Forum: Teach students to speak frankly on important issues

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung should be applauded for highlighting the importance of conversations on race and religion in school (In-depth conversations on religion, race crucial in schools: Ong Ye Kung, July 17).

He also said that the Ministry of Education is training more teachers who can facilitate such discussions.

Through the discussions, the objective of ensuring greater racial harmony and acceptance will be achieved in the long run.

Attention should be paid to the following points:

  • Encouraging students to think deeply and freely articulate their views and questions.
  • Teaching students to listen to contrary views and alter their positions, without being embarrassed to do so.
  • Encouraging students to not be afraid of holding a minority view.

A system should also be developed to introduce adults to this new paradigm, to reinforce what the students learn and expedite change in how society thinks and behaves.

Of course, respect for others and being sensitive to others' culture and their views will have to be paramount if this is to succeed.

Amarjit Wasan

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