Schools can help students learn about different races and cultures: Heng Swee Keat

(From left) Prinicipal of Pioneer Secondary School Mr Mark Chan Weng Kit, School Advisory Committee Chairman Mr Ang Chee Guan and Education Minister Heng Swee Keat watch as Student Manval Papa Manuntag, 17, explains his exhibit in Pioneer Secondary S
(From left) Prinicipal of Pioneer Secondary School Mr Mark Chan Weng Kit, School Advisory Committee Chairman Mr Ang Chee Guan and Education Minister Heng Swee Keat watch as Student Manval Papa Manuntag, 17, explains his exhibit in Pioneer Secondary School on Friday, July 19, 2013. Schools should design and plan daily learning activities where students from different races and cultures form teams, Mr Heng said on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Schools should design and plan daily learning activities where students from different races and cultures form teams, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday.

Mr Heng, who was the guest of honour at Pioneer Secondary School's racial harmony day celebrations, said that there are schools that have programmes within their curriculum to encourage students to understand the "cultures and traditions of others around them". Co-curricular activities and school camps are also necessary activities that help build common interests and friendships among youths of different races, he added.

At the school, Mr Heng visited six booths that were prepared by the students, including a skit enacting past racial riots, and an exhibition showing how students learnt about racial harmony through fieldwork and interviews. He also played a smartphone game on racial harmony, which was developed by students from Republic Polytechnic and OnePeople.sg.

Since 1998, racial harmony day has been commemorated every year in schools on July 21, to mark the anniversary of the 1964 racial riots. On Thursday, a study found that the majority of Singaporeans do not have any close friend of another race.