Inequality is a complex problem that eats away at a society's well-being, and requires the commitment of a broad coalition of partners across different sectors to tackle effectively. It gets highlighted periodically and a recent instance of this was a call by Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung for more ideas to help the low-income. Without sufficient opportunities, the disadvantaged will be "unable to pull themselves up", he said.
The issue is complex because inequality is about structures, says sociologist Teo You Yenn. Children from low-income households go to schools that are unlike those of their well-off peers. Their small and often crowded homes are not conducive to study and their less-educated parents are not able to help them academically. Over time, that has an impact on their future. Consequently, one sees "different choices for different groups of people, partly along class lines", says Associate Professor Teo.