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Give youngsters space to talk about racial issues

The "challenging and probing" questions raised by the 20 upper secondary students at a recent school event show that the youth of today are very aware of racial issues (Students raise race issues in dialogue with minister; July 22).

For racial harmony to prevail today, when issues such as Islamophobia occasionally arise, it is important to focus on the young.

Educating them about cultural sensitivity can go a long way.

Today's young are vocal on social media. They can guide their peers in the right direction if they express their opinions on such sites, focusing on the importance of racial harmony.

Encouraging more dialogues, like the one with Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary, is another way to go.

Giving the young people opportunities to voice their concerns helps to address these questions and clear up misconceptions.

Dialogues are also more interactive and can engage youngsters more deeply than a lecture.

Peer discussions should be considered and integrated more frequently into civics and moral education classes.

As most classes are multiracial, such discussions provide another avenue for the clarification of doubts, which may be ethnicity-based.

It is through such clarification and discussion that queries and doubts can be addressed, clearing the air and paving the way for improved harmony between the different races in generations to come.

Amanda Auyong Sze Yen (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 06, 2017, with the headline 'Give youngsters space to talk about racial issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe