SINGAPORE: Madam Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore’s Prime Minister, has openly criticized Kinderland’s handling of their alleged mistreatment issue, emphasizing her disapproval of the institution’s approach.
Approximately a week ago, footage depicting teachers at Kinderland Preschool allegedly mistreating students had been circulating online.
Since then, one of the measures implemented by the school was the introduction of a policy prohibiting their staff from utilizing personal devices during teaching sessions.
Madam Ho Ching expressed her disagreement with the strategy, asserting that it is “seriously wrong” to enforce a policy of no personal devices at this juncture.
On her Facebook page, she posted a critique of Kinderland’s approach to addressing their concerns, affirming that the former teacher who recorded the incidents was right to do so.
“Kinderland bosses should have taken abuse reports seriously”
On 2 September, Madam Ho Ching took to Facebook to express her opinions regarding the Kinderland news.
In her statement, she rebuked the kindergarten’s principal and leadership for their lack of seriousness in addressing reports of abuse, while underscoring the vulnerability of young children.
She emphasized that anyone in charge of an early childhood centre, be it a preschool, infant care, nursery, or kindergarten, “should take as an absolute the safety and security of the young, charges under their care,” she added.
Questions policy of banning personal device
In response to the alleged mistreatment incidents, Kinderland had implemented a policy, as mentioned in a Facebook post on 30 August, approximately two days after the first video surfaced.
This policy prohibits staff from using personal devices during teaching hours, with the stated goal of safeguarding the privacy of children.
Madam Ho Ching criticized the implementation of the policy, stating that it was a misguided decision.
She question whether this action was only a way of the establishment to cover up embarrassment and prevent future incidents of video evidence of abuse.
Because if this was the case, “that is absolutely the wrong approach,” she remarked.
She suggested creating an effective whistleblower system and process, highlighting the significance of permitting personal devices to record evidence.
She supported the teacher who documented the alleged abuse
Additionally, Madam Ho also expressed her support for the actions of the former Kinderland teacher who recorded the alleged abuse.
She stated that the teacher was justified in filming the actions of her colleague, especially when it seemed to be a last resort due to the alleged lack of seriousness from the principal in addressing the issue.
However, she recognized that the teacher should have first brought the issue to the attention of the kindergarten’s senior management if she believed her reports were not being treated seriously by the principal.
If this course of action proved ineffective, she recommended that the teacher should have reported the incident to various authorities, such as the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the police, the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Madam Ho Ching emphasized that sharing the videos on social media should have been considered a last resort, with a primary focus on protecting the identities of the children involved.
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