Ensure all schools have at least two streams

I applaud MP Denise Phua for bringing up the three unhealthy signs of our education system, especially the practice of physically segregating students with different ways of learning ("3 unhealthy trends plaguing education: Denise Phua"; last Thursday).

Programmes like the Integrated Programme (IP) and International Baccalaureate are good, but they reduce the interaction among the different strata of our society.

To build trust and empathy, more interaction among students of different backgrounds is needed.

This can be done during co-curricular activities or school events.

Hence, the Ministry of Education should look into getting all schools to have at least two streams.

For instance, currently, Raffles Institution takes in only IP students, and Crescent Girls' School takes in only Express stream students.

These schools could take in an equal proportion of IP and Express students, or Express and Normal (Academic) students, instead.

All students would benefit from learning about one another's life experiences, and they would learn to be more empathetic.

There will always be a tendency for people with similar backgrounds to congregate.

So, our Government has to constantly ensure that our population will mix and interact, so that we will be more tolerant of one another and be a more harmonious society.

Ivan Goh Sian Lung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'Ensure all schools have at least two streams'. Print Edition | Subscribe