Is Govt's stand on racial quotas inconsistent?Ha, another letter questioning the inconsistency in govt’s stand on racial quotas and it sure hit the right point.
Is this a case of great minds thinks alike [see this and this] or fools do not differ?
I sure hope we belong the former group… but I suspect that we would be told that we really belong to the latter group.
March 17, 2006
If quotas boost integration, extend them to schools
I SEE contradictions in the Ministry of Education (MOE)'s arguments against using quotas as a way to boost racial integration in schools (ST, March 13) and the Government's recent arguments against the 'racial time bomb' of the Workers' Party.
In his reply to Mr Teo Teck Seng's letter (ST, Feb 22), MOE's Director of Planning argues that 'what is important is that schools increase natural platforms for interracial interaction among students of different ethnic groups'.
How could interracial interaction take place when there are only Chinese in some schools with perhaps a sprinkling of students from the minority races?
Even if inter-school 'camps, sports, community projects and celebrations' were organised for students to mingle with other races, as argued, the question is how often are such activities and how deep is such interaction?
And if increasing platforms is the way to bring about racial integration rather than quotas, then the Workers' Party is right that racial quotas in HDB blocks are really not the best way and should be abolished.
MOE also argues that 'it is not desirable nor practical to require primary school pupils to travel far from their homes to school just because the 'racial quota' in the school nearest their home has been reached'. However, the inconvenience caused would pale in comparison to the frustration of minority groups trying to buy or sell their homes.
Many of us who teach in schools can see racial segregation clearly. Too often, students gather in the cafeteria or form project groups along ethnic lines. They find it more comfortable using their mother tongue, even when there are students from other races in their midst.
Just observe how students form cliques at bus stops and we can see a real 'time bomb' waiting to explode.
Having racial quotas is a good means to boost racial integration. But it is only a means, not an end; its necessity depends on its efficacy. And if the Government sees it as being crucial in HDB estates, then the same arguments should extend to schools.
Seto Hann Hoi