Good move to discourage big birthday parties in school

The action by some schools to discourage extravagant birthday celebrations is a forward-looking step as we strive to cultivate a more egalitarian society (Navigating social divide in classroom; April 27).

Displays of wealth generate envy, jealousy, pride and arrogance, and heightened disparities should not be encouraged.

For instance, it is fortunate that dress codes for pre-university students are in place, with a common and basic school uniform without accessories for all in the same school.

But school buses which jostle for space with long queues of cars, including luxury ones, at many schools still highlight these differences.

And while public housing in Singapore addresses the question of inequality, the situation in the private market is another matter.

The prevalence of private pre-schools or early childhood education centres is another issue worth looking into.

Equal opportunity has to be provided to ensure that no child is left behind throughout the entire educational process.

Income inequality is the elephant in the room; we cannot afford to ignore its presence.

While we are challenged to embrace differences and foster inclusivity, we must also guard against the intrusion of inequality, and social exclusion in our society.

Yap Kim Hao (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Good move to discourage big birthday parties in school'. Print Edition | Subscribe