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Singapore

Repeal of 377A: Education policies, curriculum to stay anchored on prevailing family values, says MOE

Sexuality education taught in schools will remain secular, based on “traditional values” and sensitive to Singapore’s multiracial and multi-religious society, said the Ministry of Education. 

Repeal of 377A: Education policies, curriculum to stay anchored on prevailing family values, says MOE

The Ministry of Education building. (File photo: Ngau Kai Yan)

SINGAPORE: Education policies and school curriculums will remain anchored on Singapore’s prevailing family values and social norms, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Monday (Aug 22). 

This comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday that Singapore would repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, while moving to protect the definition of marriage – recognised by law as between a man and a woman - from being challenged in the courts.

In his National Day Rally speech, Mr Lee noted that the Government had no intention of changing national policies on education, public housing, adoption rules, advertising standards and film classification.

In a statement on Monday, the Education Ministry said: “Our education policies and curriculum will remain anchored on Singapore’s prevailing family values and social norms, which the majority of Singaporeans want to uphold.”

“These include the family as the cornerstone of our social fabric, and marriage between a man and a woman.” 

Sexuality education taught in schools will remain secular, based on “traditional values” and sensitive to Singapore’s multiracial and multi-religious society, the statement read. 

“Our schools and institutions of higher learning must remain safe spaces for the pursuit of knowledge, and not become places for advocacy or contestation on socially divisive issues. Singapore’s family and social norms must continue to be determined by Singaporeans.” 

MOE added that foreign institutions and foreigners should respect these norms, and not use Singapore's educational institutions as platforms for their own agendas.

All students will learn and practise values like mutual understanding, respect and empathy for everyone, MOE said. 

“Bullying and cancel culture must not take root in our educational institutions and society. Our educational institutions will continue to partner parents to guide our children, and provide counselling and socio-emotional support to all students according to their needs,” the statement read. 

According to MOE's website, its sexuality education programme teaches students “what homosexuality is, the importance of respect and empathy, as well as the law concerning homosexual acts in Singapore". 

The programme is aligned with Singapore's "national values of encouraging heterosexual married couples to have healthy relationships with each other, and to build stable nuclear family units with extended family support", the website said. 

In July, a Hwa Chong Institution counsellor was rapped for making discriminatory comments about the LGBT community during a sexuality education presentation. 

He had made claims that “58 per cent of homosexuals have problems with intestinal worms” and that “one in 15 homosexuals is a paedophile”. 

Hwa Chong Institution clarified that the content presented was outside the scope of MOE's sexuality education curriculum, and that the views presented were the counsellor's personal perspectives. The counsellor was later suspended from all duties. 

Earlier on Monday, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media content would continue to warrant higher age ratings even with the repeal of 377A.

"The repeal of S377A does not mean that we are changing the tone of society. This position also applies to our policies on media content,” said the ministry.

Source: CNA/hw(gr)
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