Going forward: discussion and technology The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education all over the world. Schools and teacher education institutes must now place more emphasis on helping and preparing teachers to teach online. While online discussion forums are not new, the main focus of scholarly attention has been on face-to-face discussions when it comes to social studies. Meanwhile, young people are increasingly highly engaged with social media. As such, online discussions have to be considered in any study or analysis of using discussion in social studies. While students may be digital natives, skillful at text messaging and use of social media, this does not necessarily translate to skills for using technology for academic purposes (Journell, 2008; Larson, 2005; Tally, 2007). In this chapter, a distinction is made between discussion in an “online” forum where teachers play a role in moderating either synchronous or asynchronous discussions and other avenues in which young people participate in discussions digitally outside school. Studies on asynchronous online discussion forums (Blankenship, 2016; Journell, 2008; Larson, 2005; Larson & Keiper, 2002) analyzed the similarities and differences between the online discussion format and face-to-face discussion in terms of the teacher’s role, student participation and the quality of discussion. This section first highlights a fundamental difference between these two discussion formats. In face-to-face discussion, what is required of students is speaking and listening. In an online forum, students engage in reading and writing (Larson, 2005). These processes make different demands of students. Reading and writing as part of a discussion differ significantly from regular reading and writing assignments and present particular challenges to both teachers and students. One of the challenges is in interpreting and conveying emotion. The other is the inability to see non-verbal expression which is very much a part of communication (Journell, 2008). Non-verbal expression allows a teacher to read beyond the words used in order to facilitate a richer discussion. The monitoring and facilitation processes also differ significantly for the teacher. Teachers may find it challenging to monitor and direct or redirect online discussions, unlike the situation in a classroom, as students may not read teachers’ posts commenting or asking for clarification (Larson, 2005). On the other hand, in the online environment, it is possible for teachers to comment on each and every post and provide detailed feedback. It is not possible to comment on each and every contribution in class as it disrupts the natural flow of a discussion and discourages student-tostudent exchanges (Larson, 2005; Larson & Keiper, 2002). Where students are concerned, online discussion forums take longer. It is tiring for students to read a large number of posts in online discussions, and hence they may do so only selectively. On the other hand, students who are more comfortable with writing would participate more in online forums compared to

Discussion and inquiry in social studies 169 face-to-face class discussions (Journell, 2008; Larson, 2005; Larson & Keiper, 2002). Larson (2005) reported that students who did not participate in faceto-face discussions participated in online discussion forums. Students reported being “less afraid” and they could take time to understand classmates’ comments and rework their comments before posting them. This allowed shy students to participate. The ability to state word limits means that teachers can force a certain level of participation (Journell, 2008). Weak writers, however, will find it hard to contribute when discussions become more complex, and it is harder for teachers to support or encourage these students in an online environment. The online forum does not offer the same kind of social environment as a physical classroom. In a study on asynchronous discussion for history, the teacher in the study did not think that a social environment existed in online discussion forums (Journell, 2008). Another issue is discussion on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, which are unlike online discussion forums. While teachers are able to see participants, they may not be able to see the body language and feel the emotions and tensions that sometimes are part of the discussion. How teachers mediate and facilitate a discussion conducted through video conferencing platforms is worth further study. How discussions in online environments impact the development of civic competencies also needs to be further understood. Young people also engage in online discussion spaces in their own time. Social studies educators need to address this trend and help their students develop the skills to engage in fruitful ways. A lack of civility and offensive exchanges can dominate online spaces that are not well moderated or not moderated at all. Students need to be encouraged to participate in forums where there are diverse views so that they do not end up in “echo chambers”, resulting in a narrowing of perspectives or solidification of a single position (Kahne, Hodgin, & EidmanAadahl, 2016, p. 10). Another way in which technology plays a key role is in supporting classroom discussion. Baildon, Lin, and Chia (2016) described how a teacher used the online bulletin board, Padlet, to elicit and record student thinking on an inquiry question in a social studies class. These Padlet postings were reorganized by the teacher, and students were invited to comment on selected postings. The use of Padlet expanded student participation in the class discussion and allowed them to respond to one another’s ideas. The development of apps that allow teachers to record, analyze participation and give individual feedback provides teachers with additional tools to help them encourage, facilitate and assess discussion in the classroom (See Wiggins, 2020).3

Conclusion The focus of social studies education in Singapore has evolved since its inception in the early 1980s at the primary level. Presently, the goal is to educate for an active citizenry capable of critical thinking through inquiry and discussion. Discussion, done well, has the potential to achieve important academic and civic goals. It allows students opportunities to talk about issues of common concern


Min Fui Chee and Jasmine Sim

with diverse fellow citizens and, through this, contribute to democratic citizenship development. When discussions centre on public issues, it can also provide some form of limited civic engagement in the classroom. The successful implementation of discussion, however, depends on many factors. Studies have shown that extensive preparation needs to be in place for discussion to succeed in achieving its instructional purpose. This extensive preparation includes the cultivation of a range of skills and dispositions in both teachers and students. Face-to-face discussion poses many challenges for teachers and students. Teachers need strategies to encourage participation and balance decisions about the extent of intervention. Questions of assessment can have an important impact on the authenticity and conduct of discussion in the classroom. In particular, the discussion of controversial issues, which is widely valued for citizenship education, is fraught with difficult questions and dilemmas for teachers. Teachers need to develop the necessary pedagogical judgment and a blend of skills and sensitivity when it comes to controversial issues. Meanwhile, the landscape of discussion is increasingly changed and shaped by the availability of technology. The popularity of social media and the need to teach online with the ongoing pandemic have also created an urgency to examine the similarities and differences between face-to-face and online discussions. Students need to learn to engage in online discussions in fruitful ways as the online environment, more often than not, may not have the necessary facilitation and moderation that classroom face-to face-discussions possess. Besides, there is a distinction between online discussion forums done as part of schoolwork and other discussion forums that young people engage in out of school. This needs to be acknowledged and understood so that teachers can help students to negotiate the world of social media discussions. The purpose is to better prepare teachers and students to meet the challenges that the internet brings to the way people “talk” to each other in shared inquiry and in the consequent development of civic competencies and engagement in a world of technology-mediated communication.

Notes 1 K. Lim (2004) and Lim and Cheah (2017) described SAC lessons for social studies conducted through mobile devices. These were not face-to-face SAC lessons. 2 General paper is a subject offered at the pre-university level where students explore a variety of issues. The aims of the subject include a broadening of students’ global outlook and the development of skills to evaluate arguments and opinions. There are broad similarities to social studies in its focus on issues and critical thinking (CPDD, 2011; SEAB, 2020). 3 Wiggins (2020) reported the use of an iPad app, Equity Maps, and a web-based app, Parlay Ideas, in her paper on assessing discussion.

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Discussion and inquiry in social studies 171 Ang, H. X. (2014). Structured academic controversy for upper secondary social studies. HSSE Online, 3(2), 35–39. Retrieved from default/files/uploaded/journal_articles/5Ang%20SAC%20Essay%20Paper%20 final.pdf Baildon, M., Lin, M., & Chia, G. (2016). Developing conceptual understanding in social studies using technology and discussion. HSSE Online, 5(2), 94–102. Retrieved from articles/8-Baildon_0.pdf Blankenship, W. G. (2016). Talking it out: Online discussion forums in the social studies classroom. Social Studies Research and Practice, 11(1), 136–157. Retrieved from pdf Croninger, R. M. V., Li, M., Cameron, C., & Murphy, P. K. (2018). Classroom discussions: Building the foundation for productive talk. In P. K. Murphy (Ed.), Classroom discussions in education (1–29). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD). (2011). General paper syllabus (Higher 1). Singapore Ministry of Education. Retrieved from sg/docs/default-source/document/education/syllabuses/english-language-andliterature/files/2012-general-paper-syllabus-(pre-university)-h1.pdf Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD). (2016). Social studies syllabus, upper secondary: Express course, normal (academic) course. Singapore Ministry of Education. Retrieved from education/syllabuses/humanities/files/2016-social-studies-(upper-secondaryexpress-normal-(academic)-syllabus.pdf Do, S. L., & Schallert, D. L. (2004). Emotions and classroom talk: Toward a model of the role of affect in students’ experiences of classroom discussions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(4), 619–634. DOI: 10.1037/0022–0663.96.4.619 Hahn, C. L. (2001). What can be done to encourage civic engagement in youth? Social Education, 65(2), 108–110. Hess, D. (2002). Discussing controversial public issues in secondary social studies classrooms: Learning from skilled teachers. Theory & Research in Social Education, 30(1), 10–41. Hess, D. (2009). Controversy in the classroom: The democratic power of discussion. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Ho, L. C., Alviar-Martin, T., & Leviste, E. N. P. (2014). “There is space and there are limits”: The challenge of teaching controversial topics in an illiberal democracy. Teachers College Record, 116(5), 1–28. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1992). Encouraging thinking through constructive controversy. In N. Davidson & T. Worsham (Eds.), Enhancing thinking though cooperative learning (120–137). New York: Teachers College Press. Journell, W. (2008). Facilitating historical discussions using asynchronous communication: The role of the teacher. Theory & Research in Social Education, 36(4), 317–355. Kahne, J., Hodgin, E., & Eidman-Aadahl, E. (2016). Redesigning civic education for the digital age: Participatory politics and the pursuit of democratic engagement. Theory & Research in Social Education, 44(1), 1–35. 0933104.2015.1132646 Larson, B. E. (1997). Social studies teachers’ conceptions of discussion: A grounded theory study. Theory & Research in Social Education, 25(2), 113–136.


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Larson, B. E. (2005). Considering the move to electronic discussions. Social Education, 69(3), 162–166. Larson, B. E., & Keiper, T. A. (2002). Classroom discussion and threaded electronic discussion: Learning in two arenas. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 2(1), 45–62. Lenzi, M., Vieno, A., Sharkey, J., Mayworm, A., Scacchi, L., Pastore, M., & Santinello, M. (2014). How school can teach civic engagement besides civic education: The role of democratic school climate. American Journal of Community Psychology, 54, 251–261. Lim, I. M. (2014). Teaching historical controversies using the structured academic controversy approach: A case of history teachers in Singapore. In M. Baildon, K. S. Loh, I. M. Lim, G. Inanc, & J. Jaffar (Eds.), Controversial history education in Asian contexts (181–195). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Lim, K. Y. T. (2004). Enhancing fieldwork in social studies through remotely conducted structured academic controversies. Teaching and Learning, 25(2), 189–195. Lim, K., & Cheah, H. M. (2017). The use of structured academic controversy in a mobile environment to broaden student perspectives and understanding in the social sciences. In A. Murphy, H. Farley, L. E. Dyson, & H. Jones (Eds.), Mobile learning in higher education in the Asia-Pacific region: Harnessing trends and challenging orthodoxies (279–295). Singapore: Springer. 10.1007/978-981-10-4944-6_14 McCoy, M. L., & Scully, P. L. (2002). Deliberative dialogue to expand civic engagement: What kind of talk does democracy need? National Civic Review, 91(2), 117–135. Nathan, E., & Lee, C. K. E. (2004). Using structured academic controversies in the social studies classroom. Teaching and Learning, 25(2), 171–188. Retrieved from Parker, W. C. (2006). Public discourses in schools: Purposes, problems, possibilities. Educational Researcher, 35(8), 11–18. Parker, W. C. (2010). Listening to strangers: Classroom discussion in democratic education. Teachers College Record, 112(11), 2815–2832. Parker, W. C., & Hess, D. (2001). Teaching with and for discussion. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(3), 273–289. Reidel, M., & Salinas, C. (2011). The role of emotion in democratic dialogue: A selfstudy. Social Studies Research and Practice, 6(1), 2–20. Retrieved from www.socstrpr. org/files/Vol%206/Issue%201%20-%20Spring,%202011/Research/6.1.2.pdf Sim, J. (2001). The development of social studies in Singapore secondary schools. Teaching and Learning, 22(2), 74–82. Retrieved from sg/bitstream/10497/284/1/TL-22-2-74.pdf Sim, J., & Adler, S. A. (2004). The role of secondary social studies in educating Singapore’s citizens. Teaching and Learning, 25(2), 161–169. Retrieved from https:// Sim, J., Chua, S. Y., & Krishnasamy, M. (2017). Riding the citizenship wagon: Citizenship conceptions of social studies teachers in Singapore. Teaching and Teacher Education, 63, 92–102. Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB). (2020). General paper: Singapore-cambridge general certificate of education, advanced level higher 1 (2020) (syllabus 8807). Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. Retrieved from 2020syllabus/8807_y20_sy.pdf

Discussion and inquiry in social studies 173 Tally, B. (2007). Digital technology and the end of social studies education. Theory & Research in Social Education, 35(2), 305–321. 2007.10473337 Teo, P. (2016). Exploring the dialogic space in teaching: A study of teacher talk in the pre-university classroom in Singapore. Teaching and Teacher Education, 56, 47–60. Torney-Purta, J. (2002). The school’s role in developing civic engagement: A study of adolescents in twenty-eight countries. Journal of Applied Developmental Science, 6(4), 203–212. Van Camp, D., & Baugh, S. (2016). Encouraging civic knowledge and engagement: Exploring current events through a psychological lens. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(2), 14–28. Walsh, J. A., & Sattes, B. D. (2015). Questioning for classroom discussion: Purposeful speaking, engaged listening, deep thinking. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Wei, L., & Murphy, P. K. (2018). Teacher and student roles: Walking the gradually changing line of responsibility. In P. K. Murphy (Ed.), Classroom discussions in education (30–53). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Wiggins, A. (2020). A better way to assess discussions. Educational Leadership, 77(7), 34–38. Wilen, W. W. (2004). Refuting misconceptions about classroom discussion. The Social Studies, 95(1), 33–39. Wilen, W. W., & White, J. J. (1991). Interaction and discourse in social studies classrooms. In J. P. Shaver (Ed.), Handbook of research on social studies teaching and learning (483–495). New York: Macmillan. Zembylas, M. (2007). Theory and methodology in researching emotions in education. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 30(1), 57–72.

13 ‘Noble character’ as a focus in Moral Education in Malaysia Noor Zulina S De Asildo and Maizura Yasin

Introduction The population of Malaysia consists of a plural society with a variety of racial, ethnic, beliefs and religious backgrounds. Based on the statistics released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (2020), the population of Malaysia according to the main ethnic groups is shown in Table 13.1. Apart from the estimates in Table 13.1 that show the diversity of the ethnic groups in Malaysia, the diversity of the Malaysian society also encompasses different indigenous and ethnic groups in the community, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. The source from the Malaysian Government Official Portal (MyGov) states the indigenous groups in Peninsular Malaysia are the ‘Orang Asli’ who are divided into three major ethnic community groups: the Negrito, Senoi and Proto-Malay. In addition, Sabah has 32 ethnic community groups, where the majority are the Kadazandusun. Rungus, Bajau, Bajau Laut, Murut, Lundayeh, Orang Sungai and Iranun are some of the ethnic groups in the community who are found in Sabah. Meanwhile, Sarawak has 27 ethnic community groups, where the Ibans are the majority in addition to the Bidayuh, Melanau and Orang Ulu. These ethnic community groups in Sabah and Sarawak have their own variety of dialects and cultures as well as a variety of traditional beliefs strongly adhered to in determining the manners and behaviour of their community. Besides having various ethnic community groups, Malaysian society also has various religions and beliefs. Islam is the official religion of the Federation because the majority of the Malaysian population are Muslims – 61.32 percent of the total 28,334,135 population of Malaysia in 2010 based on the census, including foreigners. Besides, another 12.84 percent of the population are Buddhists, followed by Christians at 6.24 percent, Hindus at 1.27 percent, Confucianism, Taoism and traditional Chinese religion at 1.26 percent, non-religion 0.71 percent and the remaining 1.36 percent of the population are those whose religion is unknown (Demography of Population, 2020). The diversity of religions and beliefs of the Malaysian society also brings an understanding of their adhered beliefs in determining the behaviour accepted as moral and ethical. In addition, the diversity of these ethnic and religious groups can also affect the implementation of subjects based on social studies, particularly Islamic Education and Moral Education. These subjects are core and compulsory, offered separately to Muslim

Noble character focused in Moral Education


Table 13.1 Current Population Estimates, Malaysia, 2020 Year

2019 2020

Percentage of citizen populations by ethnic groups, Malaysia, 2020 Bumiputera




69.3% 69.6%

22.8% 22.6%

6.9% 6.8%

1.0% 1.0%

Source: Department of Statistics Malaysia (2020).

and non-Muslim students with have the same goal: to produce people of noble character (Balakrishnan, 2017; Salleh & Abd Khahar, 2016). The main content of these two subjects is also different even though they are taught simultaneously in schools. The content of Islamic Education subject is based on spiritual values leading to the shaping of the noble character as in Islamic laws (Omar, 2015). Meanwhile, the Moral Education subject is more focused on the discussion of issues, problems and moral conflicts or dilemma to enable students to develop their abilities in decision-making and problem-solving while adhering to universal values in the context of Malaysian society (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2018). To ensure that a core and compulsory subject can be learned by all non-Muslim students of different religions and beliefs, Moral Education focuses on the teaching of noble values that are considered universal in the context of Malaysian plural society. Thus, Moral Education in Malaysia does not aim to inculcate any religious values or beliefs among non-Muslim students.

The implementation and history of Moral Education in Malaysia The education system in Malaysia before, during and after the colonization was based on society’s respective religions (Balakrishnan, 2010). The pre-independence education system (1400–1786) focused on religious education, especially the Islamic religion, implemented in the ‘pondok’ schools, ‘suraus’, mosques and ‘madrasahs’. During British colonialization from 1786 to 1956, several vernacular schools such as the Malay, Chinese and Tamil schools and English-based Christian missionary schools emerged. Moral learning, however, only began to be included in the curriculum in the early 20th century. At that time, only Chinese vernacular schools had such a curriculum, while other schools were continuing their education system as usual. Besides, the Islamic Education curriculum was given more emphasis in consideration that Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. From the introduction of the Razak Report (1956) to the Education Act (1961), Moral Education subject was yet to be introduced (Ahmad, 1998). Moral Education subject was only introduced in Malaysia when the students’ disciplinary and moral problems became more prevalent (Abd. Rashid, 1993). Therefore, the implementation of Moral Education was to shape a morally noble character (Zulkifli, Abdul Razak, & Mahmood, 2018) to reduce social problems.


