In his speech to the media, then Minister of Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung acknowledged that the younger generation are more open to discussing race and religion. Conversations on these issues in schools will therefore have to evolve and educators play a big role in helping students in particular to navigate differences. (The Straits Times, 16 July 2020).
In his 2021 National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined three significant steps in the government’s efforts to manage the possible fault-lines of race and religion: 1) introducing a Maintenance of Racial Harmony Act; 2) enshrining anti-discrimination guidelines in the workplace into law; and 3) allowing Muslim nurses in public health sector to wear the tudung if they wish. (The Straits Times, 30 August 2021)
Given that Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious society, it is important for its citizenry to be equipped with the tools to navigate through their differences. The government’s acknowledgement that society is ready to discuss race and religion in a public setting, signals the need to think about the pedagogical approach to doing so.
To ensure that national conversations on race and religion strengthen the resilience of the people and not cause divisiveness, requires a calibrated approach. With this in mind, this project was conceptualised.
This project consists of developing a toolkit that will be a basis for piloting a series of workshops to empower educators; community and business leaders; and social activists with the necessary knowledge and sensibilities with regards to the multi-racial and multi-religious landscape of Singapore.
CONTENT OF TOOLKIT
OVERVIEW OF THE TRAINING PROGRAMME
- Knowledge and information to equip users with contextual knowledge of Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.
- Real-life scenarios and case studies to unpack the complexities of social cohesion issues.
- Lesson plans, multi-media learning aids, and suggested activities for curriculum development and workshops.
- Resource list for further exploration and study into these issues.
The training programme is intended to enable participants to facilitate difficult conversations on race, religion and/or integration, so as to promote a deeper understanding of Singapore’s cultural and to an extent, religious diversity; encourage respectful and positive interactions across racial and social divides; strengthen the shared values that we have as a nation; and reduce the negative stereotypes and/or challenge misconceptions about other races / communities.
The dates for the 3-part training workshop are as follows:
- Session A on Saturday, 25 March 2023 from 9am - 1pm
- Session B on Saturday, 1 April 2023 from 9am - 1pm
- Session C on Saturday, 1 April 2023 from 2pm to 6pm
This facilitator training programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), and is provided without charge.