Teachers need to engage students deeply on race issues: Minister

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung joined students at Tampines Secondary School to commemorate Racial Harmony Day on July 16, 2020.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung joined students at Tampines Secondary School to commemorate Racial Harmony Day on July 16, 2020.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Teachers will have to engage students more deeply on issues related to race and religion, especially with students today having greater exposure to "Americanised" ideas, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

It is through facilitating such discussions that there can be a respectful contest of ideas, which will help students internalise them, he said.

The minister was speaking to the media yesterday at Tampines Secondary School, where he joined students to mark Racial Harmony Day.

Compared with generations before them, he said, young people today have a different view of race and religion in that they desire in-depth conversations about various issues.

Mr Ong noted that the Education Ministry is encouraging principals to cover such ground in school, including during character and citizenship education classes. More teachers are being trained to specialise in this and facilitate such discussions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2020, with the headline 'Teachers need to engage students deeply on race issues: Minister'. Subscribe