Noor Zulina S De Asildo and Maizura Yasin

In 1976, the Moral Education Committee in the Ministry of Education led by the Head of the Board of Federal School Inspectors was tasked to study the learning syllabus of Moral Education. The appropriateness of Moral Education in the context of Malaysian plural society which consists of various races, religions, customs, living norms and cultural systems was taken into account (Gan, 2011). Finally, a draft of the Moral Education syllabus, consisting of the universal values, was issued in 1978 based on the National Principles. This programme provided opportunities for non-Muslim students to learn moral and ethical education beginning in 1983 as a core subject in school (Abd. Rashid, 1993; Balakrishnan, 2010). At the beginning of its implementation, the primary school Moral Education curriculum consisted of 12 moral values, while for the secondary schools it consisted of 16 moral values. The same values were taught at every level of schooling, but the scope and content of the lessons were developed according to the students’ maturity level. The Moral Education syllabus at the secondary school level had also been changed to be more globalized and appropriate in line with the current technological developments. Thus, the new Moral Education syllabus which was introduced in the Integrated Secondary School Curriculum (ISSC) had seven learning areas with 36 values, and a combination of character education approaches, value explanations and cognitive development was implemented (Balakrishnan, 2010). The values included in the ISSC Moral Education syllabus are still based on the principles of universal values that are in line with the norms of Malaysia’s pluralistic society. Moral Education was also made a compulsory core subject for non-Muslim students, and the subject was assessed in the Malaysia Certificate of Education (MCE) (Tan, Mahadir Naidu, Jamil, & Jamil@Osman, 2018). Throughout the implementation of Moral Education in Malaysia, this subject underwent a series of changes in the curriculum content and assessment. Starting with testing the students’ comprehension of the Moral Education syllabus in written examinations, Moral Education is then broken down into two parts, whereby writing charity work reports was included in addition to written tests at the MCE level (Balakrishnan, 2017). Despite changes in curriculum content and assessment, it still has the same goal which is to shape a noble character (NC) person (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2000b, 2018). The implementation of Moral Education, however, was found to be less successful in achieving its goal of shaping ‘noble character’ as desired (Balakrishnan, 2010; Limbasan, Ling, & Pang, 2018). Therefore, in line with the changing times and the introduction of Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2015, the Moral Education curriculum content was changed. The Moral Education ISSC focused more on the inculcation of moral values to be practised in daily life, whereas the new Moral Education Secondary School Standard Curriculum (SSSC) focused more on various goals to meet the demands of technological changes. Generally, Moral Education SSSC emphasized Higher-Order Thinking Skill (HOTS) as one of the focuses in the teaching and learning process of Moral Education (Zulkifli et al., 2018) but still maintains the goal of shaping noble

Noble character focused in Moral Education


character through the comprehensive development of three moral domains, viz. moral reasoning, moral emotions and moral behaviour (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2015). Emphasis on the development of these three moral domains is important to develop students’ ability in decision-making and problem-solving in a real-life situation. Moreover, the SSSC syllabus has 18 universal values inculcated implicitly through discussions of various situations involving conflicts or moral dilemmas, moral issues and moral problems instead of direct inculcation of universal values as in ISSC. Besides, the teaching sessions of Moral Education have also been changed by the inclusion of 32 hours of outdoor learning to encourage charitable work activities outside the classroom (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2016a, 2016b, 2018). The changes made in this new curriculum are expected to overcome the weaknesses that existed in the previous syllabus that focused on the teaching of noble values.

The concept of the ‘noble character person’ in Malaysian Moral Education The concept of ‘noble character person’ is a goal to be achieved in two subjects based on social studies as explained in the previous introduction section, viz. the Islamic Education and Moral Education subjects. The emphasis on the shaping of the noble character in these two subjects is because it focuses on the efforts in shaping the individual character. The word ‘noble’ (or ‘akhlak’ in Malay) comes from the Arabic word which is defined as character or behaviour, habit, beliefs, adherence or religion. Specifically, ‘akhlak’ can be defined as the inner energy present in behaviours, traits or actions that can be seen and manifested easily without the need for reasoning and narration. ‘Akhlak’ does not require reasoning and narration because behaviours or traits that comply with the Islamic laws and common sense logic will automatically be categorized as a noble character (Abdul Rahman, Abdullah, Hamdan, & Ahmad, 2020; Suhid, 1999). Furthermore, the concept of ‘akhlak’ is also related to character (Akmal Karim, Long & Badaruddin, 2021), emphasizing the comparison between good and bad deeds (Ishak, 1995), related to moral values and noble values (Abdul Rahman et al., 2020; Ismail, 2015; Othman, Suhid, & Roslan, 2015) as well as the relationship between man and God and fellow human beings (Aminatun Habibah, 2019; Omar, 2015; Othman et al., 2015). Islam defines ‘akhlak’ as absolute but universal because human beings need to adhere to the doctrine set by God (Abd Hamid, Balwi, Othman, & Kasim, 2004). Thus, noble character individuals in Islam are determined by adherence to the absolute guidelines on right and wrong or good and bad deeds as stated in the Al-Qur’an. The implementation of Moral Education in Malaysia is mandatory for nonMuslim students. As described in the introduction, the non-Muslim community in Malaysia are of various religions and beliefs such as Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. These three religions are practised by the majority of non-Muslims in Malaysia. Therefore, the concept of noble character should not be understood in the context of only one religion or belief. The implementation of Moral


Noor Zulina S De Asildo and Maizura Yasin

Education as a form of character education requires an understanding of moral concepts because noble character is also translated as a moral person in the Moral Education syllabus (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2000a, 2016c, 2018). The word ‘moral’ comes from the Latin word which means customs and manners that represent noble behaviour or manners (Md Aroff, 1999; S De Asildo, 2015). Besides, moral is also understood as good, right and accepted behaviour, in line with religious requirements, societal norms as well as rules and laws (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2016c; Mohd Yusoff, 2017). A moral person is depicted as one who has the autonomy to abide by the societal rules and norms that are considered good and appropriate by holding to the moral principles of justice and autonomous caring (Chang, 2013; Miles & Upenieks, 2018). In this context, a moral person should realize the importance of not complying with the societal rules and norms blindly, guided by values that are accepted as good. Thus, a moral person should stick to principles and moral values to enable them to make an appropriate moral judgment when faced with conflict or moral dilemmas in life. The concept of noble character in Malaysian Moral Education involves shaping a comprehensive moral development of three moral domains, viz. the moral reasoning, moral emotion and moral behaviour. Comprehensive moral development was introduced by Thomas Lickona (1991) to be used in the context of character education (Garrigan, Adlam, & Langdon, 2018; Nucci, 2006). The comprehensive development of these three moral domains can produce a moral society (Chowdhury, 2016; Davidson, Lickona, & Khmelkov, 2008; Md Aroff, 2014; Ryan & Lickona, 1992). The development of these three moral domains also allows individuals to make moral judgments based on moral principles and universal values in life (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2015). Moreover, Chowdhury (2016) explains that these three moral domains are components of moral psychology and their development does not occur separately but in interrelated ways (Kara, 2019; Touré-Tillery & Light, 2018). Moral emotions, for instance, feelings of empathy, sympathy, compassion (Carlo, Vicenta, Samper, Tur, & Armenta, 2010; Cowie & Carr, 2017; Darnell & Kristjánsson, 2019; Malti, Gasser, & Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger, 2010; Ross, 2017) and guiltiness over matters involving the choice between right and wrong actions (Bocian, Baryla, Kulesza, Schnall, & Wojciszke, 2018) are part of moral emotional development (Nucci, 2006) and mediators of moral behaviour (Darnell & Kristjánsson, 2019; Limbasan et al., 2018). Similarly, aspects of moral reasoning are also associated with the production of moral or prosocial behaviour (Gibbs, Basinger, Grime, & Snarey, 2007; Li, Hao, & Shi, 2018; Sathish Rao, 2018; Vera-Estay, Dooley, & Beauchamp, 2015). Ultimately, these three moral domains are interconnected with each other and need to be given important emphasis, which is the backbone of achieving the goals of shaping noble character through Moral Education in Malaysia. A comprehensive development of the three moral domains is important to produce students who can make moral judgments (Sathish Rao, 2018), described as the ability to solve problems and make rational and responsible decisions based on the three moral principles, namely

Noble character focused in Moral Education


altruism, autonomy and justice as well as adhering to the universal values of the Malaysian society (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2015). During the implementation of ISSC, noble character was named as the Comprehensive Human Model (CHM), which also focuses on comprehensive moral development as in SSSC as well as the element of conscience. The element of conscience is nurtured and stimulated by holistic moral development and depicted in the sense of feeling happy doing the right thing and feeling guilty doing something wrong or immoral (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2000a). Besides, the learning of basic moral concepts related to the meaning of noble character was introduced in the new Moral Education SSSC (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2015, 2016b, 2017b, 2018). Therefore, teachers and students will have a better understanding of noble character that comprises certain moral concepts such as the moral domain, moral principles and universal values.

Teachers’ challenges in shaping the ‘noble character person’ The changes made in Moral Education curriculum content which still maintains the same goal of shaping noble character among students shows the need for Moral Education teachers to have a good understanding of basic moral concepts. Besides, teachers as moral educators also need to master the characteristics of moral human beings in order to shape noble character among students effectively (Md Aroff, 2018). The introduction of Moral Education in the Malaysian context poses various challenges to the implementation process, especially for the teachers. While the focus is on the teaching of noble values in the ISSC syllabus, the challenges that teachers have to face is the adherence of the different values according to the values of different groups in Malaysia’s plural society. Therefore, the changes made in the new SSSC Moral Education syllabus should suit the current developments and requirements as well as be flexible to the context of students’ individual differences (Mohanasundaram, 2018). As described in the introduction, Islam is the official religion of Malaysia but followers of other religions are free to practise their religious teachings and beliefs. This situation forms the basis of the construction of the syllabus and textbooks of Moral Education mostly involving Muslims. Besides, 50 percent of Moral Education teachers are also Muslims, and they teach based on their understanding of Islamic Education even though they have been trained to teach Moral Education (Balakrishnan, 2017). This situation leads to indoctrination among Moral Education teachers because they do not have good fundamental knowledge about the introduction of the subject itself. Although there are other religious subjects introduced, such as Bible knowledge, that can be taken by Christian students in particular, it can’t be offered as a core subject due to the students’ diverse religious background. Such religious subjects require well-trained and appropriate teachers. In addition, the complexity of Malaysian society with its diverse races and ethnic groups means there are multiple beliefs and values. This can lead to differences in the acceptance of moral values among students (Sathish Rao, 2018;


Noor Zulina S De Asildo and Maizura Yasin

Shahkat Ali, 2009). Furthermore, differences in value adherence by community groups (Schwartz, 2007; Walker, Roberts, & Kristjánsson, 2015) also cause difficulties in determining which values should be taught to meet the needs of different community groups (Garrigan et al., 2018). Therefore, teachers are advised to take into account the diversity of students in implementing teaching activities in the classroom. The determination of the teaching sessions of Moral Education, however, can create constraints for teachers in taking into account such diversity when students’ achievements are based on memorization of noble values (Zulkifli et al., 2018). The tendency of teachers to implement the memorization of these values is close to indoctrination in the Moral Education classroom. The noble values taught during the early implementation of Moral Education do not change, but the scope and content of the lessons are developed according to the level of maturity of students (Balakrishnan, 2010; Chang, 2013). This situation demands the creativity of teachers to teach the same noble values to students even though they are at different school levels. Teachers who are unable to be creative in teaching the same noble values will cause students to become bored and at the same time reduce the effectiveness of Moral Education in achieving the goal of shaping noble character. Accordingly, various teaching strategies and methods have been proposed to help teachers diversify their teaching methods appropriate to the diversity of students and at the same time reducing indoctrination (Balakrishnan & Thambu, 2017; Walker et al., 2015; Zulkifli et al., 2018). The variety of strategies and teaching methods proposed can also avoid teachercentred teaching which reduces the creativity and ability of students to develop holistically in the three moral domains. Therefore, teachers need to provide space and opportunities for students to be actively involved in teaching and learning activities in the classroom. One of the teaching and learning methods that can be used to encourage students’ active participation in the teaching and learning process is through group discussion (Zulkifli et al., 2018). Although previous studies were aware that active student participation is important in discussing moral dilemmas that can develop student moral judgment in real situations (Balakrishnan, 2009), Sporre (2018) states that discussion tasks require students to suggest alternative ethical actions which are difficult to assess through testing. Therefore, Moral Education teachers need to ensure they are creative in implementing the teaching and learning in the classroom, based on the curriculum syllabus and set times. Furthermore, teachers must also take into account students’ diversity and avoid indoctrination and teacher-centred approaches as well as ensure the strategies and methods used in assessments is helpful for the shaping of noble character. This situation illustrates that Moral Education teachers face various challenges in ensuring noble character shaping through the teaching and learning processes used in Moral Education. Another challenge faced by teachers in the teaching and learning of Moral Education is in determining the content that needs to be taught over a set time while also focusing on the goals of shaping noble character. At the secondary school level, for instance, the total teaching sessions for the Islamic Education

Noble character focused in Moral Education


subject is four hours a week while Moral Education is only taught three sessions a week. Besides, one of the changes made is in the increase in extra-curricular learning outside the classroom (LSOC). LSOC is compulsory in Moral Education to replace charitable work which was previously required only for the upper secondary level (Malaysian Examination Board, 2008). LSOC is also used as an alternative for teachers to carry out assessments that are said to be able to determine the shaping of noble character through behaviours shown in real situations when performing community service activities outside the classroom (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2016b, 2018). Community service activities outside the classroom also enable direct involvement in community projects that are capable of developing real-life problem-solving abilities(Berkowitz, 2011). The challenge for teachers in the implementation of LSOC, however, is the financial constraints to plan the most suitable community service activities for assessment purposes (Lawrence, 2019) that can impact the effort of shaping noble character. This challenge exists among Moral Education teachers since the testing, measurement, assessment and evaluation aspects are often discussed in the context of achieving the curriculum goals of a subject based on topics taught by the teachers (Abdullah, Mohamed Noh, Mansor, Mohamed Hashim, & Wong, 2015; Klug, Schultes, & Spiel, 2018; Lee, Yu, Hsieh, Li, & Chao, 2018). Ironically, the shaping of noble character not only lies in the achievement based on the topics taught but also on students’ overall moral development that is the basis of shaping the noble character. Ultimately, even after the curriculum change was made from ISSC to SSSC, its effectiveness in shaping the noble character has not yet been fully described. This is due to the new implementation of SSSC that requires a reasonable implementation period to assess its effectiveness. Moral Education teachers have been faced with various challenges since the beginning of the implementation, starting with the teaching of the noble values that need to take into account the students’ diverse social background, religions and beliefs into the teaching and learning strategies and methods outside and inside the classroom. Thus, the role of the stakeholders in the field of Moral Education in Malaysia is important to ensure that the existing Moral Education teachers are equipped with the basic knowledge and skills in the field related to morality and be open to the various social, religious and belief backgrounds that exist among Moral Education students.

Summary and implications of shaping noble character in Moral Education The introduction of the Moral Education subject in Malaysia was an important goal in seeking to shape noble character in students. Noble character is a manifestation of moral behaviours and actions due to comprehensive moral development in moral reasoning, moral emotions and moral behaviour domains. The shaping of noble character also helps to produce students who can make rational decisions and solve problems in daily life through the ability to make moral judgments. Therefore, the content of the Moral Education curriculum was created


Noor Zulina S De Asildo and Maizura Yasin

based on noble values and basic moral principles adhered by Malaysia’s pluralistic society. The focus of shaping noble character as the main goal of Moral Education is in line with the goals of the Malaysian National Philosophy of Education (NPE) which is the basis of the Malaysian education system and policy. NPE states that the shaping of noble character is one of the goals that must be achieved through education. One of them is through the Moral Education subject that is a form of character-shaping education (Bambang, Mohd Tahir, & Abdul Rahman, 2012; Zulkifli et al., 2018) to produce students who are balanced and harmonious physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2017a). Stakeholders, especially in the field of Moral Education such as teachers, curriculum developers and school administrators, need to play their respective roles in ensuring Moral Education can achieve its goal in shaping noble character. Based on several of the teachers’ challenges discussed earlier, all parties should strive to implement the best approaches and support the strategies and methods of teaching Moral Education. On the part of curriculum developers, for example, they not only need to ensure the curriculum content is appropriate in the context of the diversity of the plural society in Malaysia but also ensure that the proposed strategies and methods are realistic and easily implemented by the teachers in schools. Besides, the school administrators should also provide support to programmes planned by the Moral Education teachers (Suppiah, Sinnasamy, & Suffian, 2017) especially for the success of LSOC activities. Chang (2010), for instance, suggests the importance of involving students actively in the learning of Moral Education, which is relevant to their daily life, enabling them to practise it more effectively. Therefore, the introduction of LSOC in the new syllabus of Moral Education SSSC should be beneficial in shaping noble character among students. School administrators need to provide financial support to teachers in ensuring the success of any outdoor activities that can benefit the students. Furthermore, outdoor activities such as charity work and visits to homes for the elderly or cleaning the beach areas will bring students closer to their real lives, and they will feel happier doing such activities (S De Asildo, 2015). Hence, the role of the administrators, especially in providing financial support for these outside activities, is important so that the implementation of LSOC can help achieve the goals of Moral Education in the shaping of noble character. Finally, Moral Education teachers themselves should also strive to improve their knowledge and skills not only from the pedagogical aspect but also in terms of the fundamental understanding that forms Moral Education in a Malaysian plural society. A fundamental understanding of the basis on the introduction of Moral Education subject in Malaysia is important to enabling teachers in implementing teaching and learning sessions towards achieving the goals of shaping the noble character. If Moral Education teachers still consider teaching Moral Education is the same as teaching other examination subjects, then an indoctrination approach in teaching will persist despite various efforts made on the content of the Moral Education curriculum syllabus. The opportunity to attend briefings, courses, workshops or seminars in the form of professional development of Moral

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Education teachers should be used optimally. As briefings, courses, workshops or seminars are rarely held (Suppiah et al., 2017), Moral Education teachers, especially the head of Moral Education committee in schools, should take proactive steps to plan and conduct internal training programmes, especially for the new non-optional Moral Education teachers. In this way, Moral Education teachers do not have to rely too much on training conducted at the department, district or state levels to improve their knowledge and skills in the field of Moral Education.

