We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

An insider perspective of lifelong learning in Singapore: beyond the economic perspective

Ng, Siew Kheng (2006) An insider perspective of lifelong learning in Singapore: beyond the economic perspective. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Volume 2)
PDF (Volume 1)


This study traces the learning journeys of a group of people who overcame economic, social and/or educational disadvantages to engage in lifelong learning in Singapore. Studies in a number of countries have shown that people from economically, socially and/or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds are under-represented in postschool learning. However, in every country, there is a small group that has succeeded in overcoming economic, social and psychological odds to engage in lifelong learning and in this thesis such a group will be investigated in Singapore. In 2002, twenty-three people within this category were selected by the community as lifelong learners in Singapore. Thirteen of them volunteered for this study. Data collected through in-depth interviews were analysed using grounded theory methodology. The model of lifelong learning derived from emergent common themes shows that while it is true that utilitarian reasons usually accounted for the initial decision to engage in post-school learning, learning journeys were sustained by the development of learning careers, through the strengthening of learner identities and the development of learning dispositions.Sociocultural factors, such as presence of positive environments and supportive relationships with significant others, also influenced learning decisions. The findings thus confirm recent studies of the need for a sociocultural theory of lifelong learning and a more holistic approach to lifelong learning. There are important implications for Singapore which has achieved rapid economic growth since independence by adopting a pragmatic approach. Official discourses of lifelong learning are based on human capital theory. Hence, lifelong learning is seen as an investment in human capital, and often equated with skills upgrading for economic and political survival. The implications of this study are, however, that instead of focusing on the political and economic aspects of lifelong learning, future initiatives should examine other micro-contexts like family, work, schools and other institutions, with special focus on how people within these institutions can help support lifelong learning. It is also evident from the findings, that lifelong learning should be seen in its whole spectrum, as learning across the lifespan, from cradle to grave (lifelong learning) and learning that covers formal, nonformal and informal learning (lifewide learning).VI

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Thesis Date:2006
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:52

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter