Alternatives To Promote Literature Education Essay

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In Singapore, the revenue-generating tourism industry has always been vital for our development. For example, it generated approximately a staggering S$14.1 billion in tourist receipts in 2007 [1] , contributing close to 5% of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

In recent years, our tourism industry has shown signs of stagnation, even with the efforts by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to promote tourism.

Diagram 1 shows the Butler's Tourism Life-Cycle Model that illustrates the five main stages that every country's tourism industry will undergo. Every country will first begin at the exploration stage and move along the Cycle from Stage 1 onwards, as its tourism industry grows and develops.

In 2003, there was evidence that Singapore was at the fourth stage, stagnation, evident from the following reasons:

The declining growth in visitor numbers

Singapore's tourism growth has been stagnating or even declining since 1997 - 2003. According to tourism data, the number of tourist arrivals has been stagnating between 6 million to 7.5 million during this period, and for some years it has shown a negative percentage change from the previous year. The percentage changes for these years are as follows: -1.30% (1997), -13.28% (1998), -2.20% (2001) and -19.04% (2003). [2] 

Short tourist stays

On average, tourists were only staying for 2 to 3 days, clearly showing that Singapore's tourist attractions were losing their appeal. [3] 

Therefore, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) attempted to rejuvenate tourism, and to further promote Singapore as a tourist destination by using alternative approaches which we will study below:





Since 1990, Singapore has used campaigns to actively promote Singapore as a tourist destination.

These campaigns use a multi-pronged approach to promote Singapore, such as through using different forms of media for these advertising campaigns. In 2004, STB used the tagline"Uniquely Singapore" to front the campaign to promote Singapore as a vibrant and trendy tourist destination. The current campaign (since 2010) has the tagline "Your Singapore", and aims to promote Singapore as an exciting destination. For example, STB has designed an interactive website ( to highlight the exciting and unique appeals of Singapore's tourism industry.

The campaigns raise global awareness of Singapore's tourism and enhance our image.

Requires capital which could have been used to develop other areas, e.g. healthcare. Thus the need for the S$2­billion Tourist Development Fund, of which a portion of it was used for such campaignings (product development). The purpose of this Fund is as follows:

(a) Infrastructure Development: Developing critical infrastructure to support tourism growth

(b) Capability Development: Enhancing the capability of Singapore-based travel and tourism players as well as attracting world class travel and tourism businesses and organizations to set up in Singapore

(c) Anchoring Iconic/Major Events: Attracting iconic or mega events that will highlight Singapore as a premier destination for Leisure, Business and Services customer segments

(d) Product Development: Developing strategic tourism products

Can you think of another disadvantage? I cannot find a way to answer his first comment :( Sorry


Changing Perceptions and Images

Singapore's tourist attractions are growing older and losing appeal; thus the need for makeovers. After Jurong Bird park's S$10­million makeover, visitor numbers rose by 11% [4] . Thus, STB has allocated capital, through initiatives like BOOST [5] /Tourism Development Fund [6] , of which a portion of the funds are used to upgrade these tourist attractions.

This alternative aims to increase the satisfaction level of tourists here such that they will be more likely to make repeat visits or use recommend Singapore as a destination (word-of-mouth).

Ensures that our attractions are constantly renewed, to enhance their appeal to foreign tourists. These upgraded attractions can also benefit locals who visit these places and improve their satisfaction level.



MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global tourism industry today. It involves countries collaborating with event organizers to hold their international events here. Through these events, more than 25% of visitors to Singapore were attracted due to MICE tourism.

Singapore organises around 6000 of such events every year [7] , such as the 2009 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit and the 2007 World Bank International Monetary Fund meeting.

Raises Singapore's profile in the world, because these business travellers would be exposed to the Singapore culture and thus would be more aware of our country.

Generates revenue for the tourism industry and related service providers. The Singapore Tourism Board estimates that by 2015, MICE tourism will contribute a significant 35% of tourism revenue. [8] 

Exhibition space is required for these business events. Capital invested by the organisers to hire the required manpower and maintain and run these event spaces is diverted from local development uses. In the case of a lull, the exhibition space is also wasted.

