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Concerted effort needed to help stressed students

Most Singaporeans do not need an international study to tell us that our children are highly stressed about their studies or that bullying is common in our schools (S'pore students suffer from high levels of anxiety: Study; Aug 20).

We should not ignore the fact that these are urgent issues that require a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including parents, educators, schools and the Ministry of Education (MOE), to tackle.

It is heartening to know that the MOE has measures in place to deal with bullying in schools (Bullying in schools being monitored closely: MOE; Aug 20).

Perhaps an additional module on bullying can be made compulsory in the school curriculum.

Guidelines can be set out and educators can be trained to identify such cases and manage them appropriately and transparently. It is not about punitive strategies.

Both bullies and victims should be given help. It is paramount that such issues are dealt with early. Otherwise, problems will follow them into adulthood.

A review of the education system should be done to ensure that key performance indicators are aligned with the ethos of education.

As a parent, I find it deeply painful to hear of children being unable to cope with their problems and taking their own lives.

It is not fair to think of them as weak, given the immense amount of expectations and stress that parents and the education system place on them.

No doubt, this is done out of good intentions and the desire to give the children a better future. But without proper monitoring, reflection and support, the consequences could be dire.

I hope Singaporean children can grow up well - physically, mentally and emotionally. Our society will be a better one if we bring them up with the right attitude, values and character.

Eyvonne Sim Siew Siean (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 27, 2017, with the headline 'Concerted effort needed to help stressed students'. Print Edition | Subscribe