Recent missteps good National Education lessons for students

Recent events in Singapore like the flash floods, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) fraud case and Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O & M) corruption saga may seem disappointing (Hundreds affected as flash floods hit eastern Singapore; Task force to analyse $40m SkillsFuture cheating case; Keppel unit's penalty not light: Indranee; all published on Jan 9).

These events show neglect - be it by the Government or companies like Keppel O & M - which is unexpected from a country that prides itself on a corruption-free system.

However, it is not as gloomy it may seem. There is a silver lining in these recent missteps, in the form of learning opportunities.

The Education Ministry should consider tapping onto these episodes to teach schoolchildren about governance and ethics.

For example, the SSG and Keppel O&M corruption scandals are good and timely case studies for schoolchildren to know that the Government has zero tolerance for corruption, with integrity and fairness as ethics to swear by in our society.

It is also a life lesson for them-on how mistakes are inevitable, and one should admit them upfront without finding excuses, as noted by Insight editor Elgin Toh in the light of the corruption scandals (Missteps well accounted for but questions remain; Jan 9).

The flash floods are also useful in emphasising geography concepts to students, such as climate change and the impact of urbanisation, for them to be more aware of our environmental challenges.

Teachers can distil information about these episodes and pitch it at a suitable level for the students to learn. These case studies are especially useful for upper secondary and pre-university students, who are doing humanities subjects and general paper.

Sean Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2018, with the headline 'Recent missteps good National Education lessons for students'. Print Edition | Subscribe