Educating parents can help kids escape trap of inequality

Tackling inequality is a joint responsibility of the Government, community leaders and parents (Working towards a more equal society; May 16).

Babies are precious to parents but parenting comes with responsibilities and challenges.

Every child has the right to high-quality learning experiences and parents should not shy away from their nurturing obligations.

While the Government has ensured that no citizen is deprived of food, clothing, education and shelter, it is inevitable that some have fallen through the cracks.

I have come across young, undernourished mothers feeding their babies plain tea because they cannot produce enough breast milk nor afford powdered milk.

It is extremely sad that these babies have no choice but to become potential victims of the inequality trap.

The importance of education - beyond schools and books - and counselling in enriching parents-to-be with the knowledge about quality parenting and healthy reproduction should not be undermined.

It is timely that Education Minister Ong Ye Kung described inequality as "unfinished business" that Singapore has to tackle.

And it is heartening that he is determined to make use of the education system to keep inequality at bay.

In order to ensure success, the education system must include parents, community leaders, counsellors, and, of course, the media.

S. Ratnakumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2018, with the headline 'Educating parents can help kids escape trap of inequality'. Print Edition | Subscribe