Protect schools' common space

In his letter, Mr Benjamin Wee suggested that parents enrolled their children in mission schools "knowing their religious affiliation, and hence, they cannot complain that their children are exposed to Christian/Catholic values" ("Religious knowledge lessons important in mission schools"; last Friday).

My parents' reason for enrolling me in a Catholic secondary school was a practical one - it was closer to our home.

As with many of my Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and non-religious classmates, the common space was important in encouraging a sense of unity, cohesiveness and independent thought.

Bible knowledge classes can be made available for students of Christian/Catholic faiths in mission schools.

But mandating these classes for all students as long as they are in a mission school does not appear to be sending the right message about religious tolerance.

This is especially so for mission schools situated in the heartland, where parents of all religious inclinations - or like mine, with none at all - may select these schools for pragmatic reasons, such as distance.

Lastly, saying that the absence of Bible knowledge classes is to "miss an important opportunity to give our children a rounded education" appears to be completely dismissive of the basic principles of moral decency and human solidarity that are not unique to the Christian/Catholic faiths.

It is a dangerous assumption if not carefully considered, given the secular nature of Singapore society.

Jean Tan Guanjie (Ms)

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