Monday, March 13, 2006

MOE has replied!

In my earlier post, I expressed my concern that some part of our educational system is not conducive for racial integration. Mr Teo Teck Seng wrote to Straits Times raising the same concern as me.

Finally a reply from MOE came. However I wonder why the same reply cannot be adapted to support the stance that ethnic quotas in our HDB estates are not the best way to boost racial integration?

Here is an imaginary reply from WP by me:

Quotas not best way to boost racial integration in HDB estates.

WE THANK Dr Ng and Dr Khaw for their warning, 'Workers’ Party manifesto contain 4 time-bombs.', in which they suggested that racial quotas should not be abolished for HDB estates. They had raised concerns about how racial integration could be destroyed in HDB estates which did not have a good racial mix.

Promotion of racial harmony is a key component of National Education in our schools today. Schools place heavy emphasis on teaching students to understand and respect the race and religion of the different communities in Singapore.

The importance of racial and religious harmony is imparted through the formal as well as informal curriculum at all levels. In the formal curriculum, pupils' awareness and understanding of multiracialism and the importance of racial harmony are promoted through subjects such as History, Social Studies and Civics & Moral Education. The Co-Curricular Activities programme in schools also promotes social integration by providing avenues for students from different social and racial backgrounds to engage in the same activities.

In addition, many schools with different student racial compositions jointly organise camps, sports, community projects and celebrations of ethnic festivals together. Such collaborations also provide opportunities for meaningful interaction among students of different races in a natural setting.

Singaporeans of different ethnic groups also bond with each other during their time in workplace and National Service. We also proposed to have a public holiday for racial harmony, where community activities for all Singaporeana could be held so as to promote racial harmony.

On the other hand, setting a racial quota in our HDB estates may not be the best way to achieve meaningful inter-racial interaction. What is important is that these HDB estates increase natural platforms for inter-racial interaction among Singaporeans of different ethnic groups. Promotion of inter-racial understanding should be a priority for all HDB estates, regardless of their racial composition.

Our choice-based placement approach for HDB flats will encourage a greater sense of ownership and support among residents for their estates. It is neither desirable nor practical to impose financial hardships and/or make Singaporeans to live far from their parents and extended family just because the 'racial quota' of a particular HDB estate has been reached.

Miss Lim
Chairman,
WP


March 13, 2006
Quotas not best way to boost racial integration in schools

WE THANK Mr Teo Teck Seng for his letter, 'Would MOE have racial quotas for schools?' (ST, Feb 22), in which he suggested that racial quotas be implemented for primary schools. He had raised concerns about how racial integration could be fostered in schools which did not have a good racial mix.

Promotion of racial harmony is a key component of National Education in our schools today. Schools place heavy emphasis on teaching students to understand and respect the race and religion of the different communities in Singapore.

The importance of racial and religious harmony is imparted through the formal as well as informal curriculum at all levels. In the formal curriculum, pupils' awareness and understanding of multiracialism and the importance of racial harmony are promoted through subjects such as History, Social Studies and Civics & Moral

Education. The Co-Curricular Activities programme in schools also promotes social integration by providing avenues for students from different social and racial backgrounds to engage in the same activities.

In addition, many schools with different student racial compositions jointly organise camps, sports, community projects and celebrations of ethnic festivals together. Such collaborations also provide opportunities for meaningful interaction among students of different races in a natural setting.

On the other hand, setting a racial quota in our primary schools may not be the best way to achieve meaningful inter-racial interaction. What is important is that schools increase natural platforms for inter-racial interaction among students of different ethnic groups. Promotion of inter-racial understanding is a priority for all schools, regardless of their racial composition.

Our choice-based placement approach for primary schools today encourages a sense of ownership and greater support among parents and pupils for schools and their programmes. 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.

Many schools are creating opportunities for students to interact with students of other races and more can be done. It is a long-term effort and schools will continue working with parents and the community to help our students develop an appreciation of our cultural diversity and form closer bonds.

Tang Tuck Weng
Director,
Planning Ministry of Education

5 Comments:

At 7:20 PM, March 14, 2006, Blogger BEAST said...

I agree with the director.

Social quotas aimed at educational institutions is pretty much pointless, since most schools in general are pretty mixed racially.

It is best that the individual school boards responsible take their own autonomous decisions, instead of subjecting our youths with yet more degrading racial quotas.

 
At 1:47 AM, March 15, 2006, Blogger at82 said...

Hi beast:

Well I personally think racial harmony can be better promoted through racial quotas in primary school rather than quotas in HDB estates.

I would say it is the lesser of the 2 "evils".

 
At 2:15 AM, March 15, 2006, Blogger BEAST said...

Typical Singaporean mentality.

I think its because our MPs get paid so much, we expect them to pamper us, to the extent that we want the govt to be involved in the lives of our school kids.

Racial quotas of any kind, is not a necessary evil, unlike prisons, for example.

Again, I prefer a more liberal attitude in this case.

 
At 3:53 AM, March 15, 2006, Blogger at82 said...

Hi beast:

Haha.. Guess we agree to disagree then lol.

 
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