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14 Adaptive model of social studies learning and classroom culture in Indonesian schools Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

The psycho-pedagogic framework of social studies The psycho-pedagogic framework of social studies is best reflected in the objectives formulated by the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS): “to help young people make decisions based on information and reasons for the public interest as culturally diverse and democratic citizens in an interdependent world”. In more detail, social studies aim at “fostering civic competence including the knowledge, intellectual processes, and democratic character that students need to become active citizens and engage in public life” (NCSS, 2010, p. 1). By making citizenship competencies a central goal, the intention is to emphasize the importance of educating students who are committed to democratic ideas and values. It is important to realize that citizenship competence depends on a commitment to democratic values and requires citizens to have the ability to: (1) use their knowledge of the community, nation, and the world; (2) applying the inquiry process, and (3) using the skills of collecting and analyzing data, collaborating, making decisions, and solving problems. Young people who are knowledgeable, skilled, and committed to democracy are needed to maintain and improve democratic ways of life, and participate as members of the global community (NCSS, 2010, p. 2). In line with the views of the NCSS, Indonesia’s Curriculum 2013 formulated the main objective of social sciences (IPS)/social science education (SSE) subjects “to foster students into citizens who can make democratic and rational decisions which are acceptable to all groups who are in the community” (MOEC, 2013, p. 107). In more detail, the objectives of social studies subjects are: (a) Getting to know the concepts relating to people’s lives and their environment; (b) Having the basic ability to think logically, critically, curiosity, inquiry, problem solving, and skills in social life; (c) Having commitment and awareness of social and human values; and (d) Having the ability to communicate, cooperate and compete in a pluralistic society at the local, national, and global levels (MOEC, 2014). In addition to understanding the nature of social studies according to both the NCSS and the 2013 Curriculum (MOEC, 2014), these subjects also have a very complex pedagogical framework. Teachers should teach students to master

Adaptive model of social studies learning 189 thinking skills, such as describing, defining, classifying, generalizing, predicting, comparing, contrasting, and giving birth to new ideas. Furthermore, social studies should also teach academic skills, such as reading, studying, writing, speaking, listening, interpreting, outlining, making graphics, and taking notes. Other abilities that social studies students need to learn are research skills, such as formulating problems, proposing hypotheses, collecting data, analyzing data, testing hypotheses, and drawing conclusions. Finally, social studies should teach social skills, such as communicating, collaborating, contributing, understanding nonverbal signs, responding to problems, providing reinforcement to the strengths of others, empathizing, and showing effective leadership (Budimansyah, Suharto, & Nurulpaik, 2019b). Responding to the “big idea” to implement a social studies psycho-pedagogical framework, the 2013 Curriculum launched a new approach to bring change in social studies into integrated, reflective, and problem-oriented learning. This refers to scientific approach. This approach adapts scientific steps in science and the learning process in combination with a scientific process. The learning process consists of five main learning experiences, namely observing, asking questions, gathering information, processing information, and communicating (MOEC, 2014, p. 10). A more detailed explanation of the scientific approach is shown in Table 14.1. The social studies psycho-pedagogical framework, as outlined earlier, needs a more operational form for the purpose of influencing classroom culture in Indonesia. For this purpose, in the following section, a methodological operational framework for social studies will be presented which includes a synopsis of the model, developed value competencies, and syntactical models.

Table 14.1 Learning Process Based on a Scientific Approach Basic learning experience

Learning activity

Competency learning activities developed


• • • •

• train sincerity • practice accuracy • improve the ability to find information


• • •

Collecting information

• •

reading listening seeing seeing without the aid of a tool seeing with the help of a tool asking questions to find out some information asking questions to get additional information increasing knowledge from resource persons (individuals or groups) increasing knowledge from print and electronic media

• develop curiosity • develop creativity • develop critical thinking skills • develop learning habits • develop lifelong learning skills



Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

(Continued) Basic learning experience

Learning activity

Competency learning activities developed

Processing information

• processing qualitative data • processing quantitative data

• • • • • • •


• conveying the results of observations • conveying conclusions based on the results of the analysis verbally • conveying conclusions based on the results of the analysis in writing • conveying conclusions based on the results of the analysis using information and communication technology

• • • • • •

develop an honest attitude practice accuracy train discipline get used to obeying the rules train the ability to work hard practice the ability to apply procedures practice the ability to think inductively and deductively in making conclusions develop an honest attitude practice accuracy develop tolerance develop the ability to think systematically practice the ability to express opinions briefly and clearly practice good and correct language skills

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture/MOEC (2014, p. 10; Suryadi, Rosjidi, & Budimansyah, 2017, p, 266).

A methodological operational framework for social studies The operational methodological framework for social studies refers to the scientific approach that uses a pedagogical model of problem-solving and projects (Dewey, 1933), inquiry-oriented citizenship transmission (Barr, Barth, & Shermis, 1978), and social involvement (Newmann, Bertocci, & Landness, 1977). The model, known as Project Citizen, is facilitative, empirical, and simulative. First, learning activities students are invited to identify problems that occur in their environment to practice their sensitivity to the problems that occur. Next, students discuss in small groups to choose the issues they consider important and related to the topic they are studying. After some problems have been collected, the class conducts a consultation to determine one problem for the class study material. The selected problem becomes a class assignment to solve using scientific methods. Data and information to deal with the problem were collected by the research team from various sources. The results are presented in a class portfolio, which consists of a viewing and documentation section. The portfolio is presented in a hearing forum before a jury. At the end of the teacher’s learning with students, they reflect on their learning experiences (Budimansyah, Suharto, & Nurulpaik, 2019a).

Adaptive model of social studies learning 191 The steps of the Project Citizen model in generic social studies learning are presented in Table 14.2.

The original model as a source of adaptation The original model that was used as a source of adaptation to make social studies an integrated, reflective, and problem-oriented learning process was the “We the People . . . Project Citizen” Program. This program was designed to develop students’ interests and abilities to participate logically and responsibly in local and national government. The development of the “We the People . . . Project Citizen” Program began in 1995–1996, involving 460 teachers in 45 states in the United States that included 1,000 classes with 28,000 students (Vontz, Metcalf, & Patrick, 2000). This learning package, because of its generic and universal nature, has been adopted in various countries outside the United States, such as Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia. These countries adopts a model developed by the Center for Civic Education (CCE) by translated into their respective national languages with an adaptation of some of its contents according to the context of each country. As reported by each member of the country delegation in the Summer International Seminar on Civic Education Program in Palermo, Italy, 17–22 June 1999, the package turned out to be applicable and received wide acceptance from the schools and governments of each country, and each of these countries has now entered a stage of wider dissemination. This phenomenon can be understood because indeed the generic nature of “We the People . . . Project Citizen” makes it easy and flexible to implement. In Indonesia, the “We the People . . . Project Citizen” model has been adapted and tested by the Center for Indonesian Civic Education (CICED) in collaboration with the Regional Office of the Ministry of Education and Culture of West Java province and the Curriculum Center of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The trial was conducted at six public junior high schools in Bandung, Lembang, and Sumedang, West Java province, which lasted for one quarter from August to November 2000. The implementation of the National Directorate General of Primary and Secondary Education through the education project was then initiated as Citizenship and Characteristics in 70 junior high schools and 30 high schools in 15 provinces in 2001–2002. Furthermore, through a collaboration program between the Ministry of Education and Culture with the Center for Civic Education Indonesia (CCEI), it was tested on 250 junior high schools in 12 provinces in 2002. Over the next four years (2003–2006), pioneering activities reached 64 districts/cities with coverage of 512 SD/elementary school, 512 SMP/junior high school, and 512 SMA/ senior high school. Thus, in six years, (2001–2006) pilot studies have reached 1,786 schools (elementary, junior high, and senior high school) (Winataputra & Budimansyah, 2012). Since the 2013 Curriculum of the Indonesian University of

Table 14.2 Steps in Learning Social Studies Using the Project Citizen Model Learning Activities


Opening lessons and technical explanation of learning projects

Core activity

Step 1: Students identify public policy problems in their community

• Teachers offer greetings and invite students to pray together. • Submission of introductory learning project material to provide an initial overview of what students will learn • Explanation of the differences between public policies and community solutions The class is facilitated to be able to identify various public policy problems that exist in the local community through observation, interviews, and documentation studies conducted in groups. Classes are facilitated to study various problems that have been identified and then choose the one problem that is most feasible to solve. Classes are facilitated to gather information from various sources of information that are relevant and available to solve problems, such as libraries, mass media, experts, government officials, non-governmental organizations, community leaders, and ordinary members of the public. The class develops a portfolio of group work results in the context of problem-solving and presents it as a whole in the form of an exhibition panel that can be seen together, which illustrates the interrelations between problems, alternative policies, support for alternative policies, and action plans for implementing policies.

Step 2: Students select a problem for class study Step 3: Students gather information on the problem


Step 4: Student develops a class portfolio, which includes: • A problem explanation • Alternative policies • A public policy • An action plan Step 5: Students present their portfolio to decision-makers and interested parties. Step 6: Students reflect on their experience Closing the lesson

In this step, the entire portfolio that has been developed is then presented and exhibited to policymakers and interested parties. In the final step, students return to class to reflect or settle and reflect on the learning outcomes achieved through all project activities. • Teachers and students together conclude the core of the learning process that has taken place. • Teachers provide reinforcement and appreciation for student performance. • Teachers can provide enrichment. • Teachers and students greet each other closing remarks.

Source: CCE, 2007, p. 20; Budimansyah, 2009, p. 69; Green, Medina-Jerez, & Bryant, 2016, p. 122.

Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

Activities Learning Steps


Main Learning

Adaptive model of social studies learning 193 Education has continued to develop the Project Citizen model within the framework of strengthening character education in schools through the support of applied research funding from the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education. In the four years (2015–2019) it has been implemented in six provinces (West Java, Lampung, Riau Islands, East Kalimantan, North Sulawesi, and Maluku), Project Citizen has been practiced in 240 SD, 168 SMP, and 120 SMA (Budimansyah et al., 2019b). The effectiveness of this program has been reported (Tolo, 1988): 1

2 3



In its most ideal form, social studies (including civic education) seeks to involve students in their community activities by teaching the skills needed to participate effectively. In a constitutional democratic system, the participation of these citizens is very important. Effective social studies (including civic education) that teach citizens how to participate and contribute to changes in society are critical to the continued commitment of citizen participation. Adolescence is a crucial moment in developing the roles and responsibilities of citizens. It is at this age that students discover their identity and role in the surrounding community and society in the overall sense. Some effort has been made to develop citizenship at this age.

This program is also proven to have an impact not only on students who become more sensitive and responsive to public policy issues but also the results of student learning projects are adopted by the local government as part of public policy in their area. As reported in the International Project Citizen showcase in Washington DC in 2007, of the 31 participating countries, there were eight fnalists whose project results were adopted into public policy in their respective countries (see Table 14.3). The results of the project of high school students from the city of Brčko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, encouraged the mayor to issue an inclusive school policy, namely students with special needs to learn in mainstream schools. The results of a student project from Colombia that proposed to the local government to establish a city constitution was adopted by the mayor to ensure safe and peaceful social relations. Students from the Indian city of Delhi managed to convince the local government to restore several mistreated monuments. Projects undertaken by high school students from Kota Gede Yogyakarta inspired the Indonesian government to reduce taxes on home-based small businesses to only 0.5 percent. Middle school students from Jordan successfully pressured Al Karak’s city education office to improve its oversight function to eliminate violence in schools. The most spectacular is the result of the project of Russian students who were worried about the rise of gambling by teenagers (teen gambling) in the city of Samara due to the construction of a casino in the city. As a result of the project by the high school students President Vladimir Putin responded by closing the casino in Samara. The same thing happened with the results of the project of students from the small town of Ross Bethio, Senegal,


Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

Table 14.3 International Project Citizen Showcase Delegation and Respective Project Goals Number

Delegation City






Bosnia and Herzegovina Colombia








Al Karak






Ross Bethio



Vancouver, Washington

United States


Project Goal

Middle school students Middle school students Middle school students Middle school students Middle school students Middle school students Middle school students Middle school students

Integrate special needs kids in schools Establish a town constitution Restoration of monuments Repeal taxation of silversmiths Eliminate school violence Eliminate teen gambling Safe drinking water Healthy food in schools

Source: CCE, 2016.

who reported that the area was experiencing a clean water crisis. In the following year, the local government built a water purification vehicle for community needs. Finally, high school students from the city of Vancouver, Washington, in the United States, found a lot of food in school canteens were in the form of junk food and if consumed in excess can cause obesity. The results of the students’ project in the city of Vancouver came to the attention of the school board who urged schools to serve healthy food in the school canteen (Budimansyah, 2010).

Project Citizen’s basic profile for social studies learning Project Citizen is a generic model that can be completed with relevant content in each country. As a model, the topic of public policy is generic, which applies to any country. The mission of this model is to educate young citizens to be able to analyze various dimensions of public policy, then in their capacity as young citizens try to provide input on public policy in their environment. The expected outcome of this learning process is the quality of intelligent, creative, participatory, prospective, and responsible citizens (Winataputra & Budimansyah, 2012). The focus of attention of Project Citizen is the development of civic knowledge, civic dispositions, civic skills, civic confidence, civic commitment, and civic competence will lead to the development of well-informed, reasoned, and responsible decision-making (Winataputra & Budimansyah, 2012) (see Figure 14.1). Full learning outcomes using Project Citizen are recorded in the portfolio, which is a systematically compiled visual display, that illustrates the thinking process that is supported by all relevant data, which fully depicts the integrated learning

Adaptive model of social studies learning 195

Well-informed, reasoned, and responsible decision-making

Civic Knowledge Civic Competence

Civic Confidence Civic Skills

Civic Disposition

Civic Commitment

Figure 14.1 Project citizen develops the ability to make insightful, reasoned, and responsible decisions Source: Winataputra & Budimansyah, 2012, p. 34.

experienced by students in the classroom as a unit. The portfolio is divided into two parts, namely “display portfolio” and “documentation portfolio”. The display portfolio (see Figure 14.2) is in the form of a quadruple panel that sequentially presents (1) A summary of the issues examined; (2) Various alterna­ tive policies to solve the problem; (3) Proposed policies to solve problems; and (4) A developed action plan. Documentation portfolios are packaged in Folder or similarly compiled systematically following the order of display portfolios. Portfolios display and documentation are then presented in a “public hear­ ing” simulation presents local officials related to the problem of the portfolio. The hearing can be held in each class or a “Showcase” together in an event, for example at report card distribution (see Figure 14.3). After the hearing, the teacher facilitates the “reflection” activity which aims to individually and jointly ponder and settle the impact of the long journey of the learning process for the personal development of students as citizens. Invite them to answer the question “What have I learned most and best?” What should I do as a citizen then? Likewise, questions for teachers, for example: “What have I contributed to the development of Indonesian characters in students as young citizens?” (Winataputra & Budimansyah, 2012, p?).


Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

Figure 14.2 Examples of display portfolios and documentation Source: Budimansyah, Suharto, Nurulpaik, Hood, & Said, 2018, p. 42.

Figure 14.3 Showcasing class portfolios Source: Budimansyah et al., 2018, p. 50.

Adaptive model of social studies learning 197

Steps for learning in Project Citizen Step 1: identify the problem After the teacher opens the lesson followed by an explanation of the differences between public policy and community solutions, the first step of Project Citizen can begin (CCE, 2010b, 2010a; Budimansyah, Suharto, Nurulpaik, Hood, & Said, 2018; Budimansyah et al., 2019a). First of all, teachers can present several examples of public policy problems that exist in the community in a list. Then, there is a class discussion to share information about the problems found in the community. To do this activity, all class members should: 1 2

3 4

Read and discuss the problems that exist in society which can be seen in the list of sample problems. Create groups of two to three students. Each group will discuss just one problem that is different from each other. Then each group must answer the questions provided in the Problem Identification and Analysis Form (Appendix 1). Discuss the answers of each group with all class members. Save the results of the answers to be used in developing the class portfolio later.

The next step, they give homework to students so they can understand the problem more deeply, assignments in addition to learning more problems that exist in the community. Homework is in the form of three tasks which will be explained next. Students can also learn what public policies have been made to deal with these problems. Use the format provided to record all information collected. Keep all information that has been obtained as material documentation. That information documentation will be useful as material for making class portfolios. The homework assignments include: (a) Interview task. Each student selects one problem that they have learned as included in the list of problem examples. They can also choose other problems outside the list of problem examples. Students are assigned to discuss their chosen problems with their families, friends, neighbors, or anyone who is able to discuss. Record what they already know about the problem and how they feel in dealing with the problem. Use the Interview Form (Appendix 2). (b) Tasks using printed media. Students are given the task of reading a newspaper or other printed media that discusses the problem being studied. Look for information about the policies made by the government in dealing with the problem. Bring the articles they found to school. Distribute the contents to the teacher and other students. Use the Printed Source Form (Appendix 3). (c) Tasks of using radio/TV/internet. Students are also asked to watch TV, listen to the radio, or browse the internet to get information about the


Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila problem they are studying, as well as what policies are made to deal with it. Bring the information they get to school and share it with the teacher and classmates. Use the Radio/Television Observation Form (Appendix 4).

