Singapore’s Islamic Studies Graduates: Their Role and Impact in a Plural Society

Project Brief:
The aim of the study is to understand the roles played by Singapore’s Islamic studies graduates in shaping religious orientations, beliefs, practices and religious discourse within the community. The overriding objective is to examine the extent to which they serve as cultural brokers in contextualising religious teachings that facilitate the community’s adjustment to and integration with Singapore’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious society of Singapore and the well-being the community. The nature of religious education received by these graduates, their educational experiences within these institutions and beyond, their career paths, channels of religious learning and engagement upon their completion or return including the impact of social media on their religious understanding will also be investigated. The study will also analyse the ideological dynamics of the groups and their implications on the community and the larger society.

This project is a collaboration between ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and National University of Singapore. To date research on madrasah graduates in Singapore are scarce. The few that exist focus on religious education at pre-tertiary levels in Singapore’s madrasah. Findings of the study are potentially useful and relevant to stakeholders including policy makers in devising policies and programmes that can harness and strengthen the contribution of these graduates in constructively addressing the challenges of social cohesion and strengthening the nation’s resilience against forces that threaten or undermine the social fabric.

Project Duration: 2017 – 2020

1. Lead Principal Investigator: Dr Norshahril Saat, Senior Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
2. Co-Principal Investigator: Dr Azhar Ibrahim, Deputy Head Malay Studies, National University of Singapore
3. Collaborator: Assoc Professor Noor Aisha Abdul Rahman, Head Malay Studies, National University of Singapore

For more information, please contact:
Dr Norshahril Saat, Senior Fellow at