Better policies? Listen to kids

SINGAPORE - Kids say the darndest things. An inaugural children's forum on Saturday had 10- to 13-year-olds piping up on the need for more closed-circuit television cameras in common corridors, lessons to teach them the art of making friends and more annual leave for their parents.

The forum, a Lilliputian unofficial version of Our Singapore Conversation - a nationwide public-engagement exercise conducted by the Government - was attended by more than 100 pupils.

The Singapore Children's Society (SCS), which organised the three-hour forum at ITE College West, said that the feedback gathered will be handed over to the authorities. But the exercise may be a way to get children to open up and share with adults.

Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who was the guest of honour, said: "If we don't practise having conversations with them throughout their growing years, by the time they reach their teenage years, I don't think we are going to have proper conversations with them either."

The event, which was moderated by five adult panellists, will be held every two years.

SCS executive director Alfred Tan said: "The children could articulate their views very well... key government policies which concern them, such as the PSLE, should take some of their views into consideration."

Amirah Zakirah Ibrahim, 13, said: "We don't really have the chance to tell adults what we think. We hope that adults can take us seriously. Sometimes, we may have better solutions."

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