The purpose of this stage is to share information that is already known by students, by their peers, and by others related to problems in society. Therefore, the class will get enough information that can be used to choose the right problem, from several existing problems, as a class study object.

Step 2: select problems for class study material The class should discuss all the information that has been obtained regarding the list of problems found in the community. If students already have enough information, use it to choose the problem that you want to be used as a class study object. The purpose of this stage is for the class to choose one problem as a class study object. Therefore, the class has one problem which is a common choice to be used as a class study object. Decisions can be taken through class deliberations. If the deliberation method fails to reach an agreement, the decision can be taken by a majority vote (CCE, 2010b, 2010a; Budimansyah et al., 2019a).

Step 3: gather data and information If you have determined the problem that will be used as a class study object, then students must be able to decide places or sources of information to obtain data and information. In that search, later they will find that one source of information may be better than another. The aim of this stage is for the class to obtain accurate and comprehensive data and information to understand the problems that are being studied by the class (CCE, 2010b, 2010a; Budimansyah et al., 2019a).

Step 4: develop a class portfolio To enter this stage, the research team must have completed its research. In this stage, start developing class portfolios. Classes will be divided into four groups. Each group will be responsible for developing a part of the class portfolio. Contents included in the portfolio should include documentation that has been collected during the research phase. This documentation must include contents or works of art written originally by students. The purpose of this stage is that students can arrange class portfolios, both the portfolios section of the shows and the documentation section based on data and information obtained from research activities (CCE, 2010b, 2010a; Budimansyah et al., 2019a).

Portfolio group tasks The following are the tasks that must be carried out by each portfolio group. Each group should choose the contents collected by the research team, especially

Adaptive model of social studies learning 199 contents that greatly assist the research team in completing their tasks (CCE, 2010b, 2010a; Budimansyah et al., 2019a). (a) Portfolio group one: Explain the problem. This group is responsible for explaining the choice of problems that have been studied. This group should also explain several things which include the reasons why the chosen problem is important, why certain governing bodies or certain levels of government should deal with the problem. (b) Portfolio group two: Assess suggested alternative policies for solving problems. This group is responsible for explaining existing policies and/or explaining alternative policies made to solve problems. (c) Portfolio group three: Develop class public policy. This group is responsible for developing and explaining appropriately a particular policy that is agreed upon and supported by the whole class to solve the problem. (d) Portfolio group four: Develop an action plan. This group is responsible for developing an action plan that shows how citizens can influence the government to accept policies supported by the class.

Step 5: present the portfolio (showcase) If the class portfolio is complete, students can present their work before an audience. The showcase can be held before two to three judges representing the school and community. With this activity, students will be equipped with learning experiences on how to present ideas and thoughts to others, and how to convince them of the steps the students have chosen. The four basic objectives of portfolio presentation activities include the following. 1 2



Provide information to the audience about the importance of the problem identified for the community. Explain and provide an assessment of alternative policies to the audience, with the aim that they can understand the benefits and disadvantages of each of the alternative policies. Discuss with the audience that the policy choice that has been chosen is the “best” policy to deal with the problem. Students should be able to “make a rational argument” to support their thinking. This discussion also aims to convince the audience that according to class thought and support, the policy chosen has not conflicted with the constitution. Demonstrate how the class can gain support from the community, legislative and executive bodies, and other government/private institutions over class choice policies.

Each of these goals represents the four groups that are responsible for each part of the presentation and each part of the class portfolio documentation. During the presentation, each group will be responsible for achieving the right goals (CCE, 2010b, 2010a; Budimansyah et al., 2019a).


Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

Step 6: reflect on the learning experience Reflecting on the learning experience of everything is always a good thing. Reflection of this learning experience is one way to learn, to avoid making a mistake, and to improve the abilities that students already have. To enter the reflection stage of learning experience, students must have completed a class portfolio. As an additional section, students can include this reflection section in the documentation portfolio. This reflection section should briefly describe the following (Winataputra & Budimansyah, 2012): • •

What has a student and his classmate learned? How to do? What will students use if they later develop another portfolio? Does Students have to choose to use the same method or choose another way?

Refection on this experience should be the result of cooperation between classmates as well as collaboration between them that has been done while making a class portfolio. Besides, students must also refect on their learning experiences, both as a person and as a class member. Teachers and volunteers who have helped students develop portfolios will also help refect on students’ experiences while carrying out this portfolio activity. It would be better if the refection part of this learning experience was made after the portfolio presentation in front of classmates or teachers, juries, government offcials, and other community members (CCE, 2010b, 2010a; Budimansyah et al., 2019a).

Bibliography Barr, R. D., Barth, J. L., & Shermis, S. S. (1978). The nature of social studies. California: ECT Publications. Budimansyah, D. (2009). Inovasi pembelajaran project citizen. Bandung: UPI Press. Budimansyah, D. (2010). Penguatan pendidikan kewarganegaraan untuk membangun karakter bangsa. Bandung: Widya Aksara Press. Budimansyah, D., Suharto, N., & Nurulpaik, I. (2019a). Proyek belajar karakter: Untuk mengembangkan literasi baru abad 21. Bandung: Gapura Press. Budimansyah, D., Suharto, N., & Nurulpaik, I. (2019b). Boosting teacher’s perception and deeds in Indonesian schools for the character education to thrive. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research. Retrieved on 24 November 2020 from Budimansyah, D., Suharto, N., Nurulpaik, I., Hood, H. S., & Said, K. (2018). Proyek belajar karakter: Bahan pelatihan penguatan pendidikan karakter di sekolah. Bandung: Widya Aksara Press. CCE. (1996). We the people . . . project citizen (Sixth Printing 2000). Calabasas, CA. CCE. (2007). Project citizen: We the people portfolio-based program (Level 2). Calabasas, CA. CCE. (2010a). Project citizen teacher’s guide (Level 2). Calabasas, CA. CCE. (2010b). Project citizen student book (Level 2). Calabasas, CA. CCE. (2016). “The world we want”: Project citizen documentary trailer. Retrieved from

Adaptive model of social studies learning 201 Dewey, J. (1933). How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the education process. Boston: D. C. Heath. Green, C., Medina-Jerez, W., & Bryant, C. (2016). Cultivating environmental citizenship in teacher education. Teaching Education, 27(2), 117–135, https://doi. org/https://10.1080/10476210.2015.1043121 Kemdikbud. (2013). Permendikbud nomor 81A tahun 2013: Lampiran IV tentang pedoman umum pembelajaran. Jakarta: Pusat Kurikulum. Kemdikbud. (2014). Materi pelatihan guru implementasi kurikulum 2013. Jakarta: Tim Pengembangan Profesi Pendidik. MOEC/Ministry of Education and Culture. (2013). 2013 Curriculum: Basic competencies, Junior High School, Jakarta: Center for Curriculum. MOEC/Ministry of Education and Culture. (2014). Teacher’s book: Social science education. Jakarta: Center for Curriculum. NCSS. (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies: A Framework for teaching, learning, and assessment. Silver Spring, MD: NCSS Publications. Newmann, F. M., Bertocci, T. A., & Landness, R. M. (1977). Skills in citizen action: An english-social studies program for secondary schools. Skokie, IL: National Textbook Company. Suryadi, A., & Budimansyah, D. (2016). Advance school leadership, progress teaching approach, and boost learning: The case of Indonesia. The New Education Review, 45(3), 76–86. Suryadi, A., Rosjidi, U., & Budimansyah, D. (2017). Does teaching licensure boost student learning? Indonesia’s answer. The New Education Review, 49(3), 261–270. Tolo, K. W. (1988). An assessment of “we the people . . . project citizen”: Promoting citizenship in classrooms and communities. Policy Research Project Report Number 129. University Texas at Austin. Vontz, T. S., Metcalf, K. K., & Patrick, J. J. (2000). Project citizen and the civic development of adolescent students in Indiana, Latvia, and Lithuania. Bloomington: ERIC Clearinghouse. Winataputra, U. S., & Budimansyah, D. (2012). Pendidikan kewarganegaraan dalam perspektif internasional: Konteks, teori, dan profil pembelajaran. Bandung: Widya Aksara Press.


Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

ATTACHMENTS Appendix 1: Format of problem identification and problem analysis

PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION AND ANALYSIS FORM Names of group members : Date: Problem

................................. ................................. .................................

(1) Is the problem mentioned before as an issue considered important by the group itself as well as the community? Why? (2) Which level of government agency is responsible for dealing with the problem? (3) What kind of policy, if not yet existing, should be taken by the government in dealing with the problem? If indeed the policy dealing with the problem has been made, please answer the following questions: (a) What are the advantages and disadvantages of the policy? (b) Is there any possibility that the policy can be modified? How should it be done? (c) Does the policy need to be changed? Why? (4) To get more information about this problem, what other sources can be used? What steps can each group member take? (5) Are there other problems in the community that are considered important to be used as a class study object? What problem is it? Source: CCE, 1996, p. 12.

Adaptive model of social studies learning 203

Appendix 2: Format of interview

INTERVIEW FORM Interviewer’s name : Problem : Subject name :

...................................... ...................................... ......................................

(1) (For example, community leaders, parents of students, government, entrepreneur, lecturers, etc.). Note: If the subject does not want to be written down their name, respect them. Interviewer needs to write down their job. (2) Explain the problem being studied to the person being interviewed. Then ask the following questions. Record the answers given. (a) Do you consider this is an important issue? Why? (b) Do you think this problem is also important to other community members? Why? (c) What kind of polices need to be made in dealing with this problem? (3) If indeed the policy dealing with the problem has been made, ask the following questions: (a) What are the benefits of the policy? (b) What are the disadvantages of the policy? (c) Is there any possibility that the policy can be modified? How should it be done? (d) Does the policy need to be changed? Why? (e) Are there differences of opinion in the community regarding the policy that has been made? What are those opinions? (f) Where can I get more information to understand this problem? Source: CCE, 1996, p. 13.


Dasim Budimansyah and Theodorus Pangalila

Appendix 3: Format of information sources of printed media

PRINTED SOURCE FORM Name of observer : Date : Problem : Name/Date of issue : Article/News Topic :

..................................... ..................................... ..................................... ..................................... .....................................

(1) What steps are taken (written in the article/news) in dealing with the problem under investigation? (2) What are the main steps written in the article/news? (3) According to the article/news from the existing policy, which policy should be used dealing with the problem? (4) If indeed the policy dealing with the problem has been made, please ask the following questions: (a) What are the advantages of the policy? (b) What are the disadvantages of the policy? (c) Is there any possibility that the policy can be modified? How should it be done? (d) Does the policy need to be changed? Why? Source: CCE, 1996, p. 14.

Adaptive model of social studies learning 205

Appendix 4: Format of radio/television/internet observation

RADIO/TELEVISION OBSERVATION FORM Observer’s name : Radio/TV name : Internet site : Date : Time : Problem :

........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ........................................

(1) Write the name of the source of information. (Information can be obtained from television or radio news programs, recordings of various events, documentation, talk shows, interactive dialogues, internet sites, or other programs related to the problem being investigated.) (2) According to the source of information, is the problem under investigation considered as an important issue? Why? (3) According to the source of the information, what kind of polices should be used in dealing with the problem? If indeed the policy dealing with the problem has been made, please answer the following questions based on the information obtained. (a) What are the advantages of the policy? (b) What are the disadvantages of the policy? (c) Is there any possibility that the policy can be modified? How should it be done? (d) Does the policy need to be changed? Why? (e) Are there differences of opinion in the community regarding the policy that has been made? What are those opinions? Source: CCE, 1996, p. 15.

15 Teaching history in Myanmar Nation building or national reconciliation? Thaw Zin Oo

Myanmar’s civil war background On 4 January 1948, Burma become an independent country under the terms of the Burma Independence Act 1947. The “Union of Burma” was the new name for the nation. The British colonial government had divided and ruled both the Burmese majority and minority ethnic groups. In order to gain independence, in February 1947, General Aung San sought to build a strong relationship between the Burmese majority and other minority ethnic groups by holding a conference in Panglong, Southern Shan State. At the Panglong Conference, Aung San and ethnic representatives of the Chin, Shan and Kachin frontier areas had unanimously agreed to the formation of a unified Burma with autonomy to be granted to the country’s ethnic minority areas, thus de facto paving the way for an independent federal state including the right to secede after ten years of independence. Unfortunately, General Aung San was assassinated by a paramilitary group in July 1947, and the Panglong agreement was not honored by the postindependence government (Bigagli, 2019, p. 4). From 1949, the year after Myanmar gained independence from the British, to 1989 the country’s numerous ethnics groups rose up in armed resistance because of the dissatisfaction with the post-independence government and to fight for greater autonomy. At least 53 ethnic armies and parties formed out of Karen, Kachin, Pa-Oh, Shan, Mon, Karenni (Kayah), Akha, Kokang, Palaung, Wa, Mongla, Lahu, Arakan (Rakhine), Chin, Kayan and Naga ethnic groups who claimed their rights were not fully delivered by the majority Burma government. There were also communist rebel groups led by members of the majority Burma during the same 40-year period. There was negotiation between various ethnic armed groups (EAGs) and the central government to end the civil war in 1958, 1963, 1980, 1989 and 1990s (Nyein, 2019). From 2011, the semi-civilian government of U Thein Sein initiated the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) to achieve a negotiated settlement between the government of Myanmar and non-state ethnic armed groups (EAGs) to pave the way for peace building and national reconciliation. After the 2015 election, the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, also has paid much attention to achieve national reconciliation by holding the 21st Century Panglong Conference. According to the Myanmar Peace Monitor (2016),

Teaching history in Myanmar 207 the official count of the EAGs is 21, but the government only recognized 15 altogether and of these, eight EAGs signed the NCA on 15 October 2015 in Naypyidaw capital of Myanmar. It is against this background that current approaches to teaching history in Myanmar needs to be considered. In addition, it is helpful to understand that after an uprising in 1989 the military took control of the country and the military junta changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar. The junta felt that the name “Burma” only represented the Burmese people, the dominant ethnic group in the country and therefore appeared to exclude other ethnic groups.

State education and ethnic education There are different types of schools that provide formal education in Myanmar. Public schools, private schools and monastic schools are the main institutions following the government curriculum. Public and private schools are under the Ministry of Education and monastic schools are “co-governed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture and the Ministry of Education” (Pun, 2018). In state education, the medium of language is Burmese and all of the textbooks are developed in Burmese, expect for science. Students can study at three levels, primary, middle and high schools, in basic education. After that, they can enter higher education in Myanmar or abroad. Due to civil war and lack of government support for education, some ethnic parties/armed organizations created their own education departments and provided education to thousands of students in their controlled areas every year. They saw government restrictions on the teaching of ethnic languages in government and nongovernment schools as a threat to their ethnic identities. It was one of the reasons for taking up arms against the government (Pon Nya Mon, 2014, p. 2). Ethnic armed groups like the Karen National Union (KNU) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP), both of which agreed to a ceasefire with the government in 1995, and the Kachin Independence Organization, which has not signed the NCA, had thousands of members with their own education department for their ethnic school children. According to Marie Lall and Ashley South (2016, p. 10), KNU performed an education service for the Karen community by founding the Karen Education Department (KED) many years ago. They acquired needed funds for education service from their local community and international organizations. Their education system was based on the needs of local people and different from the government education system. The ethnic schools did not follow the government school curriculum and developed their own which mainly focused on teaching Karen history, literature and culture. They also used Karen language as a medium of instruction. The Myanmar government did not recognize these schools and did not allow graduates from KNU schools to enter government universities and jobs. There are also civil society private schools following the government curriculum in the areas controlled by the KNU. In the academic year 2017–2018, in order to promote the Karen language, the KNU provided Myanmar Kyat 80 million for the 473


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village-appointed teachers (about USD130 each), including Karen literature teachers who do not receive government support (Karen News, 2017). There are also supplementary schools in almost every EAG-controlled area that focus on ethnic language, culture and religion. These schools mostly open in the evening after the government classes are over and during the summer holidays. In 1972, the New Mon State Party created a Central Education Department, which opened Mon “national schools” for children who did not get access to schools, especially those in rural and remote areas and Mon language teaching schools in areas controlled by the New Mon State Party and also in some areas outside. They formed the Mon National Education Committee (MNEC) under the Central Education Department to conduct curriculum development, delivering capacity building training for school staff and teachers. The New Mon State Party signed a ceasefire with the central government in 1995, and after that the number of Mon national schools and consequently teachers and students has steadily increased. These schools, recognized by the central government, give formal education following government curriculum, but the language of instruction in these is Mon language. Graduates of the MNEC’s Mon national schools speak fluent Mon but can also sit for government matriculation exams in the Burmese language. This type of school is called the Ethnic Armed Group (government curriculum) schools in which the curriculum is supplemented by ethnic nationality-oriented materials, and students from these schools are not given government teacher support, but they can transfer to the state education system (South & Lall, 2016). The Kachin Independence Army has thousands of soldiers. Its headquarter is in Laiza, southern Kachin state, bordering China, and there are thousands of internal displaced persons (IDPs) in the city. The Kachin Independence Army provides people from IDPs camp hospital and school service. They give both basic education and higher education. There are not enough teachers, and volunteer teachers have been used to maintain education services for the displaced. Although Jinghpaw is the main language of instruction, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) use the same curriculum as Myanmar government schools – with the addition of Jinghpaw language subject and the textbooks are in Burmese. Students from these schools take the KIO Education Department’s exam, but graduates from these schools are not recognized to enter Myanmar state education system. KIO Education Department tried to cooperate with Myanmar’s Ministry of Education to support students from schools in KIO areas to transfer to Myanmar government schools. Myanmar government schools in Myitkyina also offered a classroom of separate instruction to help student from KIO areas integrate. Since KIO broke the 17-year-old ceasefire in 2011, the Myanmar government no longer recognizes the exams of the KIO Education Department (Myanmar Times, 2013).