Need for alternatives:

We see that there was a need for alternatives because Singapore cannot allow our tourism industry to flag, due to the economical importance of our tourism industry, as established earlier. However, the effectiveness of the convention, advertising, is limited. The promotion campaigns conducted by STB aim to change favourably the tourist's perception of Singapore as a tourist destination such that the individual will be more likely to pick Singpore as a destination of choice. However, it was shown that only about advertising through the mass media only brings in about 60% of tourists. Therefore there was a need to use other alternatives to supplement the convention.


We see that the alternative methods have in fact rejuvenated Singapore's tourism industry such that we are progressing along paths A or B on Diagram 1, because we see that visitor arrivals have started on an upward trend since 2003 and have been continuing on this trend, which indicates that these alternatives have been successful.

I'm sorry, I really cannot think of anything :(

Another way from which we will go on to further evaluate the level of success with reference to other contributing factors in our Project would be from the point of view of the various stakeholders in Singapore's tourism industry, by evaluating the impact of an increased number of tourists to Singapore on the stakeholders, to get a more complete view of the impact of these alternatives.

By examining the benefits of promoting Singapore's tourism industry to the various stakeholders, we see that the promotion of tourism industry in Singapore is also similar to the promotion of Literature to Singapore's youths.


Benefits to Stakeholder

Foreign Visitors/Tourists

Tourists benefit from the convenience of tour packages in the SEA region, because of the ease of which they can move from one destination to another.

Furthermore, the improved tourism services will ensure that tourists enjoy their stay more, ensuring in a higher level of satisfaction for them.


Locals will be able to enjoy the upgraded facilities, the effect of tourism rejuvenation.

These tourist attractions will also boost employment in Singapore, because of the need to hire Singaporeans to operate these attractions, which would help to reduce the unemployment rate in Singapore.

Furthermore, when there is an increasing number of tourists visiting Singapore, the greater interest by foreign visitors in Singapore's local culture will encourage locals to be proud of this local culture of theirs, and feel more inclined to protect it,


A better performing tourist industry would generate more revenue for the tourism industry in Singapore.

Service Providers (e.g. hotels)

When the tourist volume is increased, this benefits all the providers of subsidiary services, such as hotels, because there will be a rise in the number of tourists requiring lodging.

2nd situation which can be considered in a similar way:

2nd situation: Promoting youth's interest in English Literature (Poetry, Prose and Theatrical studies)

Conventional way to promote literature:

1. Humanities trips

Humanities trips are organized by secondary schools in Singapore for students.

These overseas trips conducted during the school holidays, present students with the opportunity to visit places like United Kingdom, which is one of the main origins of English Literature. As the cost of the fieldtrip is partially subsidized by schools conducting them, students are heavily encouraged to join in these learning journeys.

The UK Literature trip is often conducted with the intention to:

Provide an opportunity for a selected group of students to be exposed to UK's rich literacy and cultural heritage

Enhance students' understanding of literacy genres and critical analysis skills through practical criticism and writing exercises

Learn independence and leadership skills as students are endeavored to look after themselves and one another over the entire trip

Allow students to have a first-hand experience and further understanding of the lives of various famous playwrights such as William Shakespeare as well have experiencing renowned plays in famous theatres.

Students often have to complete a project during or after a trip, which could be in the form of a presentation of their experiences there or more literature-based assignments such as writing a poem, inspired from what they see.

As there is no right or wrong answers in literature, students have the freedom to exercise their creativity - in contrast to the strict and rigid syllabus of other subjects.

This can spark an interest in literature among students.

However, the number of places available for such trips often limited to less than 50 people and hence only a small proportion of the cohort will be able to attend it. Furthermore, an 8 day trip will cost a student roughly SGD$3000 after subsidy, which may deter students from signing up for the trip. A large proportion of the student population will not be able to take part in this enriching journey.

2. Integration of drama into the lower secondary curriculum

Drama as compulsory module in curriculum

-Many secondary schools in Singapore incorporate drama as a compulsory module in lower secondary as part of the teaching for literature. Outside trainers (usually attached to theatre companies) are often employed to run workshops for the students. Students have to act out parts of a play in front of an audience in groups, in which they are graded for the final product as well as the process of preparing for it. They have to fulfill the different roles required in the preparation of a play such the director and the actors, with the help of a teacher or trainer for guidance. This serves to:

Spur students' imagination, as they may be required to improvise and write their own version of the plays.

