Heng Swee Keat sets out measures to address spate of teachers preying on students sexually

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Education (MOE) will work with schools to remind teachers to uphold the professional conduct and values expected of them, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament on Monday.

"MOE will work with schools to intensify the communication and engagement with teachers on the professional code of conduct, make explicit the professional boundaries that must not be breached in educators' interactions with students as well as step up vigilance to safeguard and protect our students," he said, adding that this code has been shared with all educators in 2013.

Mr Heng was responding to a question from Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) on the ministry's plans to protect students from sexual predators. His question comes amid a spate of sexual misconduct cases between teachers and their students.

Since February 2008 - when stricter laws were enacted to protect minors from sexual abuse - there have been at least 14 cases reported in the press of teachers having relationships with students under the age of 16.

Mr Heng added that MOE "is also going through past cases to draw relevant lessons from these".

"We are deeply disappointed with the cases of misconduct that have happened," he said, adding: "Whenever we uncover any case of sexual misconduct between educators and students, they will be thoroughly investigated and the transgressors will be severely dealt with."

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