History teaching in Myanmar – unity first, diversity missing Salem-Gervais and Metro (2012) have linked the teaching of history to deliberate nation-building processes in Myanmar. They defined nation building as “the

Teaching history in Myanmar 209 process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state” (p. 27). A central part of this process has been to stress the unity of the nation. As Walton (2015) has pointed out, this has been a feature of successive regimes from the colonial period through to “the movements for democracy” as well as religious and ethnic (resistance) (p. 1). This focus on unity is not unique to Myanmar. Indonesia’s national motto is “unity in diversity”, reflecting the multiple religious and ethnic groups in the country. In the United States, the Latin motto, e pluribus unum, first appeared on US coins in the eighteenth century and was a reflection that a number of different states came together to form the “one” United States of America. Nation building is thus a common process and a dominant theme as countries seek to build allegiance and commitment; Myanmar has been no exception. There are many ways to build unity, including the use of the school curriculum and history teaching in particular. Yet Myanmar from the earliest times presented a particular challenge. It has always been characterized by ethnic diversity, and this has been evident throughout history. Yet as Salem-Gervais (2018) has pointed out, Famously, under previous military regimes, the successive historiography of three great kings (usually Anawrahta, Bayinnaung and Alaungphaya) presented them as the “unifiers” of what would become Burma/Myanmar, and have featured prominently in the textbooks (and elsewhere), with their successive empires presented as early forms of today’s Union. This suggests that diversity loses out when unity becomes the focus, meaning that it is unity at all costs. Given the move towards democracy in Myanmar following the election of the National League of Democracy government in 2015, should any change be expected as far as history teaching is concerned? Salem-Gervais (2018) is not convinced: The great kings and heroes, whom the children used to be introduced to only in Grade 4, are now introduced in the (new) Grade 1, in a much more attractive, children’s storybook style. . . . However, the core narrative conveyed by these textbooks remains very similar: great soldier-kings using their swords, brains and goodwill to unify the ethnic nationalities/national races (tain’yintha) within their empires. It does not seem from this observation that change is on the way, despite a greater commitment to democracy as well as to education reform in general (see Chapter 9 for details). Yet the complexity of Myanmar’s situation needs to be appreciated. Lopes Cardozo et al. (2015) explained that: a central issue in the current landscape of Myanmar is the ongoing process of peace negotiations between the government and multiple ethnic armed groups (EAGs) which are as yet unresolved after six decades of fighting. Education is not an explicit component of the National Ceasefire Agreement


Thaw Zin Oo (NCA), but is seen as an important aspect of the peace dialogue, as it is recognized that education has and continues to be a key grievance for many of the armed groups, other elements of civil society and minority groups. (p. 4)

There are two issues here that are important. First, the Myanmar education system is out of date and its policy does not refect the inclusion of its diverse ethnic groups. For many years, the state has been highly centralized, and it has used the Burmese language as the medium of instruction in schools. Most of the contexts provided in the basic school history curriculum have been about Burmese people rather than people from other ethnic groups. For ethnic groups, therefore, there has been no chance to integrate their history, cultures and identities in basic education. Ethnic group conflict has characterized recent history in Myanmar to the extent that some ethnic groups have been involved in armed conflict (e.g. the Wa, Kachin, and Karen groups) and some have set up their own education systems in response to feeling excluded from being part of the nation. Second, diversity in this context has taken on a very real and potent form in Myanmar to the extent of open warfare between central authorities and some ethnic groups. The history curriculum, therefore, has been a reflection of ethnic exclusion and has contributed to ethnic conflict, becoming a barrier to building any kind of national reconciliation in Myanmar. Understanding the extent of ethnic minority diversity in Myanmar is therefore important. Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. In 1964, the government announced a new policy aimed at both supporting and highlighting the importance of the country’s ethnic minorities. The new approach, drawing on previous constitutional provisions, identified 135 ethnic groups that were classified as “national races”. Yet memberships of these 135 groups have always been contested both for those included as well those excluded, for example, of the “135 officially designated categories, none . . . is named Rohingya or Bengali (Cheesman, 2017, p. 462). Scholars have also pointed out, even by 2014 as new laws were being promulgated as part of reform efforts, there was still confusion about who was included in this group. Perhaps more importantly, as noted by Cheesman (2017), the purpose of this designation was not so much to highlight Myanmar’s diversity but to stress its unity. They were referred to as “national” races because they were seen to belong to the nation, or more specifically the political construct of the “Union of Myanmar”. The designation of national races, therefore, was a political device highlighting the unity narrative of both Myanmar’s development as well as its future. Yet there is little doubt that diversity characterizes the so called “national races”. The major national races are often identified as the Kachin, Kayah (Karenni), Kayin, Chin, Mon, Burmese (Burma), Rakhine and Shan. They all have their own language, tradition and culture. Kachin, for example, comprises 12 different ethnic groups, Kayah is made up of nine different ethnic groups. Kayin includes 11 different ethnics groups, Chin involves 53 different ethnic

Teaching history in Myanmar 211 groups, Burma has nine dialects, Shan have 33 sub-ethnic groups, while counting one and seven ethnic groups in Mon and Rakhine respectively (see, for example It is this real diversity that needs to be reflected in the school curriculum and particularly the history curriculum if national reconciliation is to become part of the new democratic Myanmar. This focus on national reconciliation can be seen to be at odds with the nationbuilding process referred to earlier. Reconciliation requires that Myanmar’s history curriculum should include perspectives from diverse ethnic groups. This is a significant challenge given the current 1986 history curriculum was designed from the point of view of Burma citizens rather than from the inclusive perspective of all ethnic groups living in Myanmar.

Literature review Around the world, many political leaders have often used state education systems as a tool for nation building, using school curriculum to shape citizens’ national identity to be consistent with their long-term political goals (Chai, 2015). As research also shows (Apple, 1992, p. 182), controlling the curriculum and textbook is key “to create what a society has recognized as legitimate and truthful”. In particular, history textbooks and their contexts are critical in shaping what students learn as they are commonly presented as authoritative information and used as the main teaching material in classrooms. The way that history is presented can be one of the most contentious aspects of the curriculum in conflict affected contexts. History is a subject with the potential for reconciliation as well as being a subject that can drive conflict and sectarian attitudes (Naylor, 2015). Depending on how it is taught, it can communicate conciliatory values or promote sectarian attitudes. It plays an important role in the formation of individual and community identity (Lopes Cardozo et al., 2015). In the case of history curricula, these consequences often include the formation of students’ ethnic and national identities (Wertsch, 2004). There is a direct correlation between conflict and how people feel about what language and curriculum their children are taught. In Myanmar, armed conflict has made some ethnic parents and communities less inclined to accept government schools and Burmese language education. Conflict is often an incentive to create separate (or parallel) systems. Metro (2013, p. 10) pointed out that Burmese stakeholders regard revising history curricula as a diffcult task for all of these reasons. Some believe it is better to avoid discussions of history and stick with the status quo, but others feel that reforms are a key step in reconciliation. The challenge for those who seek reform is not only to produce reconciliatory curricula but also to facilitate an inclusive process of revision in which disagreements about history do not erupt into rancor. In the research conducted for this book, several organizations that had taken on this challenge. In the socialist era (1962–1988), General Ne Win announced his education policy in line with the “Burmese Way to Socialism” by proclaiming the need to


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bring a system “based on socialist moral values”. He nationalized the schools and universities and established the Burmese language as the official language of the country under the national language policy. All publications were in the Burmese language, from newspapers to school textbooks. Scholars have pointed out that the government “often used language policy to serve an instrumental purpose, such as building a national identity” (Lall & South, 2016, p. 3). Significantly, history curriculum has been controversial, and many ethnic groups perceived the government’s history curriculum as Burmese people centric, while those produced by ethnonationalist groups are accused of demonizing Burmese. While many Burmese educators acknowledge that extremist history curricula can worsen ethnic confict and agree that reconciliatory approaches should be pursued, interethnic collaboration has not yet yielded materials appropriate for the ethnically mixed classrooms common in migrant and refugee schools (Metro, 2013, p. 8). The existing Myanmar national curriculum is a source of discrimination and emphasizes a need for new, inclusive curriculum that respects and represents diverse perspectives and narratives and that is contextualized to local communities both linguistically and culturally. The lack of inclusive ethnic histories and languages in the current national curriculum is viewed as an obstacle to national reconciliation (Thabyay Education Foundation, 2017, p. 14).

Reviewing high school history curriculum The history curriculum in Myanmar has not been modified since 1986 (Zaw, 2017). Significant revisions to textbooks and curriculum have only occurred twice since the independence of Myanmar, with the revisions taking place in 1986 and 1998. Myanmar has been in the process of reforming its education system since 2013 (for details see Chapter 9). The history curriculum has been reformed from primary to high school. The academic year of 2020–2021 will be the last year of the old education system and the government will add two grades; Grade 11 and Grade 12 for basic education students from the beginning of 2021–2022 academic year. At the moment, it is not possible to access history textbook of those two grades. Therefore a history textbook used in Grade 10 of the new education system has been reviewed. History and geography contents are together in the Grade 10 social studies textbook. The textbook contains two sections dealing with history: the first is about national history and the second world history. In the Myanmar national history section, the contents cover the culture and heritage of the Bagan dynasty and Mandalay’s culture and heritage. Attention is given to the national heritage of the Burmese people. Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of the Mandalay region and both Bagan and Mandalay are recognized as historical cities. The textbook highlights the Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries constructed in Bagan and Mandalay. There is no mention of the kings of the Bagan dynasty, except King Mindon Min and his son, Thibaw Min, who was the last king of the Konbaung dynasty. Their actions in promoting Buddhism and constructing

Teaching history in Myanmar 213 Buddhist buildings are key points of the textbook. There is nothing concerning ethnic people in the textbook. These are the history contents: Chapter 1 Bagan Cultural Heritage 1.1 Background history of Bagan 1.2 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries in Bagan 1.3 Buddhist Images Chapter 2 Mandalay Cultural Heritage 2.1 Background history of Mandalay 2.2 Mandalay Yadanabon Capital and Mya Nan San Kyaw Golden Palace 2.3 Buddhist Architecture in Mandalay 2.4 Lapidary Pitakas Chapter 3. Indian Culture 3.1 Background of Buddhist Culture 3.2 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries 3.3 Buddhist Images Chapter 4. Southeast Asia Culture 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4

Borobudur Angkor Wat Ayuthia Hue

Teachers’ perspectives of the history curriculum This section reports the results of interviews with a sample of teachers and researchers. Participants were asked a range of questions and these are shown in Table 15.1.

Table 15.1 Questions Used in Interviews With History Teachers and Researchers 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

What is your ethnic race? What is your highest level of education? How many years of teaching experience do you have? What are the differences between the new history curriculum and old ones? Why do you teach history? Do you know that the history curriculum also impacts national reconciliation? Do you think that it will be good for national reconciliation if the history of the eight major diverse ethnic people is equally included in the history curriculum? 8. What are the consequences of local curriculum teaching in ethnic areas for national reconciliation? 9. How can mother-tongue based education affect national reconciliation? 10. What can you do for national reconciliation as a history teacher?


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Table 15.2 Characteristics of the Teacher Interview Sample Ethnic composition






5 BSc

5 BEd




% Level of education

65 Diploma

20 BA



% Years of experience

>30 5

20–30 13

< 10 2

The teacher sample Twenty history teachers from five government schools in the Hlaing Thar Yar Township, Yangon, were interviewed. Four middle and high school history teachers were interviewed from each school. Further details of the interview samples are shown in Table 15.2. Almost 70 percent of the teachers interviewed graduated around 1985, and they started their teaching journey around 1990s, after the pro-democracy uprising of August 1988. As shown in Table 15.2, the majority of teachers had between 20–30 years of teaching experience and were degree holders. The inclusion of different ethnic groups (see Table 15.2) provided the opportunity to get different perspectives.

Differences between new and old history curriculum: teachers’ perspectives Currently, the Myanmar government is changing its national school curriculum for basic education while at the same time converting the education system from a 5–4–2 configuration to a full K–12 system. As a part of this project, teachers are being given training for the new education system and its curriculum teaching, largely during the school summer holidays. A number of interviewees had been exposed to the new history curriculum, and they explained the difference between the new history curriculum and old ones. The following were common responses: There are not many curriculum changes for curriculum, but the content in the new history textbook is less than in the old one. Yet the teaching method is absolutely changed from a teacher-centered approach to a child-centered approach. In the new history textbook, there are only a few sentences about a content, so we have to find some sources from some books and online to get full knowledge about a content and to discuss with students in a classroom. (Ma Lwin)

Teaching history in Myanmar 215 The new history curriculum is designed to teach students with the help of teaching aids. It is very good for the teaching process, but we don’t have enough time to teach like this because of the limitation of the teaching hour (45 mins for a session). (Hla Phyu) The contents from the new Grade 10 history curriculum are all about culture, tradition and heritage of Myanmar and the world. It is different from the old one that focuses on Myanmar’s political revolution. So I think the government would like students to know more about culture, tradition and heritage of our country and the world. (Hnin Wai)

History teaching and national reconciliation Given that many of the interviewed teachers had taught between 20 and 30 years, many of them had taught in the regions inhabited by ethnic people. Their experiences reveal that they were aware of the attitudes of ethnic groups and individuals to the Myanmar history curriculum and its impact on national reconciliation. Teachers who had not taught at ethnic regions did not notice the consequence of Myanmar history curriculum on national reconciliation. Although all of the interviewees were history teachers, only some of them held the Bachelor of Art (History) degree. They explained why they chose to teach history. I graduated with a specialization in chemistry, but I like history teaching. Most of the Myanmar students are not interested in politics, and I want them to have knowledge about Myanmar and world affairs like me. I was sure that only history subject is the best to teach, share and exchange knowledge concerning Myanmar and World affairs with students. I was sure that history is the best subject to teach and share that knowledge with students. That’s why, I chose to teach history. (Eaindray) I like reading and I have been interested in history since I was young. When I was young, I always read Buddhist stories to my grandfather every evening. That was a force to study history for me. So, when I graduated from high school, I decided to study history at university. I teach history because I want the students to know and learn from the past and not to make the same mistakes. (Kyaw Min)

Themes: what the teachers say In this section, teachers show their perspective on history curriculum, local curriculum teaching and mother-tongue based education that indirectly affects national reconciliation.


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Integrating the viewpoint of ethnic groups into history curriculum Some of the teachers said that there is little content about ethnic people in the current history curriculum and it covers Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Burma (Burmese), Rakhine and Shan which are regarded as eight major ethnic groups by the government. The content from the current history curriculum is all about the fundamental history of Myanmar, and I don’t want to make any changes to it. If ethnic people, if they want to know their respective history more deeply, they can learn from many sources. (Than Swe) If we understand Myanmar political history, the role of Burmese people was so big. That’s why, although we want to integrate history of other ethnic people equally, it is impossible. (Yi Lwin) Some of the ethnic groups have extremely patriotic mindset than other groups. So, there will be no positive effect on national reconciliation if the viewpoint of eight major ethnic groups is integrated into school history curriculum. (Phyu Sin) I know that the ethnic groups want to integrate their respective histories such as the heroes from their groups into the school history curriculum. For the government, some of their heroes are rebels. So, integrating the point of view of their history will not be very good for national reconciliation. (Kyaw Min)

Consequence of local curriculum teaching The Myanmar government allows a local curriculum during school hours in ethnic areas. Some interviewees gave their perspective about local curriculum teaching and its consequences. Almost all welcomed local curriculum teaching, and they expect it to have a positive impact on national reconciliation. To be honest, allowing local curriculum teaching in school hour is the recognition of existence of ethnic people by the government. Teaching hours for local curriculum is not much, and I want to suggest teaching it in school summer holidays. It would help ethnic students to learn effectively about their races. (Kyaw Min)

Mother-tongue based education Mother-tongue based education is allowed in some places in Mon state by the government, and these schools are called “Mon Schools” and are managed by

Teaching history in Myanmar 217 the New Mon State Party that has signed the NCA. Other ethnic groups also expected to have a chance to open schools which can give mother-tongue based education in their respective areas. Interviewees gave their outlook on mothertongue based education. It is so good for national reconciliation. Nevertheless, as a developing country, our country cannot afford it because it can cost a great deal of money. (Eaindray) I want to encourage the implementation of mother-tongue based education for all ethnic groups. I think it is very suitable for ethnic students, and it would help the ethnic student to have full understanding and satisfaction from teaching. (Hla Phyu) Now, Burmese language is the official language of Myanmar. If mothertongue based education will be applied nationwide, the role of official language can be affected negatively in those areas. I don’t like it. (Kyaw Min)

The role of teachers in national reconciliation process In diverse countries such as Myanmar, teachers have an important role to play in the national reconciliation process. Interviewees expressed their views on national reconciliation. As a history teacher, I always teach my students to be unite each other and to respect belief of other people. (Khin Sapal) I always said that “I am teacher, not a Burma (Burmese) in classroom”. As a teacher, we should use appropriate words which are suitable for all students. We should not discriminate on grounds of age, sex or race of students. (Kyaw Min) As a teacher, I always teach my students “to pay respect to elders, to show kindness to youngsters and to sympathize with peers”. These words can help to build peace among people. (Than Swe)

Conclusion The road toward national reconciliation is a process and must be one based on mutual understanding, recognition and tolerance through education as a tool of integration. To achieve national reconciliation, developing an inclusive school curriculum is one of the best ways for Myanmar, especially since it has the world’s longest civil war. Most of the school curriculum is developed from the point


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of view of Burmese people and other ethnic groups feel excluded. This is why representatives of ethnic groups, such as the EAGs, are establishing schools for their ethnic school children to promote their history, culture and language. Recognizing ethnic schools and developing mother-tongue based education in ethnic areas, as is happening on a small scale, will make an impact on national reconciliation. When the government develops the school curriculum, ethnic scholars should be invited. There is no denying that Myanmar is a strong Buddhist country, but there is more to it than Buddhist-Burmese people. Almost all of the ethnic people are Christian or Muslim, and the government should integrate their belief, history and culture into the school curriculum. Further research could be carried out to review all high school history curriculum and gain input from ethnic students and by going to ethnic national schools. The government should find a way to integrate the viewpoints of ethnic people into the new history curriculum and set a special plan to teach local curriculum within school hours. If not, the tension between the Myanmar government and ethnic armed groups (EAGs) will remain and national reconciliation will not be achieved. The Myanmar government has to reform its education system not only to improve the quality but also promote ethnic identity, harmony and reconciliation.

