Students do learn about political system

Students do learn about political system
Ms Sim Ann (right) said that primary and secondary school students in Singapore learn about its political system and Constitution.

SINGAPORE - Primary and secondary school students in Singapore learn about its political system and Constitution, said Minister of State for Education Sim Ann yesterday.

She was responding to points by Workers' Party (WP) politicians about the need for political education in Singapore.

"The concepts of citizen rights and obligations, democracy, our electoral system, principles of our Constitution and the structure of government are covered in the character and citizenship education, social studies and history curricula in primary and secondary schools," she said in Mandarin.

In a wide-ranging speech in Parliament addressing several education issues, she said the Ministry of Education wants to drive home the message that values matter, including the importance of the collective good.

She noted that over the course of the week's debate on the President's Address, Members of Parliament had asked if the national education curriculum included information on the Constitution and Singapore's political system.

The answer, she said, was yes.

Mr Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC) and Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, both of the WP, had raised the issue earlier.

Mr Low had argued on Monday that national education should enable students to understand their rights and obligations as citizens in a democratic society, as well as values and concepts associated with democracy such as mutual respect and diversity.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong also responded to this point yesterday.

"No doubt, it is important to be informed about the political system and the principles of governance in Singapore," he said in his speech. But education must prioritise developing character.

Mr Wong said that Singapore must encourage its youth to be involved in causes and projects which build a better society so that they do not become cynical with democracy, unlike youth in other countries.

"We must aspire for Singapore to be a problem-solving democracy, a democracy of deeds."

This article was first published on May 31, 2014.
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