Singapore was not known for its education system in 1980.
Its students were average. No articles were being written in Forbes Magazine about their math prowess or the islands' exceptional human talent bank.
Singapore's students were not on anyone's radar.
In 1980 the Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore was created.
Part of their mandate was to develop national textbooks. For years students in Singapore had been using textbooks from other countries. The results had not been excellent.
By 1984 Singapore's first national math textbooks were published.
They focused on problem-solving and going deep into a few vital topics. Educators continued to research and refine the textbooks.
Just over 10 years later, in 1995, Singapore's students were ranked globally as number 1 in mathematics by TIMSS.