Bibliography Apple, M. W. (1992, October 1). The text and cultural politics. Retrieved from Bigagli, F. (2019). School, ethnicity and nation-building in postcolonial Myanmar. Research in Educational Policy and Management, 1(1), 1–16. Chai, A. (2015). History textbook and the construction of national identity in Burma. Senior Thesis Trinity College, Hartford, CT. Retrieved on 22 November 2020 from ntext=theses Cheesman, N. (2017). How in Myanmar “national races” came to surpass citizenship and exclude Rohingya. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 47(3), 461–483. Higgins, S., Maber, E., Lopes Cardozo, M., & Shah, R. (2016). The role of education in peacebuilding country report: Myanmar. Executive Summary. Research Consortium Education and Peacebuilding. Retrieved from https://educationanddevelopment.files. pdf Kadiwal, H., Sayed, L., Barrett, Y., Durrani, A., & Novelli, N. (2015). Literature review: The role of teachers in peacebuilding. Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding/UNICEF. Retrieved from http://learningforpeace.unicef. org/research/the-role-of-teachers-in-peacebuilding-2/ Karen News. (2017, November 15). KNU’s education department donates over K 80 million to ethnic literature teachers. Retrieved on 26 September 2020 from http://

Teaching history in Myanmar 219 Lall, M., San, T., San, N., Myat, T., & Khain, L. (2013). Teachers’ voice what education reforms does Myanmar need. A Report from Myanmar Egress. Retrieved from Lall, M., & South, A. (2016). Schooling and conflict: Ethnic education and mothertongue based teaching in Myanmar. The Asia Foundation. Retrieved on 15 November 2019 from pdf Lopes Cardozo, M., Higgins, S., Maber, E., Brandt, C. O., Kusmallah, N., & Le Mat, M. L. J. (2015). Literature review: Youth agency, peacebuilding and education. Research Consortium Education and Peacebuilding & University of Amsterdam. Retrieved from Metro, R. (2013). Postconflict history curriculum revision as an “intergroup encounter”: Promoting interethnic reconciliation among Burmese migrants and refugees in Thailand. Comparative Education Review, 57(1), 145–168. Mon, P. N. (2014, October 3). Education reform and national reconciliation in Burma. Paper presented at the 2014 Western Conference Association for Asian Studies. Arizona State University. Retrieved on 22 November 2020 from ttps:// national_reconciliation_1.pdf Myanmar Times. (2013, May 14). Education takes a hit in Kachin state. Myanmar Times. Retrieved on 26 September 2020 from html Naylor, R. (2015). Curriculum development in fragile states to encourage peace and reduction of conflict. Applied Knowledges Service. Retrieved on 22 November 2020 from Nyein, N. (2019, February 1). Ethnic armed resistance movements in Myanmar. The Irrawaddy. Retrieved on 26 September 2020 from timeline-70-years-ethnic-armed-resistance-movements-myanmar.html Pun, S. (2018, August 19). Monastic schools play in indispensable role in the education system because they provide disadvantaged children with an opportunity to learn. Frontier Myanmar. Retrieved on 30 June 2019 from https://frontiermyanmar. net/en/monastic-schools-filling-a-gap-in-the-education-system Salem-Gervais, N. (2018). Teaching ethnic languages, cultures and histories in government schools today: Great opportunities, giant pitfalls? Tea Circle. Retrieved on 28 June 2020 from Salem-Gervais, N., & Metro, R. (2012). A textbook case of nation-building: The evolution of history curricula in Myanmar. Journal of Burma Studies, 16(1), 27–78. South, A., & Lall, M. (2016). Language, education and the peace process in Myanmar. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 38(1), 128–153. Retrieved on 7 June 2020 from Thabyay Education Foundation. (2017). Making education policy a force for peace. Retrieved from peace_policy_white_paper_g_edited.pdf


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Walton, M. (2015). The disciplining discourse of unity in Burmese politics. The Journal of Burma Studies, 19(1), 1–26. Wertsch, J. (2004). Specifc narratives and schematic narrative templates. In P. Seixas (Ed.), Theorizing historical consciousness (49–62). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Zaw, P. (2017, May 19). Reforming education reform in Myanmar. Retrieved on 5 October 2020 from

Section 4

Lessons from Asian contexts for social studies education

16 Interrogating the nature of Asian social studies Kerry J Kennedy

Throughout this book it has been shown that social studies subjects are an integral part of the school curriculum across many South and South Asian countries. Some chapters have shown the direct influence of social studies as understood in the United States (e.g. Indonesia) and others show how aspirations for what is taken to be progressive social studies education have been ignored (e.g. Pakistan). In yet other countries, social studies has been adapted to meet local needs, even to the naming of the subject (e.g. Bangladesh). More recently, Singapore has reversed direction from its traditional focus on the academic social studies subjects to a more integrated social studies curriculum. Thus, there is no “Asian” social studies in the sense that there is a single dominating philosophy or theoretical framework that characterises what happens in classrooms across the region. Classroom social studies education across the region is influenced more by local contexts, national requirements and curriculum demands in what are essentially post-colonial societies. Yet as Barr, Barth, and Shermis (1977) showed with respect to the United States, the form that social studies takes is very often determined by philosophical or theoretical influences. They identified social studies as “citizenship transmission”, as “social science” and as “reflective inquiry” (p. 67), representing the most important traditions influencing the field. This diversity of conceptions should not be surprising. Fallace (2009) showed that the report on the origins of social studies in secondary schools produced in 1916 by the Committee on Social Studies represented “a compromise on numerous issues, disciplines and epistemologies” (p. 619). While there is evidence of progressive influences on the work of this committee, there are equally influences from social efficiency and social control perspectives as well. These are included together with continuing support from advocates of the academic disciplines. The issue now is to understand how social studies education in Asian contexts might be better understood. Such education in these contexts should be seen not so much as an offshoot of the early twentieth century North American experience but rather as a product of local contexts, priorities and interests. Exploring this issue will involve a consideration of the following: • •

Post-colonial contexts and social studies education Limited or contested democracy as a background

224 • • •

Kerry J Kennedy Links to moral education Beyond the formal curriculum Comparisons with East Asia

Post-colonial contexts Of the eight countries covered in this book, seven of them emerged from colonial domination sometime in the post-World War II period – the exception is Thailand. This means that education policy in the majority of cases was developed in a post-colonial context. Even Thailand after 1932 was moving away from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, thus providing the foundation for the development of curriculum within a democratic framework. Post-colonialism requires change as highlighted by Shizha and Kariwo (2011): The problematic of politics of knowledge in the global contemporary and multicultural societies is how to define and legitimise knowledge especially in curriculum reform. Reforming inherited educational systems that functioned to maintain the colonial order of dependency and elitism has been an essential part of this task. (p. 73) To what extent, then, did the countries of South and South East Asia take advantage of their new contexts to bring change to the social studies curriculum? On balance, what is reported here has certainly been a change in orientation of social studies education supporting the new nation states rather than the former colonial powers. Thus, a key characteristic of social studies across the region is a kind of nationalism that signals both the independence of each country and the need to support new post-independence entities. This might be considered change at a macro level, and it is by no means unexpected in a post-colonial context. Of course, such change should also be reflected throughout the curriculum in terms of the kind of content needed to help students understand and interrogate the world in which they now lived. Yet the means of delivering the curriculum remained much the same. There remains a strong commitment to the academic subjects of history, geography and economics, especially in the secondary school, but also in many primary school systems, even though at that level across countries there is often more integration than at the secondary level. Very often, as in Myanmar, when the term “social studies” is used, it really means “social studies subjects” that include the basic social science disciplines rather than any integrated form of the subject. The post-colonial environment, therefore, has meant a nationalist and nationbuilding perspective on social studies education in South and South East Asian countries, a focus on traditional academic subjects although at times with a focus on inquiry-oriented pedagogy. This latter can be seen, for example, with the most recent developments in Singapore, although in other countries the criticism is often that attempts at more progressive pedagogies have not been successful.

Interrogating Asian social studies 225 The Indonesian chapter, for example, shows a deliberate attempt to adopt a very specific set of pedagogies based on a US project. This is seen as one way to influence the national development of more innovative social studies. It was not, however, a national strategy but the influence of a group of academic social studies educators. Mahabeer (2020) explained that “traditional school curriculums teach knowledge, values, and beliefs that support colonisation, and to decolonise the curriculum is to critically interrogate this knowledge and its relation to power to restore indigenous knowledge and dignity to the indigenous people” (p. 98). It would be too much to claim, based on the information in the chapters here, that a thorough and systematic “decolonisation” of the social studies curriculum has taken place across the region. If decolonisation can be equated with an enhanced nationalism, then this is certainly the case across the region. Yet more detailed analysis is needed to assess the extent to which indigenous knowledge has replaced colonial knowledge, how indigenous people are portrayed in the curriculum and understand how power relations now operate between elites and others in constructing “official” curriculum knowledge. This is an important topic for future research in the area.

Democracy and social studies in Asia W.B. Stanley (2005), a noted US social studies educator of the late twentieth century, made the point that “in the United States, schooling is generally understood as an integral component of a democratic society” (p. 282). This broad statement was particularly important for social studies education, so Gross and Zeleny (1958) commented that “schools require youth to pursue the social studies so that they become useful democratic citizens” (p. 3). Jorgensen (2014) highlighted John Dewey’s view that schools “should both embrace the democratic process and promote democracy itself by exemplifying on a daily basis the principles of democracy” (p. 5). Even in the late nineteenth century when debates raged between those who favoured single social studies disciplines and those who supported a more multidisciplinary approach, it was argued that subjects such as history could be “laboratories of democracy” to foster citizenship, assimilation and “social stability and moral uplift” (Perrotta & Bohan, 2018, p. 29). This focus on democracy in nineteenth and twentieth century United States was not always in support of current social and economic systems. Rather, as Stanley (2005) showed, the democratic focus was often seen to be important because the system was seen to be in need of reform. This kind of social reconstructionism certainly influenced social studies in whatever form it took, although it was not a panacea that was embraced by everyone. Nevertheless, from the beginning and over time, social studies education in the United States was associated with democracy, its development, its improvement and its importance in the lives of future citizens. Links between democracy and social studies are not always evident in Asian contexts. Fukuyama (1995), for example, made the point that “no one in Asia


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today believes it likely that Asian societies will ultimately converge with the particular model of liberal democracy represented by the contemporary United States” (p. 29). He described Singapore’s political system as one reflecting a “soft authoritarianism” (p. 24) rather than democracy. Hood’s (1998) explanation for this was that while democratic institutions such as elections were often in place, deeper democratic values simply did not develop. Even so, he seemed confident that in time this development will take place. Roy (1994), on the other hand, was less sanguine about democracy’s development in Asia. He saw “soft authoritarianism” as a strategy, especially in Singapore, to pit Western and Eastern views of governance and philosophy against each other. Having been colonised once by Western nations, many Asian countries declared they would not be so again, even by such a hallowed institution as liberal democracy. In describing what became known as the “Asian values” debate, Roy (1994) pointed out that Singapore’s challenge to Western democracy also won support from countries such as Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand. This resistance to democracy signals a distinctiveness about Asian contexts compared to the United States. This distinctiveness did not show itself in the same way in every country. One thing many Asian countries had in common, however, was that democracy, in whatever form, did not eclipse local values and traditions. Fukuyama (1995), for example, talked about democracy’s survival in Confucian contexts, signalling the existence of thousands of years of tradition influencing Singapore alongside its democracy. It is important to understand, therefore, that democracy did not form the crucible in which social studies education was nurtured in Asian contexts. There were other significant regional influences, and many of these have been highlighted throughout the chapters of this book. One of these influences has been religion. Different chapters deal with religion in different ways. In Myanmar and Thailand, where Buddhism is dominant, there is little mention of its influence. Yet in the case of both countries, there is a Buddhist nationalism. In Myanmar, it is related to protecting the religion against perceived Muslim incursions (Foxeus, 2019). In Thailand, it was so integrated with the Thai state that McCargo (2007) argued any democratic gains achieved have been despite Buddhism and not because of it. In both of these cases where there are clear democratic aspirations, religion is often pulling in the opposite direction. This has nothing to do with the mechanics of democracy, such as elections and structures. Rather, it has to do with democratic values that, in both Myanmar and Thailand, compete with religious values. When these contexts are considered, the call for national reconciliation in Myanmar and a greater commitment to democracy in Thailand can be better appreciated. In Pakistan and Malaysia, where Islam is dominant, religion is shown to permeate decisions about schooling so that very often religious values are given priority. It should be noted, however, that this issue was not canvassed in the Bangladesh and Indonesian chapters that also reflect societies where Islam plays a dominant role. Therefore, it cannot be concluded, from these chapters at least, that there is a necessary tension between Islam and education or Islam and democracy. Indeed, the Pakistan chapter ends with a new vision for the country’s social

Interrogating Asian social studies 227 studies education, yet that view did not represent a rejection of religion. Rather, it simply highlights the importance of democratic understanding that does not need to be at odds with religious values. The issue of religion and its interaction with social studies education in countries like Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar is an important area for future research. The chapter on India reveals similar tensions to those referred to earlier. The context is a revival of what might be called Hindu nationalism (Anand, 2011). Over time it seems the social studies curriculum reflected new post-colonial priorities, even to the point of preferring to change “civics” to “political science” since the former represented an old colonial school subject that sought to produce docile citizens. Yet currently the focus is more on nationalism fuelled by “Hindutva ideology” (Ramachandran, 2020) that seeks to build a new narrative for the state. This ideology, by some accounts, is both fundamentalist and anti-Muslim, seeking to transform India’s secular state to a religious state. The important point to note here, and this applies across all chapters, is that changing politics means changing curriculum. More research is needed on the issue of what has been referred to earlier as “religious nationalism” and in particular its influence on the school curriculum, including social studies education. At the macro level, Juergensmeyer (2019) has pointed to the “vulnerability of the nation state” under the assault of globalisation and the extent to which “new ethnoreligious politics . . . step into the breach and shore up national identities and purposes”. This is an important perspective and suggests that European notions of the secular state, such an important part of Enlightenment thinking, have been rejected in many Asian countries with clear implications for schooling and the curriculum. What is more, often democracy and religion are not always compatible in these contexts. This is a major issue for social studies education, needing further investigation at a deeper level than has been possible in this book.

Moral education and the social studies Based on the analyses in the previous section, it is not surprising to identify moral education as a key aspect of social education across the region. The Malaysian chapter in the classroom section highlighted this issue with its title “Noble character” as a focus in Moral Education in Malaysia. Yet this is not moral education in the secular sense of providing a set of practices normally associated with producing “good people”. In the Malaysian context, moral education is designed to produce good Muslims. A similar point is made for Pakistan with reference to the 2017 reforms in which “the policy relies solely on the teaching of Islamiyat and Holy Quran to become responsible citizens and respond to the emerging demands of globalization”. In Singapore, there has been an historic reliance on producing “moral, law abiding and patriotic citizens”, and while there are changes in social studies moving towards more inquiry-oriented and transformational goals, there is little evidence that these long-term objectives will be ignored. What is important about the Singapore case is that it is expressed in


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purely secular rather than religious terms so that the concept of being “moral” takes on different meanings in different contexts. The focus on moral education, with its connection to religion in many countries across the region, does not have any equivalence in Western contexts. Yet from the very beginning of post-colonial educational development in the United States until now, there has been an emphasis on producing “good citizens”. This term has become quite contested over time with multiple meanings being attached to it (Westheimer & Kahn, 2004). Nevertheless, seeking to produce “good citizens” reflects a commitment to a particular set of values – Western secular values. This stands in contrast to the religious values so important to many countries in the region. Religion versus secularism is very much an old debate popularised during the European Enlightenment. Yet Enlightenment values are not the values of the region fuelling moral education. For the most part (with the exception of Singapore), religion provides a distinctive context for social studies education. Even in places such as India, where there is a constitutional commitment to a secular state, the religious push grows stronger. As shown in this book, such a push is having implications for the social studies curriculum. These value differences between Asian and Western contexts are neither small nor insignificant; they create different contexts, lead to different curriculum and highlight different social and cultural influences. Understanding these differences can help to appreciate the distinctiveness of social studies education in Asian contexts. Such understanding can also highlight the research that is needed to explore this distinctiveness and the unique contexts that produce it.

Beyond the formal curriculum The second section of the book focuses on a broad range of subjects and issues related to social studies education. These were selected by the authors to reflect what they saw as important areas for social studies education in their contexts. As shown previously, moral education is important for Malaysia and its link to religion was highlighted. By contrast, civic and citizenship education was selected for Bangladesh. Its description indicates that such courses at the primary and junior secondary school levels focus on understanding of “civic society and system and civic principles” but not “civic participation and civic identities”. These latter domains are left to the secondary and higher secondary levels. This is a fairly traditional set of civics courses that highlights the diversity in the region when set against Malaysia’s moral education. This is an important point highlighting again that there is not a single “Asian” way of doing social studies education. Countries will select priorities that will suit their unique contexts as demonstrated by both Malaysia and Bangladesh. Chapters from Singapore, Indonesia and to some extent Pakistan show a concern with social studies pedagogy. The explanation of discussion strategies for Singapore classrooms is detailed and matches well with some of the new directions in curriculum development outlined in the earlier chapter. For Indonesia, a new pedagogy (adaptive learning) is explained against a background in the earlier

Interrogating Asian social studies 229 Indonesia chapters where social studies education is described as representing the cultural transmission tradition. The Pakistan chapter covers more than pedagogy (e.g. curriculum, assessment and teacher quality), but it also comments on the use of traditional lectures, memorisation and examinations. All of this paints a picture of not just a conservative approach to social studies but to education in general. Concerns for pedagogy are widespread, not just in these Asian contexts but internationally. It is of some interest to see that these concerns are shared in a number of these chapters and some progress is being made in addressing them. The final two chapters in the classroom section deal with different issues but have in common a broad concern for the societies of which the schools are a part. For Myanmar, the concern is with using the teaching of history to bring about national reconciliation in a divided society. It is a very broad goal, but the chapter itself shows how important it is, especially in light of nation building in Myanmar that seeks to exclude rather than be inclusive. The Indian chapter, on the other hand, focuses on ways in which society can reach out to disadvantaged members. The context is not the formal lesson but the community, and while this is not part of the social studies curriculum, it is certainly a part of social life and social living that are important in any society that wishes to care for its citizens. There is, of course, more variety in social studies education than what has been reflected in the classroom chapters. Yet it has been important to show that while there is a formal social studies curriculum across countries, there are also extensions of different kinds that seek to engage students in a broader range of activities. In a sense, it might be better to talk about a broader social education that includes the formal curriculum but goes further. It seeks to provide additional activities or a broader view of traditional activities embracing important social objectives. This broader scope of social education is worth exploring further as a means of broadening the formal curriculum and ensuring that school experiences are both relevant and engaging.

Comparisons of social studies in East and South/South East Asia A companion volume to this book is Social Studies Education on East Asian Contexts (Kennedy, 2021). Its purpose, similar to that of the current volume, was “to explore the development of social studies in selected East Asian societies and provide some insights into distinctive classroom practices” (p. xii). Putting the two volumes together provides a very broad overview across many, although not all, Asian societies. This kind of comparison is rare. Given curriculum provision in East Asia and South and South/South East Asia as outlined in the two books, what is the impact on student learning? What follows is a preliminary attempt to address this issue from a comparative perspective. More importantly, however, it may set an agenda for future research with student learning at its centre. International comparisons can take many forms, as comparative educators have argued (Bray, Adamson, & Mason, 2014). One enduring form, at least in the twenty-first century, has been the large-scale assessments related to mathematics


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and science achievement. These have been part of international testing regimes such as OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and IEA’s Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). There has been no direct assessment of social studies achievement, perhaps because it has not been considered important enough by policymakers and politicians. Yet IEA has supported large-scale assessments in civic and citizenship education since 1999 focused on knowledge, skills and attitudes. In 2018, PISA included an assessment of what was called “global competence” that included some reference to intercultural skills and understanding (Sälzer & Roczen, 2018; OECD, 2020). While the educational validity of these kinds of assessment is often questioned (Zhao, 2020), the results of these studies do have the potential to provide some insights to students’ social learning conceived in its broadest sense. The focus of interest here is on students from different parts of the region. One way to provide a benchmark for the comparisons is with the more well-known PISA mathematics, science and reading studies. In the 2018 PISA assessments (OECD, 2019), no matter which curriculum area, there is a common pattern in the results: students from East Asian societies (China, Korea and Hong Kong) scored above the OECD average1 while students from South and South Asian societies (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and the Philippines) scored well below that average. The exception is Singapore that scores alongside the East Asian societies. There has not to date been any explanation for these regional differences or why they persist. Coming to the International Civics and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) for 2009 (Schulz, Ainley, Fraillon, Kerry, & Losito, 2010) (when there was the largest participation by Asian societies), exactly the same pattern can be observed as in the PISA study referred to earlier: East Asian societies (Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan) scored above the ICCS knowledges core average while those from South East Asia (Indonesia and Thailand) scored below the average. One study compared Hong Kong and Thai students to find an interesting association (Kennedy, 2012). Hong Kong students scored high on civic knowledge and low on attitudes towards religion, whereas Thai students showed the reverse association: high on attitudes towards religion and low on civic knowledge. These associations were not causal because the ICCS study was a one-off survey, but they do suggest the importance of context for student learning. It was shown earlier that Buddhism in Thailand plays a very important role in the social life of the nation, and where this happens, other forms of social knowledge may not be considered as important. This is a very tentative explanation that requires much more research, but it does start to suggest that a deeper exploration of social contexts might start to unravel the differences between regions. The PISA 2019 assessment of global competence (OECD, 2020), the results of which were released in October 2020, showed similar patterns to the one described earlier. This can be demonstrated looking at just a few questions. When students were asked whether they examined issues of global and local significance (p. 83), the response clustered in the same ways as reported earlier: students from East Asia scored above the OECD average while students from Brunei, Thailand,

Interrogating Asian social studies 231 Indonesia and the Philippines scored below that average. The same results can be seen when students were asked about understanding the perspective of others (p. 110) and whether they would take action for collective well-being and sustainable development (p. 149): students from East Asia scored higher than students from South East Asia. The regional divide seems to transcend school subjects, and to date there has not been any explanation. The issue is really one for research that should be given high priority. In the meantime, a tentative explanation can be offered, and this might also provide a direction for future research. One way to do this is to examine macro variables such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to see whether there is an association between learning outcomes and the broad economic contexts that influence student lives. Alternatively, an individual variable such as socioeconomic status (SES) could be used to assess whether it was more the home background of students across the two regions that was associated with their performance. While OECD in particular focuses on variables such as these, they are not helpful to educators who have the responsibility for shaping students’ education. What may be more useful is to consider curriculum contexts that shape students’ learning. This may be the contribution of the chapters in this book and its companion volume on East Asia. The curricula outlined in both volumes provide the basis for understanding the diverse learning experiences that are provided for students in different contexts. It is these experiences that shape learning. Thus, when we examine the results of OECD’s global competence test, for example, we can check whether the questions asked are reflected in students’ curriculum experiences. This is because if students are asked questions about content not covered in the curriculum, this may help to explain students’ responses. Of course, PISA developers often pride themselves on asking non-curriculum related questions. Yet if explanations are being sought for different levels of performance, then it makes sense to at least be aware of students’ curriculum experience. A second insight that can be provided in the chapters in the two books concerns the broad cultures that influence students. As shown, across regions there are multiple cultural influences that have ancient histories. How they influence twenty-first century students is a key issue. A great deal of work has been done on Confucian influences on student learning in East Asian societies (Watkins & Biggs, 2001), but almost no work has been done on cultural influences on learning in South and South East Asian societies. This would be a productive area for future research. If culture influences learning, as it appears to do in East Asian contexts, this could be a powerful explanation for understanding student learning in diverse contexts. A third possible area that could help explain student learning relates to pedagogy. This has not been a central concern in either book, but it was given some consideration on the classroom section of the present book. There is a general concern throughout the chapters of both books that pedagogy often seems to be teacher-centred and conservative. Yet Watkins and Biggs (2001) showed in Confucian contexts that there is something distinctive about pedagogy in East Asian classrooms. What about classrooms in other contexts? What could be learnt


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by investigating how curriculum implementation takes place, how students are engaged in learning and how well they are prepared for navigating the major issues that are bound to confront them. If we can better understand how students learn and in particular if we can understand how the contexts in which they learn influence their learning, we may have better insights into their learning outcomes, including those in major international assessments.

Conclusion An important motivation for this book has been to enhance scholarship in the area of social studies education as it is practised in Asian contexts. There is no question that social studies as a school subject (or a collection of school subjects) received a significant stimulus in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States. Yet across South and South East Asia, in the mid-twentieth century, social studies in many different forms became part of the post-colonial curriculum. Sometimes this was in the form of retaining academic disciplines such as history and geography, as had been the practice under colonial regime, although this tended to be more in secondary schools. When countries saw benefits in adopting a more integrated social studies in primary schools, these efforts were fuelled more by the academic disciplines than a social issues approach to the curriculum. There does not seem to have been any progressive movement supporting social studies in the region, although this remains an important area for future research. Social studies education, in the contexts examined here, seems to have been influenced more by nation-building strategies than any commitment to progressive education. Of course, while there were strong progressive voices in the United States, they were not always successful and more conservative voices often won the day. Yet that struggle does not seem to have taken place across the region. What is more, in countries such as Myanmar and Malaysia, nation building was often seen as a process to exclude minorities. Even in assumedly secular states such as India, strategies for nation building over time appeared to be exclusionary than inclusive. In an important sense, the work presented here has only started to interrogate social studies education in South and South East Asian contexts. Each country’s case raises multiple issues and questions that hopefully will be explored in ongoing work. Social studies is so important for young people facing challenges not only in their own countries but across the globe. More needs to be known about it in the contexts that produce it, and more needs to be done to enhance and improve it. Many countries might think that their future is in the hands of its mathematics and science graduates. What should not be forgotten is that the social and political future of countries is in the hands of those who understand the importance of creating societies that will meet the needs of all citizens. Social studies education can do this, and that will be its significance for young people and their societies in the future.

Interrogating Asian social studies 233

Note 1 The comparisons with the OECD average score is the only valid comparison for PISA scores. The scores allocated are not actual results; they are transformed Rasch scores.

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ability, 50–51, 75, 94, 96, 98, 140, 163–64, 167, 169, 175, 177–78, 180–81, 188–91, 195 academic disciplines, 13, 223, 232 accountability, 24, 124, 133, 138–39, 142, 147, 167 acculturation, xiii, 20 achievement, 42, 46, 113 activists, 74, 81, 87 adaptive model of social studies, 188–205 adolescents, 173, 185, 201 affective domain, 39–40, 53, 67–68, 135 Afghanistan, 29, 33, 35, 135 Aga Khan University, 137, 143 agency, 21–22, 25, 62, 129, 133, 142 anthropology, 89, 94, 96–97, 131 Asia, 3–5, 7–9, 11–13, 52, 54, 58, 104, 110, 115, 150–51, 225–26 Asian contexts, 3–5, 172, 221, 223, 225–26, 228–29, 232 Asian Development Bank (ADB), 107, 110, 114 Asian societies, 13, 226, 229–30 selected East, 229 assassination, 44–45, 47 assessment, 55–56, 110, 112, 136–37, 140, 144, 167, 170, 176, 180–81, 199, 201, 229–30 assessment framework, 145–46, 148, 158, 160 assessment practices, 132, 134, 136–137, 139, 140 assessment strategies, 109, 111, 112 137 attitudes, 39–41, 52, 61, 64, 85, 89–90, 92–93, 131, 132, 133, 137, 139–40, 145–47, 149, 150, 152, 190, 21, 23 awareness, 46, 50, 53, 67–68, 93, 96, 138–40, 141, 188

Bagan, 212–13 Bandung, 95, 101–3, 191, 200–201 Bangkok, 87–88 Bangladesh, 9, 11, 44–49, 51–55, 57–59, 145, 147, 149–54, 157, 159–60, 223, 228 basic education, 18, 31, 104, 106, 107, 108, 110, 114, 207–8, 210, 214 uniform, 46 beliefs, 34, 36, 42, 71, 75–76, 133, 140, 147, 174–75, 177, 179, 181, 217–18 benchmarks, 31, 134, 230 Bengali, 45, 51–53, 58–59, 148, 154, 159, 210 bilingualism, 63–64 boys, 123–25, 127–28 boys and girls, 119, 124–25, 127, 185 British colonial rule, 17–18, 44, 104, 114 British rule, 52, 105, 149–50, 156 Buddhism, 6–8, 13, 79, 105, 177, 212, 226, 230, 233 Buddhist culture and influences Architecture, 213 Communities, 7 Country, 218 Education system, 13 Images, 213 Literature, 105 Monastic schools, 106 Monks, 79, 106 Nationalism, 226, 233 Teachings, 7, 79, 82 Temples, 212–13 Burma, 86, 104–6, 116, 206–7, 209, 210–11, 216–19 Burma Independence Act, 206



Burma Studies, 115, 219–20 Burmese language, 108, 208, 210, 211, 212, 217 Burmese migrants and refugees in Thailand, 219 C California, 101–2, 200 Cambodia, 7, 116 capabilities, 121, 139, 140 capacity, 50, 167, 194 caste, 18, 20, 22–23, 26, 119, 125, 127, 129 centuries-old, 128 hierarchies of, 119, 125 higher, 125 low, 125 caste-based discriminations, 23, 125–26 character education, 12, 32, 63, 101, 176, 178, 184, 187, 193, 200 Charter of Human Rights, 141 children, 28, 30–31, 33, 46, 51–52, 54, 62–63, 79, 106, 110, 119, 121–22, 126–28, 150–51, 208–9 autistic, 156 disadvantaged, 219 helping, 121 male, 51 school-age, 90 socializing, 61 tribal, 121 child rights, 57, 157 China, 6–7, 13, 105, 208, 230, 234 citizens, 6, 18–19, 24–25, 32, 34, 40–42, 54, 61, 63, 67–71, 92–94, 145–47, 149–52, 154–57, 160–61, 163–64, 188, 193, 195 citizenship, 17–18, 23, 25–26, 28, 32, 41–42, 55, 60, 72–73, 91–92, 97, 151–52, 154, 156–58, 166 citizenship education, 10–11, 13, 28, 32, 34–35, 37–38, 40, 60–61, 63–73, 90–91, 102, 145–59, 228, 230 citizenship transmission, 89–103, 190, 223 civic and citizenship education, 71, 145–49, 151–55, 157–59 civic competence, 28, 38, 94, 98, 145, 188, 163–164, 194–95 civic education, 11, 73, 94, 97–98, 101, 171–72, 193 civic participation, 79, 146–47, 151–52, 156, 159, 164, 228

civic principles, 146–47, 149–51, 153, 156, 158, 228 civics, 10–12, 19–22, 25–26, 47–48, 51–52, 55–58, 63, 71, 148–54, 156–58, 160 class discussion, 123, 125–26, 128, 162, 164, 167, 169, 197, 172 classroom participation, 120, 123–24, 126–27 collaboration, 30, 68, 107, 121, 191, 200 interethnic, 212 community, 4, 17, 19, 60, 62, 81–82, 97–98, 128–29, 138–40, 147, 164–65, 174, 188, 197–99, 201–3 comparative education, 26, 115 competencies, 38, 63, 68, 82, 133, 142 basic, 98, 201 making citizenship, 188 skill level, 137 social, 39 transversal, 9 value, 189 Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR), 107 conflict, 7, 72, 90, 92, 100, 114, 177–78, 211, 219 armed, 210–11 corrective, 100 drive, 211 ethnic, 210, 212 hidden, 100 latent, 100 manifest, 100 moral, 175 producing, 18 social, 114 Confucianism, 5–8, 13–14, 71, 174, 226, 231, 233 constitution, 19, 30, 33–34, 45–46, 58, 63, 76–78, 80–81, 85, 107, 151–52 construction of national identity, 37, 42, 172, 218 content knowledge, 30, 134 pedagogical, 134 contents appropriate, 94 controversial, 74 main, 97, 175 selected, 135–36 shared, 136 constructive, 171 core subjects, 48–49, 95, 108, 110–11, 176, 179

