We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Commentary: The Government needs to do more to bridge the class divide, but so do we

5 0 0

SINGAPORE: Examine your social circle.

If you come from an elite school, it’s likely most of your friends, even in adulthood, come from one of those schools too.

If you live in a private estate, you’re not likely to have friends who live in the heartlands, according to a recent Institute of Policy Studies' (IPS) survey.

The findings of the Study On Social Capital In Singapore have come as no surprise to many Singaporeans. After all, isn’t it instinctive to make friends with the people you are most exposed to or have the most similarities with, even if those similarities are largely based on what some might say are superficial factors such as education and lifestyle?

Such class divisions are now far more pronounced than societal splits based on race or religion.

IPS' Deputy Director for Research Dr Gillian Koh said there is a need to prevent the issue from becoming a political flashpoint adding that the social class divide could lead to a “winners versus losers” situation affecting political stability.

Most of us would agree with this and there’s evidence of this in several countries across the world.

The possible solutions are varied.

The researchers mentioned programmes such as the Outward Bound Singapore camp for students that encourage mixing with those outside of one’s usual social circle.

The new five-day adventure-based, multi-school camp for all Secondary 3 students is slated to kick off in 2020, and it aims to bring teenagers of different institutions together.

However, how much difference would five days really make?

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth says it already has several initiatives to promote social mixing.

These include arts, heritage activities and sports initiatives in the community.

While such initiatives might work to some extent, some experts feel the exposure needs to be more sustained and it needs to start with our children and who they are exposed to in school on a daily basis.

OBS trainees manning the ropes at one of its obstacle courses. (Photo: Noor Farhan)


The source of the divide needs to be addressed.

Much of it has to do with excessive emphasis on academic achievements and........

© Channel NewsAsia