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Mrs. Shermaine Tang


Vice Principal

Singapore Chinese Girls' School

Mrs Shermaine Tang serves in an established Full School for students 6 to 16 years old. Prior to her current role, Shermaine served in the MOEHQ developing policies and designing curriculum for schools. An experienced school leader, Shermaine has also contributed to the transformations of the primary and secondary schools she has led through the years.
As an educator, Shermaine values every child and believes that it is important to treat each of them with respect. School is where students discover their uniqueness, affirmed for who they are; and educators help students find their voice and personal mission to live a life of significance.

What has given Shermaine the greatest satisfaction in her vocation is to nurture kind and caring students who are happy and confident being who they are, and who sincerely help others with their unique gifts and talents. She hopes that all her students graduate from school with good, true friends whom they can find support from and who can journey with through the different seasons of life.

Outside of school, Shermaine enjoys working with seniors and disadvantaged youth and families in the community whenever she finds the time. It can be humbling sometimes, but it is always a joy and privilege to be able to serve others.

Presentation Topic and Synopsis

Forging a Compassionate Meritocracy for Students with Special Needs

In Singapore, meritocracy is widely regarded as a “core principle of governance… and close as anything gets to being a national ideology” (Low, 2014). However, this has led to problems such as the creation of an elite class and a wide socioeconomic gap between those who have achieved and those who presumably have not.

In response to these problems, local political leaders have suggested that Singapore might benefit from a more nuanced iteration of meritocracy. For instance, the notion of a “compassionate meritocracy” was first espoused in 2013 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. It was recently mentioned again in June 2022 by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the Forward Singapore Exercise.

However, what does a “compassionate meritocracy” really mean and importantly, how might this benefit students with special needs? The accomplishments of these students will invariably differ from more traditional conceptions of merit. Furthermore, is it even possible for a meritocracy to be compassionate, and have we considered other alternatives (such as egalitarianism) sufficiently?

Join us at this panel discussion where we will hear from a group of thoughtful and experienced experts, teachers and parents on their views and perspectives of how we could begin to define an inclusive working model of a compassionate meritocracy for all Singapore students.

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