In this article, I wish to urge the need for individual family units to take the initiative to assist with our obligatory school system to nurture a more holistic learning journey for our students who are studying in Singapore. While the pendulum of governance in the light of education has always been recognised as a school’s responsibility, it should also be a parent’s duty or a family’s desire to ensure that values or traditions of the family are practiced and imparted to their young responsibly.
I am impressed by Minister Heng Swee Keat’s ambition to introduce a more holistic learning experience for the next generation of Singaporeans, but for this to take its form; we need to have a civil society who can recognise the importance of such endeavours and practice them in their private spaces too. Character building or the ability to critically think outside the box depends on how a family unit nurtures or respect different point of views or aspirations from different individuals.
Consequently, a real reform of our education system would require fundamental shifts for private individuals to cooperate with the natural way of learning. What I am trying to imply here comes from a basic humanistic observation from when a child is first born into our world.
Intrinsically, nobody tells the child how to interact with our world, but the child is born into our world with a humanistic motivation to learn about our customs to speak, articulate or to even digest information; these are events of a child’s initiative to learn.
A child will only stop learning how to interact with our world, when we shut them away in an isolated world. Similarly, learning only from schools suggests that we are isolating the child in a controlled environment. When this happens, it forces the child into an environment where it is impossible to learn without someone teaching them.
Last but not least, this brings me to the final point of deliberation. Should moral education be taught by school teachers? Or should it be observed by a child and imparted as a family value or tradition by parents? The most important condition that we ought to recognise is that a child requires the freedom to make their own judgements in life, and that learning can be guided through a more amorphous form—where a family can also play a role to nurture good moral members of a larger society.
“Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.” – Kant Immanuel