We thank Mr Wang Hao for sharing his concerns on student discipline in schools (What kind of environment are school staff expected to work in now?, Aug 27).
Issues relating to discipline are often multi-faceted, and effective collaboration involving schools, parents and the community is essential to instil and reinforce the right values and behaviour in our students.
Schools take a serious view of discipline, and the Ministry of Education sets out principles and guidelines for schools to formulate their own discipline policies and approaches based on their student profile. These are centred around enacting a positive and proactive approach to discipline, and promoting a safe and supportive school environment and a culture of care to prevent challenging behaviours from occurring and disrupting learning.
We view discipline as an educative process to guide students to develop self-management and good character. This is done by pairing discipline measures with corrective counselling by trusted adults that helps students understand the consequences of their actions and take responsibility so that they do not repeat their mistakes.
When incidents happen, these are investigated promptly, and appropriate disciplinary actions are carried out.
Schools also adopt an educational and restorative approach to help all students learn from the incident and mend relationships. This would include those who may not be directly involved in the incident, but may be bystanders who also need to learn appropriate behaviour and values.
Parents are engaged, and the students involved are disciplined and counselled to instil the right values.
While teachers are key agents for developing self-discipline, empathy and respect in our students, effective discipline is possible only with the support of parents, who play a critical role in instilling and reinforcing the right values and behaviour in their children.
Schools will continue partnering parents closely to support students holistically.
Our students need care, encouragement and space to learn from mistakes. Together, we can create a conducive environment for our students to develop positively.
Tan Chen Kee
Deputy Director-General of Education (Schools) and Director of Schools
Ministry of Education