The Ministry of Education (MOE) will gradually roll out mental health education classes for elementary, secondary and pre-university students, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on December 11.
Speaking at the launch of the e-book “Project: It’ll Be Alright” at the National Museum of Singapore, he explained that in the context of up-to-date personality and citizenship education, such lessons have already been learned. been implemented for lower secondary school students. .
The purpose of these lessons, Chan added, is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to build resilience, enhance mental well-being, solve problems, and seek help when needed.
All schools have dedicated time and space at the start of each term for teachers to monitor students
Additionally, since September of this year, each school has dedicated time and space at the start of each term for teachers to check on student well-being.
Chan clarified that teachers were given hands-on teaching resources and tools to monitor and support student well-being, while class activities were also designed to help teachers initiate conversations with students about sharing. and discussion of these issues.
Chan also pointed out that the Ministry of Education is looking to broaden the scope of peer support in school, as all schools have such a structure in place and seek to empower their students to have an impact on the school community.
There are also 25 Parent Support Groups (PSGs) that have taken the initiative to help parents whose children and families may need extra support.
“Some share resources and refer other parents to community helplines. Others organize sessions to share parenting tips and advice on identifying signs of stress and how to seek help. . “
Regarding the government, the Minister stressed that the Ministry of Education works with the Ministry of Health and other bodies in areas such as helping young people and parents for better access to services. coordinated mental health, as well as partnering and empowering parents to strengthen and support their child’s mental health. well-being.
Efforts are also being made to tackle the negative impact of digital technology and social media on the mental well-being of young people, with more details to be shared in the coming months, he said.
The definition of success must also be broadened
When it comes to society, Chan stressed the importance of the audience finding a way to broaden the social definition of success.
“This is a fundamental cultural change that we need to make. We need to let our children know that success is not just about how well they do on exams. As a society, we want to embrace a diversity of talents that will strengthen our nation’s resilience. “
On behalf of the MOE, it has since made some structural changes in recent years to reduce the overemphasis placed on academics as a measure of success.
This included the ‘evolution’ of the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), expanding the scoring bands so that students did not need to ‘search to the last grade’, and evaluating each student based on their own progress, regardless of how well their peers are performing.
Chan acknowledged that a “biased perspective” of a degree being a “sure-fire” way to ensure a good future still prevails.
As such, he underlined:
“We must eliminate these artificial and incomplete criteria for success prescribed by others. In its place, we must recognize and value the intrinsic worth of each young person and empower them to find their own way forward and to chart their own destiny. . “
Chan: “Young people face multiple pressures in the world”
The Minister noted:
“Today, our young people face multiple pressures in their world. They struggle with managing their social life while balancing their academic and professional activities. They face expectations that are both imposed and imposed on them by society and their families. They also need to learn to navigate and thrive in a competitive and high performing environment. “
In addition, they also face unique challenges that the older generation did not experience – social media and digital technology.
“They live and learn with technology. They stay connected with their friends and family through technology and social media. They organize themselves around meaningful causes through social media and mobilize to advocate for social issues using technology. “
So while young people in Singapore have been able to harness the potential of technology and social media, it has also potentially fueled feelings of anxiety, distorted their self-image, affected their self-esteem and increased social pressure. among many of them.
In addition, online risks such as cyberbullying, which transcend physical boundaries and often bypass parental awareness, have also made it difficult for parents to protect their children from such harm.
There is also the dimension of the pandemic to consider, given that it has brought youth mental health issues to the fore.
Chan added, “Some parents face financial and professional uncertainty. The resulting strain at home has also affected the mental well-being of the family and their children.”
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