Time to negotiate Singapore’s meritocracy? Getting ready for the future of work and education

A. A. Johannis, Mark C. Baildon, Mary Anne Heng, Jefferson K. Rajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Singapore has prospered since independence by developing its human resources under a distinctly Singaporean meritocratic system. Recent developments in public discourse, and findings from interviews with leading Singaporean personalities, however, point towards the system’s increasing undesirability. Among other problems, our study participants blame the system for worsening class divisions in society; for damaging the mental well-being of students; and for leading to a narrowing of society’s definitions of success while leaving Singaporean workers unprepared for challenges of the future economy. Our paper shows that for Singaporeans to be ready for these challenges and to find purpose and meaning in the future economy, the current meritocratic systems require reform. We argue for a new kind of political decision-making to allow Singaporean society to reorder its basic values and priorities towards a more democratic, inclusive and compassionate meritocracy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • future economy
  • future of education
  • meritocracy
  • purposeful education
  • Singapore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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