School accountability is such a familiar concept in many education systems that questions about what it actually means and entails are rather uncommon, especially to busy practitioners on the ground. This paper reports a research that examines each of the questions of what and to whom Singapore schools are accountable, from the point of practitioners holding leadership positions in Singapore schools. This research was a qualitative study with a sample of 36 vice-principals. This analysis was enriched and interpreted with a literature-based discussion, which pointed out the implications of the research findings. According to the findings, the participants felt that Singapore schools were accountable for students' holistic development; site, funding and staff management; national survival and nation building; and humanity and the future. Singapore schools were accountable to students, parents, country and citizens, and themselves. Interestingly, for a system that was reputed for its academic achievement, none of the participants mentioned examination results directly but referred to the importance of holistic education. The findings also suggested an inseparability of the concepts `accountability' and `responsibility' in the participants' minds.
Asia and the Pacific
Quality of education