Index COVID-19 pandemic, 24, 148, 161, 168 critical thinking, 12, 22, 60–61, 67–68, 70, 132, 135, 137, 163–64, 167, 169–70 culture, 10–11, 37–39, 50–57, 59–60, 74–75, 85–86, 96, 141–43, 149–50, 191, 201, 207–8, 210, 215, 218–19 curriculum, 5, 9–11, 18–20, 28, 30–32, 36–39, 44, 51, 53, 62, 64–65, 68, 70, 71–73, 75–77, 78, 79–82, 93–95, 97–98, 131–32, 134–35, 136, 137–43, 211–12, 223–25, 227–29, 231–33 curriculum and textbooks, 18, 28, 62, 135, 140, 145–49, 158–59, 211 curriculum development, 9, 18, 30–31, 86, 90, 140, 228 curriculum reforms, 8, 13, 106, 108, 224 Czech Republic, 191 D decolonisation, 18, 86, 129, 225, 233 democracy, 24, 26, 33, 45, 73, 75–76, 78–81, 85–86, 102–3, 109–10, 114–15, 151–52, 209, 225–27, 233 constitutional, 79 contested, 223 illiberal, 171 laboratories of, 225 the movements for, 209 participatory, 72 democratic society, 68, 75, 86, 89, 91, 94, 119–20, 163, 225 democratic system, 76, 79, 140, 193 constitutional, 193 one-sided, 74 dialogues, 40–41, 164, 172, 205 disciplines, 3, 9, 11–12, 22, 50, 53, 89, 86, 92, 94, 99, 127, 223, 225 discourse, 4, 20, 36, 66, 73, 162, 173 disciplining, 220 educational, 18 hegemonic, 63 new citizenship, 99 religious, 32 discrimination, 24, 45–46, 50–51, 57, 125, 126, 149, 212 discussion, 20, 30, 49, 60, 70, 131–32, 161–73, 199 disparities, 37 reducing educational, 31 sharp, 119


social, 31 socioeconomic, 141 dispositions, 28, 61, 69, 145, 149, 165, 170, 195 civic, 98, 194 diversity, 4–5, 7–8, 20–21, 33, 36, 38, 40–41, 93, 98, 174, 180, 182, 208–10 E East Asia, 4, 5, 6–7, 14, 224, 229–31, 233 economics, 10, 12, 19, 48, 55–56, 58, 64, 89, 94–97, 106, 108–9, 111, 113 economy, 4, 9, 19, 44, 52, 62, 64, 81, 106 ailing, 81 education, 1–15, 22–26, 28–73, 76–78, 85–88, 93–99, 104–17, 121–23, 127–29, 133, 138–45, 149–51, 171–73, 182–86, 190–91, 207–10, 217–19, 223–29, 231–34 educational policies, 31–32, 41, 34, 72, 218 new, 106 previous, 34 educational reforms, 34, 41, 87 education policy, 14, 18, 30, 33–35, 47–49, 57, 77, 145–49, 158, 211, 224 colonial, 18 country’s, 47 current, 47, 49 draft, 49 first, 48–49 interim, 47, 59 new, 33 new National, 25, 33 education reform, 26, 81, 85, 87, 106, 107, 110, 114, 209, 219–20 education system, 5, 7, 30, 32–34, 36, 44, 46, 62–63, 81, 105–8, 115–16, 119, 121, 175, 218–19 election, 76, 78, 85, 100–101, 107, 109–10, 115, 151–52, 157, 206, 209, 226 elites, 7, 31, 46, 99–100, 137, 225 emotions, 39, 166–67, 167–169, 171, 172–73, 184, 186 empires, 104, 209 engagement, 20, 61, 73, 146–47, 164, 170, 171, 173 environment, 47–48, 50–52, 54–55, 57, 59, 61, 65, 121–22, 188, 190, 194



equality, 19, 24, 40, 60, 119, 122, 134, 141, 147, 149, 150, 151–52 ethnic groups, 37, 45, 52–55, 57, 59, 105, 174–75, 179, 206–7, 209–12, 174, 214–18 ethnic identities, 30, 38, 207, 218 ethnicity, 37, 46, 50, 141, 218 examinations, 9, 52–53, 55–56, 108–9, 132, 137, 161, 165, 167, 229 extremism, 34–36, 41 extremists, 34–36 extremists use, 35

governance, 69, 76–77, 79–80, 81, 129, 139, 226 government, 31–32, 46–47, 56, 61–62, 76–78, 105–10, 113–15, 122–24, 134–35, 140–44, 151–53, 199, 202–3, 206–7, 209–10, 212, 215–16, 218 groups, 54, 75–76, 90–91, 95, 98, 100, 108, 111, 113, 143, 164–65, 188–89, 197–99, 210–11, 216 growth, 54, 123, 153–54 annual GDP, 45 high GDP, 45 sustainable, 121

F faiths, 29, 32, 50, 135, 167 families, 44–45, 51–52, 54, 98, 100, 122, 123, 127, 154, 155, 157, 183, 197 formative assessment 53, 137 France, 79, 160 freedom, 50, 79, 99, 119, 146–47, 149, 151, 153–54, 156 freedom fighters, 33, 135 function, 20, 24, 75, 85, 92, 119, 128, 193 cultural, 25 executive, 187 governmental, 153 overlapping, 89 traditional, 38 G gender, 4, 20, 23, 29, 36, 41, 42, 46, 52, 57, 59, 119, 124–29, 134, 141, 164 geography, 9–12, 48, 51–52, 55–59, 63–65, 68, 93–97, 105–6, 108, 110–11, 113–14, 131, 149–51, 156, 158 physical, 20 geography and history, 78, 105, 108, 110, 131 geography contents, 9, 108, 212 Germany, 78 global citizenship education (GCED), 23–24, 26, 41, 101 global competence, 230, 231, 234 globalisation, 9, 26, 34, 36, 39, 41, 42, 60, 65, 67, 69–72, 81, 119, 227 Global New Light of Myanmar, 115–16 Global Studies, 11, 52, 54, 157, 159–60 good citizens, 6, 12, 39, 47, 50–51, 57, 63, 114, 154–55, 157, 228 good governance, 55–56, 148, 152–54, 154, 156, 157, 158, 159

H Handbook, 13, 23–24, 42, 26, 87, 144, 159, 173, 184, 186 harmony, 53, 65, 66, 69, 218 heritage, 53, 65–66, 212, 215 archaeological, 54 cultural, 141 national, 212 heritage languages, 45, 50 higher education, xvi, 50, 104, 106, 109, 114, 129, 172, 193, 207–208 Higher-Order Thinking Skill (HOTS), 161, 176 Hinduism, 6, 8, 177 Hindu nationalism, 17, 18, 19, 227, 233 Hindus, 20, 29, 45, 71, 121, 126, 174 upper-caste, 20 Hindutva ideology, 19, 227, 233 history, 9–12, 19–20, 32–33, 51–53, 55–58, 73–75, 78–79, 85–86, 89, 93–97, 105–6, 108, 110–11, 113–14, 131, 149–51, 161, 208–13, 215–16, 218–19 history and geography, 9, 12, 48, 63–64, 95, 106, 108, 111, 113, 212, 232 history curriculum, 20, 115, 210–13, 215–16, 219 history teachers, 172, 213–15, 217 history teaching, 79, 114, 208–9, 215, 229 history textbooks, 74, 211–12, 214, 218 Hong Kong, 8, 13–14, 41, 230, 233–34 humanities, 37, 39, 40, 48, 55, 66, 72, 73, 91, 93–94, 138–39, 165 human rights, 22, 25, 39–40, 50–52, 57, 134, 140–41, 147, 149, 153, 160 Hungary, 191

Index I ideal citizen, 63, 65 identities, 18, 25, 31, 34, 37, 50, 57, 73, 86, 193, 210 ideology, 17–18, 20, 25, 40, 50, 71, 79, 89, 94, 97, 136 independence, 12, 18, 28, 31–32, 34, 62–63, 65, 105, 114, 206, 212, 224 given, 104 India, 6–7, 9, 11–12, 17–18, 20–21, 25–26, 29, 44–45, 119–21, 123–25, 128–29, 153–54, 227–28, 232–33 indigenous knowledge, 54, 225 indoctrination, 67, 75, 90, 99, 179–80 Indonesia, 9–10, 29, 36, 94–103, 189, 191, 201, 223, 226, 228, 230–31 inequalities, 18, 24–25, 46, 116 economic, 45 existing, 119 mediating, 129 influence contextual, 44, 46 direct, 142, 223 diverse, 5 global, 3 important, 5 key, 9, 188 Ireland, 191 Islam, 6, 8, 28–30, 32–37, 39–40, 42, 45, 174–75, 177, 179, 183, 226 Islamabad, 29, 42, 143 Islamic and moral education, 186 Islamic Education, 33–34, 175, 179–80, 185–86 J Japan, 7, 78, 108 junta, 106, 207 justice, 24, 33, 40, 45, 50, 58, 79, 134, 99, 178–79, 185 K Karachi, 137, 143–44 knowledge, 21, 36–40, 61, 65–67, 70–71, 75, 82, 92–96, 129, 133–35, 145, 182–83, 188, 214–15, 224–25 L language and culture of minority ethnic groups, 52–55, 57, 59 language policy, 97, 42, 212


languages, 4, 52–55, 57, 62, 64, 66, 125–27, 183, 185, 207–8, 210–12, 218–19 laws, 8, 13, 45–46, 58, 77, 94–95, 99 leaders, 50, 69, 76, 79, 109, 149, 157 leadership, 53, 107, 129, 153–54 developing teacher, 143 educational, 173 effective, 189 exceptional, 125 learners, 19–20, 22–24, 51–52, 94 learning, 6–7, 68–69, 71, 90–91, 94, 98, 113–14, 126–27, 131–44, 171–73, 179–80, 188–205, 231–32 learning experiences, 190, 189, 199–200, 231 learning outcomes, 66, 68, 140, 192, 194, 231–32 lessons, 68, 72, 81, 132, 141, 162, 168, 176, 180, 192, 197, 229 formal, 22 liberal democracy, 28, 32, 34, 70, 226 local curriculum, 81–82, 87, 216, 218 London, 13–14, 25–26, 41–43, 71, 184, 186 M madrasah, 31, 56, 175 Malaysia, 7, 9, 11, 14, 61–62, 174–75, 177, 179, 181–87, 226–28, 230, 232 Mandalay, 105, 113, 212–13 methodology, 120, 190, 146–47, 173 community-based participatory, 120 mindsets, 21, 28, 35, 36, 71, 76 minority groups, 50–51, 54, 210 mobile learning, 18, 30, 63, 129, 164–65, 171, 189–91, 194, 226 monastic schools, 207, 219 moral development, 63, 98, 179, 181, 184, 186, 178–79, 181 moral education, 10–11, 13, 63, 72–73, 78, 95, 97–98, 174–87, 224, 227–28 multicultural education, 37, 39, 42, 101 Muslims, 20, 29, 34, 37, 39–40, 42, 45, 131, 174, 179, 218, 227 Myanmar, 7, 9, 11–12, 104–16, 206–12, 215–20, 224, 226–27, 229, 232–33 Myanmar education system, 104–5, 110, 210 Myanmar National Curriculum Framework, 110–12, 115



obedience, 21, 61, 63, 82 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, (OECD), 145, 160, 230–31, 23 outcomes, 20, 9, 29, 61, 68, 139, 140, 143, 163

pedagogy, 5, 17, 21, 22–23, 75, 81, 87, 136, 119, 131, 132, 140, 224, 225, 228–29, 231 Philippines, 230–31 philosophy, 5, 18, 57, 78, 81, 89, 94, 98, 141, 143, 223, 226 Project Curriculum, 95 policy, 32–35, 41–42, 47–49, 70, 73, 109, 111, 133, 142–44, 147, 195, 197–99, 202–5 policymakers, 18, 32, 36, 49, 135, 142, 192, 230 political parties, 31, 81, 85, 107, 135, 147, 151, 153–54 politics, 13, 15, 25–26, 30, 42–44, 56, 58, 71–73, 80, 86, 233–34 post-colonial contexts, 17, 22, 25, 223–24 poverty, 20, 22–24, 29, 35, 45, 80 eradicating, 80 power, 24, 31, 33, 75, 78, 86, 99–102, 107, 109, 115, 122, 126, 128–29 primary education, 46, 49, 51, 58, 108, 111, 139, 142, 149, 156 primary schools, 9, 12, 51, 64, 97, 105, 109–10, 115, 125, 157, 232 problem-solving, 12, 69, 92, 99, 129, 134, 162, 175, 177, 190, 192 structured, 92 Program on International Student Assessment (PISA), 5, 14, 230, 233–34 progressive education, 17, 65, 67, 74, 80, 140–141, 143 Project Citizen, 101, 190–91, 193–95, 197, 200–201 protests, 27, 45, 74, 79, 85



Pakistan, 11–12, 26, 28–37, 40–45, 131–34, 136–37, 139–44, 153–54, 223, 226–29 Pancasila, 10, 95, 97–99 parents, 82, 106, 112, 126, 144, 203 Paris, 129, 160, 233 participation, 23, 53, 58, 75, 79–80, 86, 93, 61, 82, 119, 132, 141, 147, 152–54, 169–70, 180, 193 parties, 31, 33, 109–10, 115, 182, 192, 206 patriotism, 38, 47, 50, 53, 57, 63, 77–79, 90, 149, 153–54 peace, 22, 35, 37, 62, 296, 217, 219 erodes world, 37 global, 22

qualitative research, 58, 145, 159 quality, 31, 37, 46, 50–51, 69, 102, 133–34, 136–40, 142, 165, 167–68 quality education, 29, 33, 46, 133, 136, 142. Quran, 29, 34

N narratives, 19, 20, 23, 36, 74, 212, 220 nation, 20, 32–33, 40, 42, 44–45, 47, 50, 65, 67, 77–80, 87, 96–98, 100, 149–50, 209–10 National Commission on Social Studies in School, 91, 102 national curriculum, 12, 20, 25, 144, 28, 31, 33, 36–37, 59, 135, 140, 159, 212 national curriculum standards for social studies, 94, 102, 201 national education, 65–66, 70–72 launch of, 72 national identity, 18–19, 21, 31, 38, 42, 62, 65, 67, 68, 70, 79–80, 85, 209, 211–12, 218 nationalism, 19, 32, 45, 50, 82, 85, 129, 149, 152, 224, 227 national reconciliation, 206, 210–13, 215–19, 226, 229 New York, 14, 42, 71–73, 87, 101–2, 130, 160, 171, 173, 185, 233 noble character (NC), 13, 72, 87, 174–87, 227 norms, 18, 61, 140–41, 147, 161, 165, 176, 178 O

R races, 50, 63, 66, 90, 105, 164, 166, 176, 179, 213, 209, 216–17 reasoning, 35, 62, 69–70, 121, 162, 164, 177, 216–17 reforms, 31–32, 44, 46–47, 81, 99–100, 104, 107, 110, 116, 137, 139, 211, 218–19, 225, 227 regimes, 17, 76, 80, 85, 5, 209, 230

Index religion, 10–11, 13, 28–29, 32, 34–38, 40, 42, 44, 50, 71–72, 79–80, 174–77, 226–28, 230, 23 research, 12–13, 41–42, 72–73, 87–88, 90, 120–22, 124, 133–34, 143–44, 173, 186–87, 211, 227–33 rights, 17, 54, 63, 75, 77, 80, 86, 99, 141, 146, 150, 154, 156, 157 rights and responsibilities, 40, 52, 145, 150–51, 153 rights of senior citizens and women, 54, 150 Rohingya, 210, 218 S scholars, 6, 19, 38, 60, 75, 85–86, 104–5, 124, 163, 210, 212 ethnic, 218 religious, 32 school curriculum, 4–5, 8, 11–12, 95, 97, 209, 211, 217–18, 223, 227, 233 elementary, 95 existing, 9 four-year PPSP middle, 95 grammar, 12 high, 110 inclusive, 217 modern, 3–5, 8 national, 214 new, 9 primary, 108 subject-based, 12 the, 82 schools, 4–26, 30–31, 52–53, 62–63, 77–78, 81–82, 85–87, 89–91, 93–95, 102, 119–20, 122–29, 137–39, 157, 164–65, 175–76, 182–86, 193–94, 207–8 school subjects, 4–6, 9, 11–12, 19–20, 47–49, 51–52, 55–58, 93, 95, 97–98, 74, 105–106, 108–113, 131, 138–141, 148–50, 156–58, 161, 170, 174–77, 181, 188, 223–25, 232 secondary education, 47–49, 52, 55, 150–51, 19 secularism, 12, 19, 21, 45, 27, 227–28, 232 segregation, 106, 125, 127 Singapore, 11–12, 14, 58, 61–73, 161, 164, 166–67, 172–73, 184–85, 223–24, 226–28, 230 skills, 9, 38, 61, 63–64, 67, 69–71, 89–90, 131, 133–34, 138–39, 145, 162–63, 168–70, 181–83, 188


social cohesion, 25, 31, 37, 40, 69, 140, 161 social education, 3–5, 9, 11, 72–73, 171–73, 227, 229, 234 broader, 229 social media, 85, 168, 170 social norms, 20, 60, 122–23, 127, 141 gendered, 128 social science disciplines, 51, 89–90, 131, 134, 22 Social Studies, 9–11, 47, 71, 87, 89–94, 101–2, 111, 135, 173, 189, 227, 223–24, 233 society, 4, 6–7, 23–24, 29–30, 33, 35–38, 44, 50–52, 56–57, 60–61, 75, 96, 100–101, 141–42, 145–47, 149–51, 154–55, 193, 197–98, 229 sociology, 47–48, 51–52, 55, 57–58, 64, 89, 94, 96–97, 130–31, 149–51, 154, 156, 158 standards, 31, 61–62, 98, 134, 137, 142, 180, 182, 226, 232 student activists, 74, 85–86 student assessment, 133, 136, 137, 138 student assessment system, 137 student participation, 130, 167–68, 180 syllabus, 20, 65–66, 68–73, 110, 134, 136, 162, 171–72, 176, 179, 182 T Taiwan, 23 teacher education, 23, 41, 44, 104, 134, 138–39, 141, 142, 143, 146, 159, 167, 172–73, 184–85 teachers, 22–25, 37, 51, 53, 72–73, 91–92, 111, 120, 122–29, 131–33, 135–40, 142–46, 148, 154–59, 162–72, 179–82, 191–92, 195, 197–98, 214–17 teaching, 22–23, 50, 56–57, 101–2, 109, 111, 122, 131–33, 138, 140, 143–44, 154, 171–73, 180–82, 216–17, 219 technology, 4, 38, 71, 134, 161, 168–72, 190, 193 textbooks, 18–19, 21, 31, 47, 51, 74, 77–81, 87–88, 132–33, 135–38, 140–41, 144–50, 152–53, 155, 157–59, 207–9, 211–13 Thailand, 7, 9, 11, 14, 74, 76–88, 219, 224, 226–27, 230, 233



thinking skills, 68, 93, 162, 189 analytical, 136 creative, 9, 67 critical, 9, 36, 71, 189 developing critical, 90 higher-order, 161 tolerance, 33–37, 50–53, 57, 149, 190, 217 traditions, 3–5, 11, 46, 50–51, 60, 91, 93, 95, 97–98, 210, 215, 226, 229 Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), 5, 23 U UNESCO, 45–46, 59, 78, 109, 111, 116, 129, 134, 143 United States of America, 3, 24, 28, 33, 35, 78–79, 89–90, 93, 191, 194, 209, 223, 225–26, 228, 232 contemporary, 226

V values, 52–54, 61, 63–65, 70–71, 74–75, 92–93, 98, 131–32, 139–41, 154, 165, 176, 178–80, 183–84, 228 voices, 20, 25, 129, 143, 163, 166, 183, 232 W war, 35, 50, 135 work, 6, 8, 31, 33, 50, 52, 120, 125, 127, 162, 164, 166, 231–32 World Bank, 45, 59, 81 world civilization, 54–55, 150–51, 157, 161 Y younger generations, 34–35, 37–38, 40, 89, 139–41 young people, 4, 12, 30, 36, 41, 65, 91, 94, 168–70, 188, 232