in light of the Ministry of Education’s recent announcement that  it will soon draw up a Character and Citizenship Education curriculum to concentrate on building up the character and values of students, there was a call for opinions on what value shld be emphasised in school. in light of the special day today — children’s day in s’pore is on the 1st friday of october — i thought i’d post what i wrote. the opinion/comment got published in the news, by God’s grace. =)

I THINK the idea of putting others before self should be at the centre of the Ministry of Education’s character education curriculum.

With knowledge often comes power and the availability of choices. It is important that we impart the value of putting others before self so students will not abuse the power they attain, and would consider the impact of their choices on others.

There are many self-help books and workshops teaching people to think positively, have self-confidence and never give up, in order to achieve personal success. But we are not often told to be considerate of others.

Look at successful people in the world today. We read of the rich embezzling funds to get richer, smart people hacking into computer networks, sports athletes having extramarital affairs despite having fame and wealth. More and more ‘successful’ people are gaining the world but losing their souls and compromising on values in the process.

Lessons for life are best learnt through experience. You need awareness of others’ needs to put them before yourself, so this value can be inculcated through more interaction with others – people of other educational levels and social backgrounds.

Humanitarian trips are one option, but there are opportunities closer to home. Inter-school activities can help to break negative stereotypes. Breaking stereotypes would be a good start.