In recent years, there has been a growing interest in playful teaching and learning in higher education. The contemporary quest of playful higher education, however, faces a number of obstacles and challenges. In this conceptual paper, using the Singapore context as an example, I discuss the relevance of one concept, labelled the ‘culture in education’, following the language of popular public discourse. The paper discusses the following questions: (1) What is meant by the ‘culture in education’ in Singapore and what are its implications for higher education? (2) What does the culture in higher education mean for the prospects for playful universities and higher education? Basically, I suggest that this concept, of the ‘culture in education, is worth further consideration. Primarily, the proposal in this paper Is centered around the idea that the project for playful teaching and learning in higher education in Singapore would benefit from first acknowledging the mainstream culture of the society, which also permeate universities and higher education system in Singapore, and attending to its ontological implications—that is, how the local culture in education in Singapore shapes higher education individual and institutional actors and stakeholders at a dispositional level. I then offer some thoughts on how, at this level, Singapore might begin to develop cultures of play by creating spaces for lower-stakes educational activities wherein teachers and students can feel relatively free to explore, experiment, understand, and ultimately cultivate what they might be interested in, what they value, and what matters to them.
Vinay Kumar, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore