Literature texts

Published Date: 10 September 2018 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Chong Kee Hiong,


To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry will be considering a review of relevant literature texts for lower secondary classes in view of the global pivot to Asia; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider exposing our students to excerpts from great Asian literature classics such as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.


1. MOE has been reviewing and will continue to regularly review Literature texts. We do so based on educational objectives: the literary merit of the texts, their accessibility and age-appropriateness of language and themes, and their relevance to today’s context.

2. So for Literature in English, a text list for secondary school students is provided and updated every 3 years. This list comprises texts from Singapore, our region and other parts of the world. Given Singapore’s position as a nation in Southeast Asia and a global city connected to the rest of the world, MOE needs to ensure a sufficiently wide range of texts, to allow students to be exposed to different cultures, beliefs and practices. Schools have a choice when it comes to selecting texts that best meet the needs of their students. At the lower secondary, they may choose from the recommended text list or select their own Literature texts.

3. In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis on texts from Singapore and the region. I think this is reflective of the point in history we are living in.

4. Beyond Literature, students are also exposed to texts as part of language learning. For the Mother Tongue Languages, adapted excerpts from suitable classics have been included in the textbooks. For Chinese Language, these include short stories extracted from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and selected poetry from the Tang Dynasty. Similarly, poetry and excerpts from ancient classics such as Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals), Panji Tales, Thirukural and Naladiyar are adapted and included in the Malay and Tamil Language textbooks.

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