According to Durkheim, the purpose of sociology is to examine the impact of external social circumstances on individuals in a society (Appelrouth & Edles, 2012, p80).
Sociology is concerned with many of such social circumstances which include stratification within a social group, usually in that of a contemporary society such as a nation like Singapore. One distinct example would be the presence of social classes in a society. Another key concern of sociology is the influence of various social phenomena, such as plummeting fertility rates and diminishing social integration, on the functionality of a society.
Therefore, sociology can be described as a social science discipline which is concerned with the social aspect in the society, encompassing social interaction and social systems that interchangeably affect each other. Singapore, despite its stellar achievements and development, is not spared from the seemingly endless tirade of social issues and is definitely an interesting society for sociological analysis. One such area of concern in Singapore, which has in fact been a constant topic of debate for many years, is that of the simmering issue on education as the essential tool for social mobility (Chang & Ong, 2012). Although international studies, such as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, have consistently placed Singaporean students as top academic performers (Ministry of Education, 2012), there is much displeasure and scepticism regarding the effectiveness of the Singapore education system in ensuring equal opportunities for Singaporeans of different socio-economic backgrounds (Cai & Heng, 2011; Chang, 2013a; Davis, 2012; Wan, 2012). As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong starkly pointed out, “our society is stratifying” (Cai & Heng, 2011).
It appears that education, which is often lauded as the essential tool for social mobility, is flawed