SDP approached “our schools and educational institutions to initiate a conversation with our youth on national issues that concern them and their future”. This initiative was “aimed at bringing politics and policy-making closer to our students, challenging them to engage in thoughtful analysis on issues facing Singapore”.
As expected, MOE has rejected SDP’s most gracious offer to help educate our students in political matters. Their reason? Schools should be “neutral places for learning and not platforms for partisan politics.” As such, talks by members of opposition parties should not be allowed.
And I agree with MOE’s position completely. We don’t want our education system, at least up to the JC and polytechnic level, to be turned into a battlefield where political parties campaign for support. Our kids are too immature to wrap their minds around the issues involved.
So. We definitely want to ensure that our schools do not become platforms for partisan politics. We need to ensure that nothing in our school promotes the support for any political party. For the sake of being politically neutral, we need to scrutinise every single activity that happens in school to ensure that there aren’t any activity in school that predisposes the students to support any political party.
Let’s start with history and social studies then. We need to ensure that these two subjects are taught in a way that is politically neutral. Are they? According to what SDP claims, the history textbooks approved by MOE aren’t exactly politically neutral. According to the excerpts provided by SDP, the textbook suggests that Singapore would not have been as prosperous and successful as we are if not for the PAP and Lee Kuan Yew. How is that not being a platform for partisan politics? How is that being politically neutral?
“But that’s history! Immutable facts!” Ok. Perhaps. So let’s talk facts.
Edusave is a fantastic scheme by our government to maximise educational opportunities to all Singaporean students. One part of the Edusave scheme comes in the form of scholarships and awards. The money for the awards come from our national budget. Taxpayers’ money. The awards, being part of the entire Edusave scheme, come under the ambit of MOE. Many of Singaporean students are come into contact with the Edusave awards throughout their schooling years.
What is strange is that the awards aren’t presented to the students by the teachers or the school principals. The awards are presented to the students by the advisor of the grassroots organisations of the area the student stays in. All the advisors of the grassroots organisations in Singapore are members of PAP.
In areas where the MPs are from the opposition, it’s not the MP who presents the Edusave awards to the students. It’s the advisor of the grassroots organisation. Don’t believe me? Here’s Victor Lye, PAP candidate who contestedand lost to the WP team in Aljunied GRC in GE2015, presenting the Edusave awards to students earlier this year in his capacity as advisor to grassroots organisation of Bedok Reservoir-Punggol area.
I’m sure that the other PAP candidates who lost in Aljunied would have had similar ceremonies to present Edusave awards to students. In other words, the Edusave award presentation ceremonies have become a platform for politicians from PAP to interact with students and their parents. In other words, the Edusave award presentation ceremonies have been perverted into platforms for partisan politics in favour of PAP.
This needs to stop. MOE and our schools cannot be platforms for partisan politics. They MUST remain politically neutral. To be consistent with the reason that MOE has given in refusing SDP’s offer to conduct talks to students, we need to stop the practice of having PAP members being the ones to present students with their Edusave awards, right? I hope MOE truly believes in what they have said publicly and does something to rectify this gross perversion.
Because I truly believe that our schools and MOE should NOT be platforms for partisan politics.