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Hwa Chong alumni slam 'sexist' workshop, which MOE says will stop after 2014

Former students of Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) have started an online petition calling for the school to suspend a sexuality education workshop offered by Focus On The Family Singapore.

As of 7am today (Oct 9), the petition had collected close to 450 signatures from people claiming to be alumni of Hwa Chong Institution.

The petition states: "Hwa Chong Institution is an independent school and should have the freedom to exercise some choice over the 'workshops' provided to students."

The move comes after a current HCI student, Agatha Tan, 17, said in an open letter to her principal, Dr Hon Chiew Weng, that the workshop was "sexist" and promoted gender stereotypes.

Ms Irene Oh, 31, one of the organisers of the petition, told The Straits Times that she felt "indignant that students with different opinions are silenced by adults".

'UNACCEPTABLE'

"Alumni who are adults themselves need to call this out as unacceptable," said Ms Oh, a software engineer who graduated from Hwa Chong Junior College - HCI's predecessor - in 2001.

She, along with other former Hwa Chong students, had penned an online letter on Google Document, addressed to all HCI teachers and principal Dr Hon, calling for the school to immediately suspend the workshop by the external vendor.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 8), the Ministry of Education said that the Focus on the Family run workshop will no longer be conducted after 2014 reported The Straits Times.

The vendor, a pro-family Christian charity, has been approved by the Education Ministry to run workshops on sexuality and relationship education in schools.

The ministry however reiterated that the workshop was one that taught healthy relationships and not about sexuality education. 

Meanwhile, 97 per cent of respondents to a separate poll that The New Paper ran say that Focus on the Family should not have been engaged by schools to run a workshop on relationships.

Related report: Hwa Chong student's post over 'sexist' relationship workshop goes viral

 

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