If we are to understand better the unique role of madrasah education in Singapore, it is necessary to understand both the historical and wider Singaporean context within which this unique educational provision is embedded. Calls to modernise curriculum and pedagogy in madrasahs are to some extent echoes of proposals at the national level. As we shall see below, Singapore’s education roots are principally from Britain and China. Britain was the colonial power, and Chinese schools that served the majority community drew their textbooks, teachers and ideals from China. But what has evolved is a distinctly Singapore model. In a similar fashion, Singapore’s madrasahs combine both non-national and national features, and, with curricular modernisation, are evolving into something unique and special.