Allow students to gain a greater insight into the play they are acting as well as into drama as students will have an in-depth understanding of the play before they are able to act it out

Improve teamwork and leadership skills as student have to work in groups and settle problems that may occur by themselves

Build up confidence

Promote literature as a fun subject that is not just bound to the classroom and books


-Inter-class Drama Competition can be carried out in lower secondary that allows students to take up specific roles of characters in the literature play and act it out in front of an audience. This builds confidence in students as well as to gain a better understanding of characters in the novel and able to analyse the text better. This builds interest in lower secondary students as they get to experience dramatization of characters in the play and learning literature through a fun and engaging way.

-Literature Den Competition can be carried out in lower secondary, with the aim of decorating the classroom according to a theme given. Themes include names of poets (e.g. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath) or a famous quote from a literature text. This enables us to get to know more about famous poets or quotes and it creates a new learning environment and raise awareness of famous poets and quotes of the past.

-Literature Broadcast Competition can be carried out for literature plays as students take up a role of a character in the play and convey feelings and messages of characters through the broadcast. This encourages students to be involved in broadcasting and also to put themselves in the shoes of the character and this aids character analysis and hence builds up interest in the subject.


Our alternative approaches for the 1st situation where tourism is promoted and foreigners are attracted to visit Singapore to come to visit and explore our local culture in turn helps in promoting our culture and keeping our heritage alive.

This is similar to our alternatives to promote Literature (2nd situation) as by encouraging students to show an interest and learn more about the works of art that capture nuances of people's lives (foreign and local culture), we are also helping to promote the culture as expressed in Literary texts.

More importantly, we see that similar alternatives can be effectively used in these similar situations, because the effectiveness of these measures can be seen through an evaluation of the case study, and because our objectives for both situations and the concepts behind the alternatives are similar, this is an appropriate comparison. For our case study, the objective of using these alternatives was to attract more tourists to Singapore, which is similar to the objective of our application, which is to attract more local lower secondary school students to be interested in Literature.

Furthermore, the concepts behind the respective alternative approaches of changing perception and images and collaborations are similar for both the case study and the application. Since these alternatives were successful for the former, this shows that we can adopt similar measures for the latter to successfully achieve our objectives.

Why we need to consider alternatives [9] ?

Target Group: Lower Secondary students

Objective: To attract more Lower Secondary students to demonstrate an interest in Literature

In May 1995, an article in the Straits Times suggested a decline in literature enrolment for "O" level studies in Singapore.

A growing trend, it was reported, was for schools, required by the Ministry of Education to offer literature as a compulsory subject for the first two years of secondary school, to offer the subject as an option only for Secondary 3 or 4 students. Even though one of the aims of making students study literature in lower secondary is to allow students to discover the joy of literature, most students do not take up literature as a "O" level subject as it seen to be a harder subject to score well in.

Hence in order to promote literature and encourage more students to take up literature as an examinable subject in upper secondary as well as to improve their language and higher-order thinking skills, the kind of creative or critical thinking necessary for Singapore's future as an economically developed nation, our group will like to explore alternatives to promote literature among students in Singapore.

Alternative 1: "Makeover of Literature"  

Literature is the writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays.

Literature was seen as a repository of humanistic and spiritual values which might resist the pragmatism and increasing materialism of everyday Singaporean life.

Ways to promote literature in Singapore:  

Making Literature Mainstream

Advertise and increase the number of choices of books to choose from so as to cater more to interests of various literature enthusiasts who have interests in different genres e.g. horror.

Advertising campaigns can be held to change the perception of Literature to youths in Singapore by showing them that Literature is actually not boring as many might think through means (This is similar to the alternative approach for our 1st situation where attractions are given makeovers to enhance their visual appeal to tourists) such as new media.

Setting up an online forum e.g. on Facebook where students can discuss Literature texts. This forum can be used by anyone, be it those who are interested in Literature or those who are just looking around. This helps to create a common space/platform for students to engage in discussions with others sharing the same passion for the subject.

Moreover, Literature can be promoted as a subject that not only analyse and examine texts but also popular movies/television series. This helps in changing the typical perception of people that Literature is a boring and irrelevant subject due to its content which focuses on plays by William Shakespeare whose works may not be applicable in present society.

Introduce literature appreciation week in schools where tickets to view plays can be on sale to hopefully draw upon the students' curiosity of literature or their passion for it to engage in theatrical appreciation which is an essential part of Literature. By conducting trips to explore the different aspects of Literature Studies, students will be more interested in the subject as it opens their eyes to the aspects and might spark their passion for literature. Schools can also invite local/ overseas troupes or perhaps, the school's drama CCA to perform for the school's assembly during literature appreciation week so as to cater to those students who are unwilling or unable to watch plays.


2. Introduce educational games pertaining to literature so as to raise interest in the subject and encourage more students to take it as an examinable subject for national examinations.  

An example is to modify board games, such as monopoly, and inculcate literature into the game. 'Chance' and 'community chest' cards can be replaced with literature quotes, texts or devices that may require one to state the source of quote, name a character in the book or explain literary devices respectively. These games can be used during lessons so that even if a student has no interest in playing it in the first place, the student will have to play it. This might spark his interest in literature.

Other games such as taboo or pictionary can also be modified, such as including quotes and devices in the game of taboo and drawing significant scenes in a particular literature text in the case of pictionary.

By allowing students to learn and gain awareness of literature in a fun and engaging manner, their interest will be raised and they might consider taking up literature as an examinable subject in their secondary and tertiary education.  


The outcome will be successful as launching of campaigns will raise awareness and facilitate learning of literature studies among the students.

To show the success of our alternative, we could:

Look at case studies of other campaigns that were previously launched in Singapore. An example is The Speak Mandarin Campaign (讲华语运动), which is a year-round campaign that uses publicity and activities in the community to create awareness and to facilitate the learning of Mandarin. As part of the campaign to promote greater use, the English newspaper The Straits Times publishes daily Mandarin vocabulary lessons, used TV game shows and music performances by local pop stars to increase awareness in youths. We can hence evaluate the success and failure of these approaches taken and consider these aspects while implementing our project as our target audience is similar. This can be done as it is similar

Interview teachers/ personnel from the English Language and Literature Teachers Association (ELLTAS) on the importance of nurturing thinking individuals through taking up literature. This aim of the interview is to assist our group in gaining more knowledge about the detailed curriculum of Literature studies in Singapore and specific aspects of Literature studies that are of relevance to students. By gaining this information, our group can improve our alternative for e.g. the modification of board games to meet the requirements of the subject.

Surveys can be carried out to find out if students are willing/ unwilling to opt for literature as an examinable subject and why/why not. Suggestions to increase enrolment of literature students can also be seek for in the surveys.

Sample Survey

Aim: To find out students' current perceptions and understanding of Literature

Target Group: Secondary school and Junior College Students




Currently, what level are you studying at?

Lower Secondary

Upper Secondary

Junior College

None of the above

If (a), please skip to Question 3.


Are you studying/Do you plan to study Literature as an examinable subject at the 'A' Levels?




Are you studying/Did you study/Do you plan to Literature as an examinable subject at the 'O' Levels?

Yes, Pure Literature.

Yes, Literature Elective.



On a scale of 1 to 10, please rate your interest in Literature. _____

(1 being completely disinterested, 10 being extremely passionate about)




On a scale of 1 to 10, how useful do you think Literature is? _____

(1 being completely useless, 10 being crucially useful)




Do you find that Literature is important because of the analytical skills it teaches?

Strongly Agree




Strongly Disagree


Do you find that Literature is important because it is a form of culture and heritage through which previous generations can pass down their ways of life and beliefs to future generations?

Strongly Agree


Not sure


Strongly Disagree


Do you find that Literature is important because it stimulates the discussion and thought of controversial or debatable issues covered in the text?

Strongly Agree


Not sure


Strongly Disagree


In your opinion, is enough being done to promote Literature among youths in Singapore?


Not sure


If no, do you have any suggestions on how you feel Literature should be promote among youths in Singapore?



How supportive would you be of new alternatives to promote Literature to youths in Singapore? For example, would you participate in events organized to celebrate Literature or play games designed with elements of Literature in it?

