Connect with us


Open Letter: Addressing MOE’s teaching of Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Published on 23 Feb in ‘Suara Melayu Singapura,’ this open letter from concerned parents calls for the Singapore Ministry of Education to address biases in teaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



This open letter, originally published in the “Suara Melayu Singapura” Facebook group on 23 February 2024, articulates the deep concerns of parents regarding the portrayal and teaching of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within schools overseen by the Ministry of Education (MOE). 

We write to you as parents of children who are currently attending MOE schools and seek a response from MOE to this open letter on an urgent basis.

2. We wish to raise our serious concerns over a recent matter that has come to our attention namely, the teaching / discussions facilitated by primary and secondary schools to students on the Palestine issue.

3. We understand that MOE earlier circulated a teaching pack to schools to facilitate the discussion on the Palestine issue and that a portion of the materials was put together with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Based on feedback received from fellow parents whose children have attended such lessons/discussions facilitated in their schools, we raise the following questions and concerns:

(i) Students (from various schools and cohorts) have consistently reported that the information being taught on the Israeli-Palestine issue has been lacking in accurate narration of historical events.

Any attempts by students to correct the misinformation has been ignored, shut down or worse, punished. To begin with, teachers facilitating the discussion have wrongly chosen to portray Israel’s current genocide / military occupation of Palestinians as a response to the events of 7 October 2023.

This is historically inaccurate as Palestine has been under illegal military occupation for the last 75 years. The current conflict is not the first time military violence has been used against the Palestinian civilian population – it is also one of the many ways Israel expropriates Palestinian lands for their own use. This is a recorded historical fact that should not be diminished.

(ii) The discussions have focused on laying blame solely on Hamas, without a clear explanation of the historical context of Israel’s role in the Palestinian Occupation.

This is an imbalanced way of framing the conflict in a “good versus evil” dynamic, that may lead to students to view matters in a simplistic and black and white manner. This is very concerning, as “acts of terror by Hamas” may have led to a number of students to now unfairly associate Islam, and by extension, their Muslim classmates as “Hamas” and ”terrorists”.

This could potentially create rifts between schoolmates and result in the bullying of some minority students. We take a very serious view of bullying and discrimination of our children in schools and seek that MOE addresses this point in particular.

(iii) There has been scant or no mention of the humanitarian catastrophe that has unfolded in the last five months due to Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza and settler attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories.

There has been little or no acknowledgement of the 30,000 innocent civilians including 12,000 children massacred by Israel and the cutting off of basic human needs (food, water, medicine, electricity) to 2 million people who are now displaced from their homes.

There was also barely any mention of Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on schools, mosques, churches and refugee camps. We do not believe that MOE and MFA are unaware and ignorant of these events.

We believe that it is crucial to take a strong and principled stand against the atrocities and human rights violations occurring in Palestine.

(iv) There is also a real risk that teachers who seek to correct misinformation found in the teaching materials and facilitated discussions may be under watch and may be made to either agree to a certain factually-inaccurate position or remain silent on the topic.

Mandating the adoption of such a position or non-action also compromises educational integrity and suppresses intellectual inquiry and students’ ability to think critically and independently on global issues.

We are concerned over attempts to silence other viewpoints.

Misinformation should not be perpetuated as facts. Students should be allowed to have an informed dialogue and be given tools to weigh different pieces of information and perspectives before arriving at their own views.

4. For such a sensitive political topic for which 52 countries are currently making or have made statements before the International Court of Justice (on the legality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine), parents ought to have been consulted and offered copies or extracts from the teaching pack and lesson plan for our information/consideration (which we have to date not seen).

We also seek to understand why MOE has chosen this topic for Total Defence Day and CCE lessons at this particularly sensitive period when other examples from our own local history could well have been more appropriate.

We ought to have been given the opportunity to decide whether we would like our children to participate in such lessons.

MOE should not have allowed discussions on a topic for which (i) as a ministry, it is not prepared to present in an accurate and balanced manner and, (ii) teachers appear ill-equipped to address in the classrooms.

5. We look forward to a response from MOE on the issues raised above as we remain troubled and concerned by the narrative being taught to our children. We also propose that any further engagement of students on this topic should be in consultation and collaboration with academics who are able to give a fair and balanced presentation of the issues.

Yours faithfully,
Concerned Parents
23 February 2024

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Singaporeans are Real Home Made Guinea Pigs, for the rest of The World to laugh.
My final assessment. Hahaha

The lies about Israeli occupation for 75 years has to stop. At the end of the former Ottoman Empire ( which sided with Nazi Germany and fell in WW 2 after being defeated by the Allied forces), the League of Nations (present day UN) conferred the British Mandate upon great Britain, over the middle east and the surrounding people. The League of Nations (former UN) voted 33 against 10 in favour for the nation of Israel to be re-established on Palestine (former Jewish Judea and Samaria). This was a legimate UN body that voted for the establishment of Israel upon… Read more »

‘Factually Inaccurate Position’—Operative Words. for the author.

The MOE version is basically Singapore’s stand i.e. Hamas attacked Israel and Israel responded, we are sad for both sides and there’s been an indeterminate amount of bad blood between the two sides going back centuries. What Hamas supporters want is for their narrative to be spelt out but Singapore is not going to do that because that would provoke the other side to also demand their narrative to also be told. These two narratives are at polar opposites and most people will not be able to tell truth from the fiction. Violence can ensue, and nobody needs that. If… Read more »

MOE had disturbed a hornets nest…surely by doing this they should have expected backlash…
CCS is just as clueless …he’ll dance to whatever tune his boss plays.
After this which ministry will Loong transfer CCS to ?
They love playing musical chairs…..

Personally, I think MOE should stay away from talking about active conflicts. There are plenty of historical conflicts that we can draw conclusions from.

Let the dust settle and the easily distracted emotional people turn to another topic. But of course, the ruling government is helmed by the incompetent who are out of the touch with the general public. How exactly would they ever know?

Withdraw the subject immediately. CCS and VB should resign just as LMW did over POFMA. LW should appoint new Ministers. Almost the entire world is against Israel. Prince William would not have made a Statement without the consent of Rishi Sunak. Only country supporting is the US. It may change if Biden wins. A new world order that China has been mooting might replace the UN as countries see the consequences of the US actions. We should condemn the genocide, ask for the release of all hostages and moot for the Zionists to stay within the borders allocated in 1948.

One would expect given our PM/ministers pay themselves million$, always screaming about racial-religious harmony, that they would have handled this issue MUCH more delicately.