MOE isn’t teaching kids stereotypes about SES via social studies

By March 15, 2018Current

TL;DR – There’s definitely a lesson or two in there.

This image about Socio-Economic Status was floating around Facebook:

That’s supposedly taken from the book “A Complete Guide to GCE O-Level Social Studies Vol 1” by Rowan Luc.

As expected, it triggered many people. Such stereotyping about socio-economic status (SES) is so simplistic that it insults the intelligence of anyone reading it. More than that, many people saw such stereotyping as being divisive.

Not surprisingly, many people were upset that MOE teaches such stereotypes to our students.


But wait. MOE doesn’t.

Not endorsed by MOE

This is a study guide. Not an official textbook by MOE.

This is MOE’s clarification:

Clarification by MOE

It says,

“For your information, the book: A Complete Guide to GCE O-Level Social Studies Vol 1 by Rowan Luc is not on the Ministry of Education’s Approved Textbook List.  MOE-approved textbooks can be found at: https://www.moe.gov.sg/…/syllabuses/approved-textbook-list

Commercial learning materials approved by MOE will bear the Ministry’s stamp of approval on their front cover or inside the book.”

Some lessons for us all from this

This whole incident also provides us with another valuable lesson.

A lot of us, upon seeing the image, jumped to the conclusion that MOE is teaching our kids divisive stereotypes. Many of us very quickly shared the image on social media with comments condemning MOE. How many us felt the need to clarify with MOE?

And now that MOE has clarified, how many of us would act as swiftly and with as much vigour to help spread MOE’s clarification and defend MOE?

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Not that we have to, but if you think about it, doesn’t this illustrate how easy it is for us to jump to conclusion and condemn instead of first thinking critically then clarifying?

And that’s exactly how fake news work, isn’t it?

To paraphrase the recently departed Professor Stephen Hawking, the greatest obstacle to combating false news is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge.

It will be good if we can maintain a healthy dose of skepticism, and always be open to being proven wrong.

(Cover image via)



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Jake Koh

Author Jake Koh

Recovering sushi addict, I'm a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery.

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Sorry , it’s still is true that these textbooks in some way , influence children in believing these stereotypes in that particular textbook as the truth. Even if MOE does not teach them , there is still no doubt that this textbook did discriminated people.

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