Make it easier for students to forge 'cross-class' friendships

I agree with the point made in the Jan 7 article (Class divide and inequality make for poor mix) that "to live in a class bubble - elite or otherwise - is to suffer a poverty of experience".

As a student from an elite school, I have found that unless we ourselves reach out to others, the chances for interaction with those from non-elite schools or other classes are few and far between.

Fostering meaningful friendships needs not just individual effort, but also time.

For example, while Outward Bound Singapore's programme is laudable in getting students from various schools to work together towards a common goal, the programme's duration of five days is too short.

I believe co-curricular activities (CCA) provide a valuable opportunity for students from elite and non-elite schools to mix.

I suggest having inter-school CCAs, held at a venue that is reasonably accessible to those from different schools. This will create a conducive platform for long and sustained interaction.

Another way to avoid being insular is for students to volunteer at charitable organisations.

However, there is a need to make volunteering more accessible.

Rather than having students seek out charitable organisations, such organisations can instead reach out to students through their schools.

Not all students have the initiative to find a cause they are interested in, much less seek out and contact organisations related to the cause.

Even then, the organisations may not require student volunteers. My friends and I have written to some organisations, but found that we could not volunteer at some of these places because of an age restriction.

Therefore, I hope organisations can hold "volunteer recruitment drives" in schools.

Structural changes can also be made to the management of volunteers so that embarking on the journey of volunteerism will be easier for students.

Lee Pei Xuan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2018, with the headline 'Make it easier for students to forge 'cross-class' friendships'. Print Edition | Subscribe