Your Letters

Raise the level of education on politics

Nanyang Polytechnic students on campus.
Nanyang Polytechnic students on campus. PHOTO: ST FILE

Editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang raised an important point - that more Singaporeans should discuss the merits and issues behind the proposed changes to our political system ("Political changes ahead: Don't be bochap"; last Sunday).

Currently, it seems like only a few men and women are doing so.

This situation is not surprising because many Singaporeans do not recognise the relevance of politics to their daily lives.

However, the level of interest in and understanding of such topics may increase if the public, particularly youngsters, has a better foundation in political education.

While I applaud the updates the Ministry of Education has made to the social studies syllabus ("Revised social studies syllabus tackles hot-button issues"; Jan 6), it misses an opportunity to provide greater coverage on the political front.

The syllabus is skewed more towards governance but remains silent on the political landscape, underlying values and the evolving contests over policy ideas that exist.

The issues surrounding changes to the political system will continue to fly over most people's heads, unless they get a clearer understanding of what is involved in building a democratic society based on justice and equality.

This gap will have to be filled in some form at the post-secondary or tertiary level, before our youngsters take up the responsibility of voting.

If nothing is done by then, it means that most of the education they receive about our democratic political system would have come from the Internet.

I also suggest that the relevant agency work towards improving the quality of information presented on the Parliament website, to make it more educational for students and the public.

An example to follow could be what is provided by the Parliamentary Education Office in Australia.

The issues surrounding changes to the political system will continue to fly over most people's heads, unless they get a clearer understanding of what is involved in building a democratic society based on justice and equality.

Better education on politics can help the public be better informed and more thoughtful about these issues.

It would be a sad day if the people are more interested in the drama played out by political parties in Parliament rather than the critical ideas and values that make a real difference to our collective future as a nation.

Chan Keen Len

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'YourLetters Raise the level of education on politics'. Print Edition | Subscribe