SINGAPORE - Parents and teachers have a role in teaching kids how to read, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Jan 30).
He was responding to a recent debate that had erupted online following a viral Facebook post made earlier in January by former adjunct teacher Lenny Rahman, who had lashed out at parents who do not read to their children.
Questioning why they could not even spare 30 minutes a day to do it, she wrote: "Busy working but you cannot spend time with your kid? Then why have kids in the first place?!... Please, if you think you don't have the means, there are these things called condoms and birth control. They're cheaper than raising a child."
She has since been counselled by her school and volunteered to leave on Jan 22, and later clarified that her remarks were not directed at parents who have been trying to help their children.
Mr Ong, in his post, noted that Singapore's primary school system is designed to teach children to start reading and writing from Primary 1.
For this reason, the focus in Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens is on listening and speaking.
"But as parents, it is natural to want to prepare our children well for school, which is why many of our kids can already read when they enter Primary 1. Research also shows that it is good for a child's development if they hear more words when they are young," said Mr Ong.
Recalling how he and his wife had both read a lot to their children when they were young, he said reading is also an opportunity for parents to bond with their children.
"Ultimately, we should educate our children out of love and concern for them.
"It's a partnership after all - parents and teachers, the school and the home, both working hand in hand to do what's best for the little ones who matter most," he added.