Singapore University of Social Sciences

Education for the Future: Critical Reflections on Current Practices

Education for the Future: Critical Reflections on Current Practices (CSD524)


CSD524 will attempt to ask the question of “What is education for?” This age-old question has taken an urgent turn in the light of disruptive global transformations we are living through. The basis for education has shifted over time and has been increasing been focused on economic purposes. A jobless economy, climate crisis, growing social inequalities, rapid technological developments and shifting global geopolitics are challenging us to redefine the purpose of education, and to rediscover alternative models of education in order for us to rethink how to organise our society to meet these challenges. Advancement in technology has purported to democratize education and make learning assessable to global citizens. Discourses of education policy and work skills in higher education will be examined further. The course invites students to critically evaluate our current schooling (with focus on higher education) with its heavy emphasis on developing human capital for the economy using examples from local and global contexts. What are different visions of education and societies we can envisage for our children and us? What have we assumed about education? These questions go beyond theoretical discussions to have real impact on what choices we can exercise and how we can rethink the way we live and learn.

Level: 5
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JAN


  • The historical development of education, and its competing purposes
  • Theoretical frameworks of education and knowledge acquisition
  • Technology and education reform
  • Higher education transformed in the era of marketization in higher education
  • Human capital theory of education and economic development
  • An overview of the University Ranking System
  • PISA and its implications for higher education
  • Critical pedagogy, human-centred learning and social inequality
  • Decolonising knowledge and knowledge production
  • Digital Divide and income inequality
  • The Covid Pandemic and its effects on higher education
  • Higher Education and our world

Learning Outcome

  • Appraise the strengths and limitations of competing education models e.g. human capital theory of education, critical pedagogy, home-schooling
  • Critique the underlying assumptions about different purposes of education.
  • Compare the relationships between changing social dynamics and education policies and practices.
  • Evaluate concepts and issues relating to social dynamics through a Foucauldian and Postcolonial perspective.
  • Develop critical thinking skills and argumentative writing skills.
  • Analyse opportunities for education reforms.
  • Criticise inequalities in education and key theoretical perspectives.
  • Assess policy and practice in areas that are relevant to the understanding of education and reforms
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