Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

The Leadership and Advocacy Roles of Hedwig Aroozoo and Her Sisters in Promoting School Librarianship in an Emerging Multilingual School System in Post-Colonial Singapore, 1960 - 1985

Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

The Leadership and Advocacy Roles of Hedwig Aroozoo and Her Sisters in Promoting School Librarianship in an Emerging Multilingual School System in Post-Colonial Singapore, 1960 - 1985

Article excerpt

Introduction

After the Second World War, the five Portuguese Eurasian Aroozoo sisters, Marie, Hedwig, Joyce, Eleanor and Lydia continued their education in the university and teacher training college. Hedwig and Eleanor went further to obtain diplomas in librarianship and the Library Association (LA)'s fellowship. The first professional library association, the Malayan Library Group (MLG) was founded in post-war Singapore in 1955. However, the institutionalization of school librarianship began in 1960 when Eleanor represented the Library Association of Singapore's (LAS) and presented a memorandum to the Ministry of Education (Ministry of Education) and the Commission of Enquiry into Education that the library as an integral part of the school, its staffing requirements and the need for library standards. The Commission endorsed the proposals for trained teacher librarians, appointment of a qualified School Library Advisor and that new secondary school buildings should be provided with a library. After Hedwig was appointed to head the National Library and public library system in 1962, she began to provide library services to schools and school libraries. The National Library also provided professional staff to support the teaching of school librarianship courses at the Institute of Education (IOE). In 1970 Hedwig began to chair the Standing Committee for Libraries, (Ministry of Education) to provide support for school libraries and the development of school library standards. Therefore during the years 1960 to 1985 Hedwig and Eleanor Aroozoo's leadership and advocacy roles were pivotal in the institutionalization of school librarianship in the training of teacher librarians, provision of library services to schools and development of school library standards.

Early Singapore and her immigrant population

The British East India Company (EIC) occupied Penang in 1876, Malacca in 1895 and Singapore in 1819. The three settlements were amalgamated in to form the Straits Settlements in 1826 Newbold, 1839). When Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore in 1819 there were a few Malays living in huts (Bartley, 1933). The early immigrants were the inhabitants of the older settlement of Malacca. Chinese traders arrived from the southern parts of China (Song, 1923). Traders, indentured labourers and convicts came from India and Indonesian immigrants came from the neighbouring islands in the East Indies (Saw, 1969).

In comparing the two official censuses of 1871 and 1980 the Chinese community formed the majority of the population registering at the highest 76.9% in 1980 as compiled in Table 1. The Malays' share dropped from 27% in 1871 to 14.5% in 1980. The percentage of the Indian community also shrunk from 12% to 6.4 per cent during the same period. The Eurasian community dropped from 2.2% in 1871 to 0.4 per cent in 1980, making it the smallest racial group in Singapore. The Eurasians were understood to refer to persons of mixed European and Asian parentage or descent (Wong, 1963). The Singapore Eurasians originated from the Portuguese, Dutch and British (including Irish and Scots) who at different periods between the sixteenth and twentieth century gained supremacy of the trade between Europe and Asia (Branga-Blake & EbertOehlers, 1992).

The Multi-lingual School System and School Libraries During British Colonial Rule, 1819-1941

Multi-lingual school system and school libraries during British colonial rule, 1819-1941 Raffles wrote the settlement's first education policy in 1819 and 1823 to set up a Malayan College, including a library and the museum. However, the proposed College began as an elementary missionary school with a school library in 1834.

The Education Department was established in 1872 to expand Malay secular schools and government and government-aided missionary and secular English schools (Wong & Gwee, 1980). At the same time the government adopted a laissez faire policy towards Chinese and Tamil schools. …

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