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The phases and paradoxes of educational quality assurance: The case of the Singapore education system

Pak Tee Ng (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to highlight three important insights into educational quality assurance, using Singapore as a case study. It is useful to policy makers and practitioners to understand the phases and paradoxes in their educational quality assurance journey so that they may recognise and manage better the complex dynamics of quality assurance in education.


This paper utilises a phase model to analyse the development of quality assurance and the challenges and paradoxes involved. This phase model is a framework of analysis of the quality assurance dynamics of primary and secondary education in Singapore with the following phases: standardisation; local accountability; and diversity and innovation


The paper finds that: quality assurance develops in phases, each with its own characteristics and challenges; quality assurance changes the nature of education; quality assurance is a paradoxical journey.

Practical implications

The Singapore case study serves as a mirror to other developing countries in recognising and managing the delicate dynamics of quality assurance.


The paper illustrates the phase model of educational quality assurance in Singapore and the analysis of the delicate balancing act between conformity and diversity, and between standards and innovation.



Tee Ng, P. (2008), "The phases and paradoxes of educational quality assurance: The case of the Singapore education system", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 112-125.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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