New social studies syllabus a step forward

As a parent, I was heartened to read that the Ministry of Education (MOE) has finally revised its social studies syllabus for the betterment of our student community ("Revised social studies syllabus tackles hot-button issues"; Jan 6).

To my son, who is taking his O levels this year, social studies is a boring subject. 

Now, with the revision, social studies classes will engage students in thinking deeper about issues and will give the subject more relevance.

The revision will place a greater emphasis on promoting active citizenship and critical thinking.

The latest textbook will be organised around societal issues, with guiding questions to encourage students to give their own responses.

As we watch and listen to the news, we will now be able to narrate and discuss it objectively with our children and students at large .

When it comes to social studies, students must not only be educated for knowledge and skills but also on citizenship.

I am happy to note that inquiry-based learning will be the primary focus of the new syllabus.

Through this approach, students will learn by investigating a question or problem.

Skills such as asking pertinent questions, collecting evidence, analysing data and crafting explanations to answer questions lie at the heart of the inquiry approach.

Inquiry allows students to not only think about important issues from a more critical perspective, but it also teaches them how to find the answers.

To me, social studies is also about citizenship education and creating well-informed students who make appropriate civic decisions when the time comes for them to do so.

There will be no right or wrong answers; every argument written will have to display its fair share of reasoning.

Empowerment is a key thing to note here and I expect that the new syllabus will be more engaging because it goes beyond the traditional text-based, content-heavy method of instruction.

It allows students to move beyond the confines of the conventional classroom and to acquire important citizenship skills.

I am confident that the MOE is heading in the right direction and that our students will get the quality education they deserve.

V. Balu