Very Supportive




Very unsupportive

Alternative 2: "Collaboration"

Ways to promote literature in Singapore:

In our 2nd alternative, our group proposes that schools tie-up with art organisations and local authors/poets. 

The event, in the form of a fair, will be held in secondary schools with the target audience being lower secondary school students who are wavering over their subject combination options. The timeframe of the event will be one day during school curriculum, preferably after the end-of-year examinations of lower secondary school students so that they will have more free time due to more flexible timetables after examinations. The fair will include activities revolving around literature appreciation. Besides being able to enjoy the performances, students will be given the opportunities to go backstage to learn more about the arts such as posing questions to the performers etc. This concept of providing a fair will be new as our group aims to propose a unique blend of local and foreign literature showcases coupled with plays and performances put up by theatrical companies to be catered for schools (content will be preferably related to the students' coursework). 

There will also be collaboration between schools and local authors and poets where they will be invited to set up booths at these fairs and to offer students with relevant answers on questions asked regarding Literature. By providing students the context of Literature through the perspective of the local poets/authors, the students will be exposed to a more interesting viewpoint of the subject.  

The general decline in literature enrolment for "O" level studies in Singapore has provoked a moment of reflection about the role of literature in Singapore society. Public figures commented on the usefulness of literature; school teachers, engineers, and doctors wrote letters and Straits Times columnist Ravi Veloo proposed that "O" level literature be made compulsory for all students. Therefore; our alternative will aim to work hand-in-hand with rising acknowledgement of the importance to promote literature in Singapore. We will be organizing this event in schools who are proponents of the viewpoint of the importance of Literature from the fact that literature can be seen as a repository of humanistic and spiritual values which might resist the pragmatism and increasing materialism of everyday Singaporean life. Also, the promotion of Literature can be seen as encouraging higher-order thinking skills, the kind of creative or critical thinking necessary for Singapore's future as an economically developed nation.

Aside from the main target audience of lower secondary school students, upper secondary students who are interested to enhance their knowledge and interest for Literature are also encouraged and invited to take part in the event.  

An example of a drama studio that can be considered for collaboration is Drama Box. Their educational arm, NeNeMa, have conducted interactive plays for schools as well as workshops specially tailored for students, teachers and corporate clients using. Within a short 6-month period in 2004, they have reached more than 5,000 students and 400 teachers through their plays and workshops1.Their popularity among school populations substantiates their professionalism in conducting plays. Therefore, Drama Box serves to be a good choice of organization to approach should our group decides to carry out a pilot test in which the fair would be held.  

On the other hand, an author that could be approached for collaboration with schools is Mr Tan Swie Hian, who in 1987 and 1998 respectively, was awarded the Cultural Medallion in Singapore and won the Marin Sorescu International Poetry Prize in Romania. 

The rationale behind this approach is to possibly spark students' interest in literature, as in today's society, literature is being overlooked constantly due to the emergence of popular culture. By using this approach, we hope that literature will once again become popular with today's youth. 

In order to show if this approach is successful, we can ask the authors/poets for the number of students who signed up for their courses and we can give out surveys to the students to get their opinion about such events which aim to promote literature. 

A limitation is that the authors/poets might not be free to conduct such things such as the writing courses. In order to overcome this, we can try to contact literature teachers who might be willing to do such things due to their strong passion in teaching and spreading his/her love for literature to the next generation.


The outcome will be successful as collaboration with arts organization and local authors/poets in organizing fairs deviates from conventional methods of teaching which students find boring or uncreative. By broadening the types of teaching methods employed, students will better appreciate the subject as a whole and be more interested in the subjects as rigidity in the curriculum is eliminated.

This alternative approach will be more successful than the conventional way as it caters to a larger group of target audience. Unlike the Literature trip which only a small selected group of students can be offered the opportunity, the collaboration with local poets/authors caters to more students and is larger-scale and more encompassing that the conventional method.

Primary research methodology: Collaborate with local authors/poets to organise interaction sessions at schools to promote literature. Conduct survey to see what students feel about such sessions and how the session has changed how they view literature. Conduct interviews with authors/poets to get their opinions on how literature has affected society over the years (or vice versa), how literature can be further promoted, etc.