MOE to work with schools for more alignment in gender education
MOE will ensure standardisation of gender, sexuality education across schools and institutions: Minister
The Ministry of Education (MOE) will work together with schools and institutes of higher learning (IHLs) to ensure more alignment for topics such as gender education and respect.
While the various IHLs have their own modules and curriculum, the ministry hopes to work with schools to ensure greater standardisation of the modules as well as protocols and responses to issues that arise, said Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling.
She was speaking to the media after a virtual engagement session yesterday involving about 100 students from IHLs, as part of a national review on women's development in work, school, the community, and at home.
Ms Sun said: "There were suggestions that there should be greater alignment among schools when it comes to the materials used... we think there is also a role for the sharing of resources among the schools and the IHLs when it comes to looking at the curriculum and the feedback (on gender education and respect)."
Ms Sun noted that the students have expressed a deep desire to cultivate a culture of respect between genders.
She also said MOE is aware of the influences that have emerged through social media and is concerned about online sexual grooming and abuse of teacher-student relationships.
Ms Sun said the updated character and citizenship education curriculum next year will have greater emphasis on cyber wellness, sexual harassment and abuse.
She said: "Our students will understand what the socio-emotional impacts are, and what are the potential legal consequences of offensive behaviour."
Another topic that surfaced during the session was gender stereotypes and how it affects career pathways.
Second-year Singapore University of Social Sciences student Hana Ikram said she spoke about normalising the non-discrimination of women, which she feels is more helpful than new initiatives to help women enter industries lacking in gender diversity.
She said: "While such concessions and tokens can be useful, I still see the fundamental root problem to be that of deeply entrenched stereotypes that give rise to norms, which then create the issues we have today."
First-year sociology student Poh Yong Shun said it is important for men to learn about the challenges their female counterparts face.
He said: "Women's development topics should not be an exclusively female-gendered conversation, and breaking stereotypes requires deeper conversation and understanding."