There is no better way for long-staying expatriates to integrate into Singapore society than sending their children to local schools.
The children are socialised among their Singaporean counterparts, and the parents get to interact with local parents at school functions.
That more expatriates are sending their children to local schools is a vote of confidence in the Singaporeschool system.
The Republic's schools are world-class and have consistently come out tops in mathematics and science in international studies.
The system here is stressful, but expatriate parents need not worry about the stress so long as their children apply themselves.
That some Singapore parents send their children to a plethora of enrichment and tuition classes is no indication of the pace of learning. It is more a reflection of the parents' own anxiety.
What the school system does provide is a strong sense of discipline. Another advantage is that there is less of the rote-learning of old. Today, as both expatriate and Singaporean parents note appreciatively, lessons are taught through stories and are interactive.
The expatriate parents could contribute meaningfully to Singapore society by sitting on school committees and helping out at functions, and especially the National Day celebrations. Just as their children will be exposed to the different ethnic cultures, Singapore students, too, will benefit from the more diverse group of children in their midst.
Instead of fearing competition, Singaporean parents should welcome this integration, since their children will gain from learning how to interact with people of different cultures and backgrounds from a young age. This will be an asset when they enter the workforce in an increasingly global marketplace.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.