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Singapore to introduce programme on Indian studies

Singapore’s leading high schools to introduce an India studies programme to give its students a better understanding of the history, culture and politics of Asia’s awakening giant.

education Updated: Nov 24, 2008 17:10 IST

India’s economic growth has spurred one of Singapore’s leading high schools to introduce an India studies programme to give its students a better understanding of the history, culture and politics of Asia’s awakening giant. The Victoria Junior College (VJC), a much sought-after high school in Singapore, will offer the course as a subject for the A-level examinations in 2009, school officials said.

The India studies programme would give students a broad foundation on the history, culture and political system in India, familiarising them with one of the world’s top economies, says Chan Poh Meng, principal of VJC. While other schools in Singapore, like Raffles Junior College, offer bi-cultural courses on India, students at VJC can opt for India studies for four years instead of the usual two year A-level programme.

Many schools in Singapore offer Chinese studies programmes, which have proved extremely popular with students. The course opens up the country and its culture making it easier for former students to go there for further studies, take up jobs or do business. Apart from India’s economic rise, what has got the students and teachers of the school excited about learning more about the country is the growing engagement between India and Singapore. Commercial and business ties between the two countries have intensified in recent years.

Fong Yeoh Wah, VJC vice principal, said the course has been structured to give students an understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by India as a regional power and as an emerging global power. “The syllabus includes courses on Indian politics and governance and how politics in india has evolved, economic growth and the challenges that have caused policy changes,” said Wah. Singapore’s National Institute of Education prepared a special course for teachers who are teaching the India studies syllabus.

For the students, one of the highlights of the course is the annual trip to India which would include not tours to IT centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad apart from the usual visits to New Delhi, Agra and Mumbai.