Well-being and Humanities Education in Singapore , pp. 6 of 11

Table 1: Singapore Social Health Project Report Summary of Findings (see http://www.nvpc.org.sg/Portals/0/Documents/Knowledge/Social%20Health%20Project/SSHP%20Report.pdf for full report)

Domain

Rating/Trend

Summary of Findings

Civil & Political Participation

Positive

Civil society has grown (e.g., in social media, White Paper protests, Pink Dot Sg, etc.) and there have been increases in the number of new charities registered, volunteerism rates, and charitable giving. There is greater diversity of views in Parliament and interest in politics, particularly among youth, has increased.

Culture & Values

Neutral

High pace of development and over emphasis on competition in society creates a “survivalist mindset” that compromises spontaneity and creativity. Growth in arts has been accompanied by continued censorship. While Singaporeans feel a strong sense of belonging, increased influx of foreigners poses concerns for national identity and loyalty. Despite some ungracious behavior, Singaporeans generally still value kindness and honesty. Greater interest in heritage and the arts.

Education

Neutral

Education sector performance has improved, with good results on measures such as PISA. A test-based culture results in high stress and growing private tuition. High international rankings, but education system promotes excessive competition, dampens creativity and perpetuates elitism.

Social Connectedness & Community Cohesion

Neutral

Not enough data in domain for clear analysis. Available data shows some encouraging trends of neighborly interactions and informal volunteerism. Some worrying trends are increasing numbers of neighborly dispute cases and low levels of trust.

Family

Negative

Singaporeans value family ties. While social attitudes towards the family are generally positive, critical aspects of family life have shown signs of weakening. Decreasing number of marriages, increasing divorce rates, cases of violence in families and eroding family values of trust and support are worrying trends.

Healthcare

Negative

Healthcare needs in Singapore are rapidly increasing due to ageing population and chronic illnesses. The cost of care in Singapore has increased with high private and out-of-pocket expenditure. Some sectors are struggling to keep pace with the growing demand for healthcare services. Healthcare is becoming more expensive for low-income groups.

Housing & Transport

Negative

Due to the rise in population density, housing and transport sectors are increasingly stretched. Commuter stress and cost of transport are on the rise. Housing prices have also increased rapidly over the last few years and is becoming unaffordable, especially for low wage earners.

Income Security

Negative

Declining trend in average monthly incomes and the increasing cost of living have made many Singaporeans feel vulnerable, especially those from lower-income families. The inadequacy of CPF for many who are retiring poses a threat to the well-being of the ageing population of Singapore. Lower income groups are finding it difficult to cope with escalating costs. The Gini coefficient has increased, reflecting greater income inequalities.

Individual Well-being

Negative

Singaporeans appear to be generally happy but there is a growing sense of anxiety and dissatisfaction. Stagnating incomes and increasing cost of living are key drivers affecting well-being. Individual resilience appears to be weakening while job engagement and satisfaction levels have been low. Desire for work-life balance contrasts with realities of high work demands and long hours.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!