Previously, we discussed the need for Singaporeans to start to be more socially-aware and conscious this new year. It looks like for some, the new year has not started well.
We are a giving society. We dig deep into our wallets when the need arises to help our fellow Singaporeans.
However, it does not make us a warm and welcoming society. Not among the adults. And apparently, not among the young.
A mother shared, with considerable anguish, the experiences of her mildly autistic son. The son studies in a mainstream primary school. Due to his condition, he has some trouble connecting and communicating with his peers. It is something that the mother is trying to help her son overcome.
While her son is trying to reach out, his peers are not welcoming of him. His drawing revealed the emotions of someone who is feeling alone, marginalised, rejected, and mocked at.
Should any child, regardless of whether he or she has autism, be made to feel this way in a school environment. There has been so much education about online bullying but what are MOE and the schools doing to about bullying within the confines of schools?
Children are a reflection of the upbringing and the values that their elders and teachers impart to them. Is developing compassion and empathy missing from the syllabus? It is not their fault that they do not accept the autistic boy. It is ours.
This change needs to happen now, in their formative age. By the time they get to secondary school, some attitudes, values, and bad habits become so ingrained that it becomes almost impossible to reverse them. The education needs to be holistic. Success can only be considered when the children can empathise with those who are a little different from them.
The writer, Faith, is judging the MOE.