Forum: Religious studies classes would benefit students

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung recently highlighted the importance of conversations on religion and race in school (In-depth conversations on religion, race crucial in schools: Ong Ye Kung, July 17).

I am heartened to learn that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is training more teachers who can facilitate and further the dialogue on race and religion among Singaporean students.

It would be ideal for MOE to reintroduce religious studies at the secondary school level, and set up full-fledged religious studies departments in institutes of higher learning.

Religious studies classes can serve as a platform for students to learn and discuss issues pertaining to race, religion, culture and tradition. Students would also be more willing to speak up and ask questions in a safe classroom setting.

In a multi-religious society like Singapore, opportunities for students to learn about the main religions practised here will deepen their appreciation of different cultural perspectives and values.

Learning about religions and having in-depth conversations on the topic can contribute to a more harmonious and socially cohesive nation.

Jack Chia Meng Tat (Dr)

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