Help the disadvantaged right from birth

The solution to improving equality is not in "equalising resources" but in using resources to achieve the best possible impact (Acknowledge limits of meritocracy and broaden its scope; Nov 5).

In this regard, I would like to propose that the Government intervene and take a more active role in the upbringing of children from broken and disadvantaged homes.

To resolve social inequality, we need to start helping the disadvantaged early and, if possible, right from birth.

Research has shown that children whose parents are unmarried, divorced or separated tend to have lower emotional and social quotients. These and other deficiencies can affect their educational attainment and social mobility.

For us to achieve "progress for our nation", we need to eradicate such inequality. We need to ensure that vulnerable children are not directly or indirectly disadvantaged because of their parents' decisions and behaviour.

In addition, we need a more concerted effort to help vulnerable children enjoy healthy growth, including targeted interventions in the areas of quality intellectual and emotional care, nutrition, healthcare and pre-school education.

We also need to provide adequate nutrition to the children, and ensure proper physical development and social protection to support proper care and growth.

A healthy childhood experience and environment should be promoted so as to enhance socio-emotional, cognitive and linguistic developments.

The quality of our nation-building process depends on the quality of the early childhood development for every child in Singapore, especially for the last, the least, the lonely and the lost.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2018, with the headline 'Help the disadvantaged right from birth'. Print Edition | Subscribe