by MOE (08 Oct 2005)

Ms Thio Sin Loo (“Should teachers seek to convert pupils?”, ST Forum, 1/10) was concerned about teachers imposing their personal values on religion to students outside school hours.

The Ministry of Education takes a firm stand on religious proselytisation by teachers. Our schools are secular, and teachers should not be engaged in proselytising their students. We otherwise face a real risk of undoing the multi-cultural and multi-religious sensitivity and harmony that Singapore has built up over the years, and which our schools seek to cultivate in each new generation.

Teachers are expected to be good role models for their students including being sensitive to other religions and cultures, and teaching them respect for their parents. We invite Ms Thio to provide us with the necessary details by contacting me or the school concerned, in order for us to look further into the matter she raised.

None of this will stifle teachers’ efforts to communicate effectively with their students, during and after school hours, as part of their efforts to nurture and guide their students. Schools have guidelines with regard to their teachers’ communications with students. Teachers communicate with their students outside school hours when they need to, on matters pertaining to their studies, school activities and holistic development.

Parents and teachers have to work together to nurture students into good citizens. If parents have concerns regarding any activity during or after school, we encourage them to approach the school directly so that clarifications can be sought immediately.

Wong Siew Hoong
Director of Schools
Ministry of Education